Head-to-head: Adare's Shane Doherty and Newcastle West's Stephen Nix ahead of Sunday's Limerick SFC Final
“WE are a little bit in bonus territory,” accepts Adare captain Shane Doherty ahead of the county final.
Just a third ever final appearance for Adare, who are in their first season back in the top flight after one season down intermediate.
”We did and we didn’t to be honest,” he said of their final aspirations this season.
”We were lucky enough to get out of the group - we scraped through really. We are delighted to be here but we do know that we only made it through by the skin of our teeth - Ballylanders could have beaten us in that first quarter final. It hasn't been an easy run to the final but delighted we are there. We were coming into the championship this year with momentum and we did bring that in but in the group stages we had to learn a lot,” he said referencing 2016’s IFC title.
For all their youth and underdogs tag, Adare are not just making up the numbers.
”Since the group stages we said that we would have to have a right go at it. The fact that we were so lucky to get out of the group stages with Na Piarsaigh beating Fr Caseys; we said we would put everything into it. Even from the first Ballylanders game to the second we really drove it on,” outlined the midfielder.
“In training the intensity has gone up and that’s good for this time of the year that we had another level.”
He explains: “The fact that we have such a young team, a lot of the lads are 20, 19, 18, they are fearless on and off the ball and that suits us when we are holding the ball and they are not scared to go into a tackle or scared to take a ball on and all 15 are well able to do that”.
”I was talking to Hugh Bourke and he was saying that his team have won something be it ‘A’ or ‘B’ every year - they have had huge success and it has rubbed off on the rest of us because I have won nothing other than last year. It’s great to have them pushing us all on.”
He continued: ”Look at our back six that started against Drom-Broadford and five are still U-21 this year. It’s probably mad that we are getting this far with such a young team. They bring a fearless attitude - I would be thinking lets stay back and defend here but they would be gone up the field attacking, which to be fair has worked so far. I think we have a right mix with the older lads like Mikey Lyons and Andrew O’Connell bringing a bit of experience to the dressing room and are a huge help to the younger lads and myself.”
Guiding their fortunes are manager Harry Gleeson with coaching from Joe Redington and Jerome Stack – a former Limerick SFC winning coach with Drom-Broadford.
”Every session that we do with him we are learning something. He says that we have to do everything with a purpose and literally everything has a purpose, be it talking to us or a little warm-up. It’s filtered through the team and anything we try to do in a game is with a purpose,” said Doherty of Stack.