Clayton hoping to cut Kilcoo’s journey short

by Cóilín Duffy

Ballyboden St Enda’s defender Shane Clayton says there are exciting times ahead as his side get ready to face Down side Kilcoo in the AIB All-Ireland semi-final on Saturday in Kingspan Breffni in Cavan Town.

The Firhouse Road side picked up their second Leinster title, thanks to a two-point win over Carlow’s Éire Óg in the final in Portlaoise last month.

A huge amount of effort has gone into the campaign so far according to Clayton.

“We’ve been putting in a lot of work over the last few weeks to see if we could win Leinster,” he told Dublin Gazette.

“Thankfully we did that in tough conditions in a lot of the games, and against tough teams.

“On any day, any club team can beat one another, which is great and it’s different to the inter-county setup.

“We knew that going into every game; although we might be tagged as favourites, we know the stiff competition that we are up against.”

Kilcoo claimed their first Ulster title in December, but were well used to featuring in provincial action.

Clayton says his side will have to have their homework done on the Down men.

“We’ll be working on their strengths and weaknesses to see what we can do to get over the line,” he said.

“Winning your first provincial title is huge! It’s a first time for everything, but we know that they will be chomping at the bit to ensure that this run doesn’t end for them.

“We’ll be the same trying everything to keep the run going.”

Clayton says his side’s inability to score for long periods, isn’t a cause of concern.

Anthony Rainbow’s charges have had bad patches in the scoring stakes in their campaign to date, but Clayton isn’t too worried so long as they keep recording wins.

“I wouldn’t say it is a concern, but it’s something we keep an eye on, that we want to be hitting our targets in every game,” he said.

“That is one thing. If we don’t hit our targets, we more than likely aren’t going to win.

“You could see it in the league final. Comparing that to the Leinster final, it was tough conditions, and it was tough to pass to each other, never mind try to score!

“I thought we dealt with the conditions very well. When things aren’t going our way, as they normally never do, it’s all about the heart and desire that you show on the pitch.”

As Ballyboden’s 50th Anniversary celebrations come to a close, it would be certainly special to kick-start the next half-century by claiming a place in an AIB All-Ireland Senior Club Football Final.

They may be the biggest club in the country with 3,000 members, but there’s a strong community feel, and Clayton has praised everyone for their support to date.

“I know the whole club has the backing of us, and we always get great support from them which is brilliant.

“Hopefully we can give them another day out!”

Related Articles