Adare hoping to cause Munster surprise
By Cian O’Connell
A year ago Adare featured in an AIB Munster Intermediate Football Final against Kenmare at Mallow. This weekend Adare return to the same venue for a Senior provincial Semi-Final clash with Nemo Rangers.
It has been a remarkable 12 months for Adare, relegated in 2015, but who have responded since to claim Limerick Intermediate and Senior titles. That the Adare team is stuffed with dual players merely adds to the sense of satisfaction.
“That is saying it lightly, it is a fantastic time,” popular Adare GAA Chairman Joe Hannon, father of Limerick hurling star Declan, admits.
Adare try to manage the load of those involved in their two senior panels effectively. “You would have about eight or 10 in both panels, they may not all be starting,” Hannon says.
“You might have five starters and five subs, but it has worked. They are a young side and it doesn't matter whether it is rugby, football, soccer or hurling they just want to get on, to do it.
“We've never really had any great issue with it for the last few years. People play the games, that is it, we just encourage that. So it never has hindered us so far.”
The ambition within the club is to try to compete at the highest level in the juvenile ranks. “There is a policy in the club that unless you are extremely weak, for example sometimes you just might be lower in numbers, but the policy in the club is to play at Premier level in everything, football and hurling,” Hannon explains.
“Unless you are extremely weak, but if you are able to compete, even if you don't have a very strong team, we try to play the Premier all of the time.”
Ultimately it means that solid players are being developed in both codes. The rejuvenation of the Adare footballers is a pleasant story according to Hannon.
“We went Senior in the mid 90s, we won the Intermediate Championship and we were Senior up until two years ago,” Hannon states.
“We were unlucky because we had a big transitional period with players, age caught up with a lot of them. We then got caught the first year out with a young team, but we regrouped in Intermediate, won the Intermediate Championship, got to the Munster Indermediate Club Final, lost to a better side in Kenmare to be fair about it.
“We got back up so the confidence and momentum was with us going into the Senior Championship. Did we expect to win the Senior Championship? No we didn't to be honest, we wanted to qualify for the knockout stages, that would have been an achievement. Anything after that was a bonus so we are in bonus territory.”
That is especially so considering Adare had to embark on a rebuilding process following the retirement of several key players recently.
“In around 2012, 2013, and 2014 we lost guys through age not through losing them to emigration or anything,” Hannon adds.
“It was to age and retirements, it meant we were relegated, but maybe it was a blessing in disguise that we were relegated.
“I'm not saying we wanted to be relegated because you never know when you will get back up, but it happened, we regrouped, we got a good management team involved, who said they would rebuild the team and if it takes us a couple of years to get out of Intermediate, fine, but let's get out of Intermediate as soon as possible. Thankfully it happened in the first year.”
Having returned to the summit in Limerick football Adare now face perennial Cork and subsequently Munster contenders, Nemo Rangers. “We are up against it on Sunday, we are playing the might of Nemo Rangers,” Hannon acknowledges.
“All we can do is prepare the best we can prepare and take it the same as a County Final or County Final. It is a Munster Semi-Final, you treat it as such. All we are looking for is to perform to the best of our ability.
“If that is good enough to win the game, great, if it is not it is not. Anything can happen. That is what we are hoping for.”