Clare have defied the odds to make it to the All-Ireland quarter-final
It's been the summer of the underdog in Gaelic football.
Clare and Tipperary will make their first ever All-Ireland quarter-final appearance later today and it's a feat that both sides deserve.
Tipperary scored their first championship win over Cork in over sixty years earlier in the season despite losing a plethora of players to the lure of travel and other reasons at the end of last season. And Westmeath will feel they missed an opportunity yesterday against favourites Mayo, splurging scoreable shots with only minutes remaining.
Six-day-turnaround afflictions aside, Clare were in blistering form against Connacht finalists Roscommon last week, with seasoned campaigner Gary Brennan leading the charge.
And according to an article in today's Sunday Independent, Clare are endeavouring to not only transform themselves into football heavyweights, but they also want to bring a style of football with them that will enrich the game.
Chatting to neighbour on his way to Croke Park wearing Kerry jersey. Passing motorist remarked: "Clare by 3 points." So much to put up with— Michael O'Regan (@MOReganIT) July 31, 2016
Here's how Mick Bohan of the Clare management team had to say about Clare's mission statement:
"People followed the Jim McGuinness train of thought to put 13 men behind the ball and break at pace, whereas I'd be hoping clubs here would follow our train of thought - giving players more freedom to express themselves."
And dual star Podge Collins made a refreshing statement that dismantles the perception that inter-county football training consists of hard running and little else.
"Everything is done with a ball in our hand, there's no running fence-to-fence or anything like that. It's called football after all, we're not trying to run marathons.
"It's honing the skills you need to win games, and you can see lads improving. It was hard to imagine playing knock-out championship football in Croke Park at times in the last few years, but when you see the professionalism and dedication of these footballers you can see why it's happened."
Kerry and Clare will come face to face at Croke Park on Sunday, and all the action will be live on Off the Ball with a star-studded commentary team. Dave McIntyre will be joined by Kieran McGeeney and Anthony Moyles to analyse what will be a massive day for fans of Clare football, while Mossy Quinn will keep you up to minute with the view from the sideline.