Clonbur will have one of the biggest days in the club’s history when they face Ballivor (Meath ) in the All-Ireland Junior semi-final at 2pm on Sunday in Carrick-on-Shannon.
No Galway club has won the All-Ireland junior club football title so Clonbur will be hoping to create history this February, while Ballivor will be bidding to emulate Nobber which took the title in 2003.
Loughrea footballers did reach the junior football final in Croke Park in 2006, but they lost out to Ardfert, and on Sunday Clonbur will be hoping to build on their notable Connacht championship form when they easily beat Creggs, before narrowly edging out a high-rated Islandeady - Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s club - in McHale Park.
It was level with four minutes remaining in that tie, but points by team captain Eoin Joyce and the experienced Pat Lambe gave Stephen Joyce’s well-drilled outfit a two-point victory.
Eoin Joyce, Stephen’s son, scored 0-7 (0-3 fs ) in that win and he will have to be on the score sheet regularly again on Sunday if they are to reach Croker and face either Dromid Pearses (Kerry ) or Derrytresk (Tyrone ).
Clonbur will look to Eamonn Ó Cuiv at midfield, twins Alan and Declan Kyne, Pat Lambe and Eoin Joyce to show the leadership and skill to power them to success.
Regular full-forward Padraig O’Neill, who sustained a cruciate ligament injury in the Connacht final, is a big loss.
An Fháirche club chairman Gerry Keane says the team must play to their optimum to advance this weekend.
“Ballivor is a good side and they carved out three impressive wins in their Leinster campaign. Adam Gannon is one of their key players and is a very good forward and we will have to be very disciplined and tight at the back.”
Clonbur is a very small club with only 160-170 adult members.
“We are a small club, but the football and the success of the team has been fantastic for the community over the past few months. We have a tremendous management team of Stephen [Joyce], Patsy [Kearney] and Michael [Philbin] and everyone has pulled together. Our club motto is ‘Neart in Aontas’ (strength in unity ) and there is great excitement and anticipation ahead of the weekend.
“We are all looking forward to the game and hopefully the lads can do the business and get a win. The whole community is very proud of what they have achieved this year and we are confident that if they play to their potential, they can go another step or two.”