"I'm sure they're roaring at the moment" - Best man Conlon left brother's wedding to inspire Clare
There will be some roar for John Conlon when he walks back into that wedding tonight.
The Clonlara club-man put in an incredible display at centre back as, after leaving his brother's wedding at 4.00 this afternoon, he inspired Clare to a famous win over Limerick in the Gaelic Grounds.
It was some day for him.
Having lost their opening round-robin game to Tipperary, this was almost do-or-die for Clare. Challenges don't get much tougher than Limerick, looking to extend their 17-game championship unbeaten run, but Clare rose to that challenge.
They knocked on the door last year, drawing with their neighbours in the round-robin before narrowly losing the Munster final in extra-time. But they weren't to be denied this time around.
Conlon was the main man for the Banner, the 34-year-old sweeping up everything at centre back. Moving him back there a couple of years ago was a stroke of Brian Lohan genius and it came to full fruition tonight, Conlon's composure on the ball a real boost for Clare throughout.
But it was far from a one man show. Tony Kelly was again dazzling with four points from play, Ryan Taylor never stopped running while both David McInerney and Conor Cleary defended resolutely. Aron Shanagher made a huge impact off the bench while Mark Rodgers and Peter Duggan also made their presence felt.
Conlon is the story of the day, and his interview with Clara Hestor on GAA Go made for some back-story.
"I'd like to give a shout-out to everyone at my brother's wedding," said Conlon.
"I had to skip on there at about 4.00 from the duties of best-man but I'm sure they're roaring at the moment so we'll have some party tonight."
You can watch that interview below.
You've got to love the GAA - Clare and Limerick produce a game like that - John Conlon gets Man of the Match - just hours after watching his brother get married! #Hurling #Clare #GAA #GAAGo
🎥 @GAAGo pic.twitter.com/vyaSEttntw
— Cóilín Duffy (@coilinduffy) April 29, 2023
"We met last night for a meeting and we just laid it out that we know that we're as good as them," added Conlon.
"We know we can give it to them. But look, you can't take your eye off the ball against them. In fairness to Brian (Lohan), he gives it everything to succeed and super management, super bunch of players."
Lohan himself paid tribute to his men.
"I could see there was a bit of want in them, a bit of desire in them," he said.
"I was so disappointed for them last week that they just didn't produce it. So they were under pressure, but they really produced it today.
"Sometimes in this game," added Lohan, "You can work hard but you just don't always get the reward for it. But if you stuck at it," added the clearly proud manager.
As for Limerick, John Kiely was left to rue some uncharacteristic missed chances in the second half. Both Tom Morrissey and David Reidy were the most culpable there while injuries to Cian Lynch (hamstring) and Sean Finn undoubtedly held them back.
But this was all about Clare. This is their night. And it'll be a long, brilliant night for John Conlon and co.