Sunday’s Clare senior hurling Championship final between Crusheen and Sixmilebridge look set to be very tight affair with both sides unbeaten to date.
Both team have been impressive so far this year and were touted as possible finalists from an early stage.
Crusheen, who claimed their maiden crown last year, will head into the game as slight favourites and will try, where the likes of Clarecastle, Tulla, Cratloe, Wolf Tones, St Joseph’s Doora-Barefield and Sunday’s opponents Sixmilebridge have all failed since the turn of 2000 and retain the crown.
Sixmilebridge meanwhile are appearing in their first final since 2002, which incidentally was also their last title and have 10 county titles to their name. With a hugely successful minor and U21 set up, the rewards are now being reaped at senior level.
Sixmilebridge will be counting on the skills of Niall Gilligan up front while Tony Carmody will be pushing for a starting place after his performance from the bench against Cratloe in the semi final.
Goalkeeper Derek Fahey missed the clash with Cratloe with an injury allowing Clare Senior manager Davy Fitzgerald to deputise although if fit Fahey will resume his role as the number one choice between the sticks.
Crusheen look set to stick with the starting 15 that were so convincing in their 8 point semi final win over Kilmaley not to mention in their 17 point thrashing of Broadford in the quarter finals.
Despite the history of Sixmilebridge and that fact that Crusheen have just one title to their name, last winners appear to the edge on their opponents who lack the experience at this level although with the younger members of the Sixmilebridge enjoying success at younger levels this winning mentality could spread across the team.
Both sides appear to be strong at the back and while it is believed that Sixmilebridge have the more potent attack, the fact that Crusheen have eased their way into the final makes for an intriguing battle to claim the Canon Hamilton Trophy on Sunday.
Path to final
Semi final v Cratloe 1-1 7 to 1-13
Quarter final v Inagh-Kilnamona 0-17 to 0-15
Semi final v Kilmaley 2-15 to 0-13
Quarter final v Broadford 1-24 to 0-10