Rush is on as demand for Clare jersey soars
CLARE jerseys are proving so rare in the Banner County in the lead up to Sunday's All-Ireland final that fans are stealing them from team manager Davy Fitzgerald's pub.
The Dugout pub has been inundated with calls from desperate fans seeking tickets but has also seen some team jerseys hung on the ceiling ripped down.
“There are waiting lists in all the shops for the Clare jersey and they can't get them online. We had six robbed from the ceiling the night we beat Limerick and we lost two earlier,” explained Grace Russell, manager of the Dugout bar.
“They managed to take one of Davy's from when he played. We're hoping that after we win on Sunday they will bring them back when they come to meet the Liam McCarthy cup,” she added.
With the pub owned by manager Davy Fitzgerald, the phone has been hopping with calls from people seeking tickets to the clash against Cork on Sunday.
“I've been contacted from all over the world. I had a friend I hadn't spoke to in ten years Facebook me from Asia looking for five tickets. People just think we have a boot full of them,” added Grace.
As tickets are like golddust, Clare council is now planning to erect a big screen in Ennis for the thousands of unfortunate fans who can't secure a seat at Croke Park. Among those watching from the town will be the hundreds of students from St Flannan's College in Ennis who will be cheering on close to a dozen former students.
The college boasts ten former students on the senior panel not to mention a selector and the manager himself. Staff and students are now quietly confident that their old crew will bring glory to Clare in Sunday's hurling All Ireland final.
Teachers Michael McInerney and John Minogue who coach many of the hopefuls who will make up the Clare teams in coming years revealed how they were championing their past pupils to do the job.
“Davy Fitzgerald himself is a past pupil, the selector Louis Mulqueen and nine or ten of the senior panel with five of the guys on the starting team. They were always great players when they were with us and we hope they can do it,” said Mr McInerney.
His colleague Mr Minouge managed the Under 21 team that won the All Ireland in 2009. Many of those players have now progressed to the senior squad.
“That was the first big breakthrough for these lads. There is a lot of youth in the team and a lot of them have come through in the last four or five years. I'd be very very hopeful,” Mr Minogue added.
Former player Niall Gilligan who won an All Ireland with the county in 1997 said he believes this year would end their 16 year wait.
“People are feeling the wait. There was a couple of barren years in the noughties and the county really wants this. I think they could do it. Clare are getting even odds for this game, they are not seen as the underdogs. It will be very tight on the day but I hope we can do it,” he added.