MICHAEL O’ Dwyer got the man-of- the-match gong; Noel Downes was top scorer and between them they hit 1-5; Stephen Moloney, meanwhile, didn’t score at all, but was the other stand-out figure in the forwards.
That he turned in such a energetic running performance — his best since the Munster quarter-final against Dromcollogher-Broadford was re- markable, given his injury-hit prepa- ele (eyee
“My fitness ran out for a finish,” he admits, “because I hurt my hip the week after the Tir Chonaill Gaels game and my first night training was last Thursday night, so there wasn’t much in the tank, but there was enough for me to last that long.”
By then Kilmurry were on the highroad — off the N67 that runs by the football field in Quilty and on the N7 that leads all the way to Dublin,
a destination that Moloney says was always going to be theirs.
“Everything was good in the camp; the mood was good and Declan Call- inan’s suspension really fired us up more. He was the last man that spoke in the dressing room and to see a man crying before you in the dress- ing room puts the hair standing on the back of your head.
“Portlaoise felt that at the start of the game. Whatever Portlaoise might do we knew we had to stick to our running game. We’ve been relying on our backs since the first round of the Clare championship last year, but we finally gave them a performance KOO hs
“We knew we could beat them. We looked at their results. They’d put up big scores — scores like 2-12 and 2-10 and we knew they weren’t going to do that against our backs. Our backs are too good for that and weren’t go- ing to concede a big score.
‘And Portlaoise hadn’t been in bat- tles like we had. That game over in England was some battle. It was the toughest match we’ve ever played and we knew that they hadn’t that done and it showed today, that game against Tir Chonaill Gaels and what we got out of it really showed. They hadn’t the bottle. They didn’t want to battle like we did to win the All-Ire- land semi-final.”
It means Moloney is one of half a dozen or so who will be back in OO AGIA KEM mobaa note with a Féile na nOg team. “Back then I never thought I’d be back in Croke Park. It’s a long time coming but it’s great to be back with a lot of those same boys. It’s unbelievable really.”