Saturday 21 July 2018

'It was a big bone of contention last year, how few Clare supporters went to Thurles'

9 July 2017; Cork supporters, on the terraces, before the Munster GAA Hurling Senior Championship Final match between Clare and Cork at Semple Stadium in Thurles, Co Tipperary. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile
9 July 2017; Cork supporters, on the terraces, before the Munster GAA Hurling Senior Championship Final match between Clare and Cork at Semple Stadium in Thurles, Co Tipperary. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile

Waterford legend John Mullane and Irish Independent GAA correspondent Colm Keys believe that Clare need a big turnout from their supporters in Thurles if they want to win their first Munster title since 1998.

The 2017 decider was played in front of a sell-out Semple Stadium as the Rebels outclassed their opposition for a five point win. While the attendance was the highest in a decade, the stands and terraces were dominated by the red of Cork. The Town End terrace was packed to the brim as the Rebels spilled over to fill the stands and even heavily occupied a Killinan End terrace that is usually reserved for their opposition supporters.

Keys says that the Banner will have to turn out in force if they are to avoid a repeat of last year's defeat when they take on Cork on July 1.

Speaking on The Throw In, Independent.ie’s GAA podcast, Keys said that the Clare hurlers noticed the absence of Banner supporters last year, something they can’t afford to repeat.

"It was a big bone of contention last year, how few Clare supporters went to Thurles," he said.

"It was mentioned by some of the players afterwards, that they were taken aback by how low-key the reception was when they came out onto the pitch, by comparison to Cork who were after winning two games and built up big momentum.

"That’s a big factor for Clare. They really have to get out and support the team properly and in numbers this time."

Also on the show, John Mullane agreed with Keys about the importance of a good Clare following. The Waterford legend played out many thrilling encounters with Cork in his playing days and recalled a Munster final loss to the Rebels in 2003, when he experienced, first hand, the effects the red and white crowd can have.

"I remember we played Cork in 2003, and we played them the following year in 2004," he said.

"I remember in the 2003 game, going out just to get a feel of the ground before the game. I couldn't get over the amount of Cork people that were after getting tickets in the Waterford end. They were after coming into Dungarvin and going all over the country to get them.

"Cork have such a big following. They’re a bit like the Dubs in the football and they’ll go the length and breadth of the country to get the tickets. I think if Clare are to push on and win this Munster final, they’re going to have to have a massive crowd behind them and a much bigger following than followed them last year."

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