By John Fallon
Clare’s goal-scoring hero Keelan Sexton said they were absolutely determined not to get relegated from Division 2 of the Allianz League on Colm Collins’ watch.
Sexton, who came on as a sub to fire home an equalising goal before two late points saw them pip Tipperary in a relegation clash, said they owed it to manager Collins to survive.
It’s the third season in a row that Clare have competed in the second tier and Sexton said the players were driven to ensure that relegation was not on Collins’ CV.
“We did this for Colm, 100%. I had a text there during the week from Joe Egan in New York, he’s a massive fan, and he just kind of put it in plain words for me, he said this can’t happen in Colm’s resume, he didn’t deserve it and that’s what really was in the back of our heads. That’s what drove us on,” said Sexton.
“We wanted to reward Colm because he’s brought us from the bottom of Division 4 up to where we are now. Hopefully we’ll go a little bit further.”
The Kilmurry-Ibrickane clubman won’t be 22 until June but he’s already in his fifth season on the Clare senior team and knows that staying up is huge for football in the county.
And he said he only had a goal on his mind when he got a chance in the final minute to draw Clare level in a thrilling contest, before injury-time points from the experienced David Tubridy and Gary Brennan saw them home by 3-15 to 1-19.
“On another day I probably would have taken a point but I just had it in my head all week to just go for it, stop doubting yourself, just relax as Colm said to me and it’ll come.
“It came finally, it’s about time. It’s just been low the last couple of weeks so it was just nice to be able to get on the end of it. Cian O’Dea fought for everything in the corner to be able to poke the ball on, Jamie Malone got onto it, they got drawn in and he gave it onto me and it was great to see it go in.”
The win ensures Clare will play Division 2 football in 2020 for the fourth season in a row and they will now turn their attention to the start of the Munster championship against Waterford on May 11.Tweet