Saturday 16 December 2017

Priest is flying the flag for his beloved Clare – outside church in Cork stronghold

Clare native Fr Kevin McNamara with parishioners in Knocknagree, Co Cork
Clare native Fr Kevin McNamara with parishioners in Knocknagree, Co Cork
Bishop of Killaloe Kieran O'Reilly, from Cork, with his predecessor, Dr Willie Walsh, from Tipperary but shouting for Clare

Dan Danaher, Caroline Crawford, John O'Mahony and Gordon Deegan

IT'S that time of year when neighbours look at neighbours with suspicion, loyalties are under scrutiny and even divine intervention is called on.

Bishop of Killaloe Kieran O'Reilly has told how he is being constantly slagged in Clare over tomorrow's All-Ireland hurling clash.

Corkman Dr O'Reilly said: "Hurling and football bring the best out in people. We have a capacity to engage in slagging which other countries don't understand."

While the bishop is looking forward to the match, he said: "It's awkward for families on a Saturday evening – 5pm is not the best time if you have to travel back to west Cork or west Clare. It could be midnight before you get home."

PILGRIMAGES

As for the outcome tomorrow, Dr O'Reilly said: "I believe Clare have the mettle to win the replay. There is no guarantee that Cork will improve."

On the Cork-Kerry border, a GAA-loving priest is hoping divine intervention will help secure a Clare victory.

Fr Kevin McNamara lit a candle for Davy Fitzgerald's side during pilgrimages to Lourdes and San Giovanni, but most of his parishioners are praying for a Cork win.

A native of the Clare village of Cooraclare, Fr McNamara is a curate in Rathmore, which takes in the Rebel hurling stronghold of Knocknagree. He has enjoyed the banter with locals who were bemused to see a saffron and blue flag outside the church.

One Cork man who will be cheering for Clare is Jim O'Sullivan from Caheragh, who has lived for 44 years in Shannon, where he has become a stalwart of local hurling.

Meanwhile, the National Roads Authority (NRA) was yesterday accused of being "party poopers" for removing banners and flags erected by Clare supporters at flyovers.

However, an NRA spokesman said banners had to be removed from motorways and motorway overpasses because of their potential to cause an accident if they blew off.

Irish Independent

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