Guest post by Colm Coughlan. Image from Clare Herald.
The day was 7th May 2007, the evening of the Shield Final between Cratloe and Ennis town. Everyone from the village of Cratloe made the short drip up to Lees Road to watch a game that would go down in the history books. Cratloe had not seen a day like this for a long time and nor would they have foreseen the result.
I was playing right-back in the biggest game of my life. We went 1-0 up early in the first-half and added another late in the second half to put the result beyond doubt. I had been dreaming of a day like this ever since I started playing soccer and was delighted at the sight of a medal around my neck as a statement of my success. I had a relatively good game in defence, and winning a penalty towards the end capped off a good attacking display furthermore. Although it was well saved, it didn't dampen the mood in the dressing room as we went up to collect the trophy.
Not in my wildest dreams would I have imagined a scenario whereby Cratloe, a highly dominated GAA stronghold, would bring a piece of soccer silverware back home. The celebrations continued through the night in what was a massive result for our small town. What made it more special was the fact that this was the first time we had ever won a soccer trophy in any level. This personal best will live long within my memory as not only was it a proud day for Cratloe, it was the first time I ever tasted success on the field of play and hopefully, not the last.
[Colm Coughlan is a sports management specialist at the Limerick Institute of Technology.]