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‘Only Griff would have gone for the second shot’

December 18th, 2022 5:30 PM

By Kieran McCarthy

Padraigh Griffin in full flight. (Photo: Garry Minihane).

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BY KIERAN McCARTHY

PADRAIGH Griffin’s famous goal for Clonakilty in the 1996 Cork SFC semi-final against St Finbarr’s is the stuff of legend – and his Clon teammate Brendan Walsh had the best seat in Bandon to watch it all unfold.

Let’s set the scene. Fourteen-man Clon were one point down and time was almost up. Eoin O’Mahony’s late free to level the game fell short, and rising star Griffin, who had captained Clon’s U21s to the club’s first Carbery U21 football title earlier in the year, gathered possession. A draw would have levelled the game, but his first effort was blocked. The rebound fell to him. This time Griffin went for goal – and sensationally fired Clonakilty into the final, and ultimately their first county senior title since 1952. A hero was born.

‘I remember Padraigh explaining the goal afterwards and I was directly in his line of sight so I understood totally what he was saying,’ Walsh told this week’s Star Sport Podcast, as Eamonn Harte and himself remembered their friend and former teammate following his tragic death in October. 

‘The free fell short and the ball fell into his hands. Certainly, the first kick he should have popped it over the bar. There were one or two of the Barrs defenders on the goal-line, and John Kerins inside in the goal. Padraigh had a shot, but it came off Kerins’ hands and was a good save. But the rebound … There was so much momentum from the Barrs defence, they had rushed out. 

‘From my angle, and Padraigh said it afterwards, there was a big, open goal in front of him and the goal was there to be taken. Padraigh was not going to turn that chance down. The goal was on in the second shot. It wasn’t on in the first shot, but he had the courage and the single mindedness to take on the chance, and he got his second chance and it was a fairytale ending.’

 

Eamonn Harte added: ‘It shows the ambition of the guy that he wanted to take the shot on. It’s only Griff who would have gone for the second shot.’

The two-time Cork SFC winner with Clon is regarded as one of the club’s best-ever footballers, a naturally gifted forward who tormented defences and thrilled Clonakilty supporters. Walsh hailed Griffin as ‘a wizard’ and Harte said his ‘legend’ is assured.

‘He was mercurial. He was our Maurice Fitz. For me he was at the best level that I played with and the reason is he got us out of more holes than anyone else,’ Harte explained.

‘Ya, others got winning scores in games but the magic came from what Griff did. He came up with the goods so often. You think back and you realise the guy was just magical. In my opinion, he was our Messi, our Maradonna, our Maurice Fitz, whatever you want to call it, he was that to us.’

 

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