Clare prepare to confront the curse of Biddy Early
All Ireland Hurling Final
In the wild, west coast county of Clare (next parish, Newfoundland) the variations of the legend are as diverse as those who tell it. The gist is that Biddy Early, denounced from the pulpit as a witch in the 1930s, but revered by many as a faith healer, wanted to travel with the Clare team to the provincial final of 1932. Whether from constraints of space or because of personal preferences, she was refused a lift. The resulting curse she put on that team was that every one of them would be dead before Clare would again win an All-Ireland final.
This makes for an uncomfortable weekend for the three survivors of that day, especially "Goggles" Doyle, the genial captain of the team long ago who wore motorcycle goggles over his spectacles when he played. If Clare are to triumph, they will have to overcome a formidable Offaly half-back line in which Brian Whelehan is an intimidating presence. Jamesie O'Connor is the nimble forward that Clare supporters will be hoping can pick a path past this obstacle.
Those supporters are prepared to go to any length to be present. One Clare exile made the trek from Tokyo for their semi-final triumph over Galway, confident that his was the longest journey. When he changed planes in Moscow he found himself next to another Clareman on his way to the match, but he had come from Omsk, in Siberia, and had already endured four days of train travel to get that far.
The journey back will be a long, silent one if Clare do not win. If they can break the curse then the rumour among Ireland's large and cynical punting fraternity is that the bookies will sue the estate of Biddy Early for breach of contract.
Latest in Sport
New day (slowly) rising – As Brasileirão gets underway, Brazilian football stumbles, rather than leaps into the future
The average Serie A crowd last year was 13,000 - comparable to Australia’s A-League.
by James Young
24 May 2013 04:31 PM
Monaco is a street circuit where driver ability is more important than anywhere else and if we take ...
by Gareth Purnell
24 May 2013 02:00 AM
Three weeks ago as I drove off the Eurostar, I remember thinking what a very long time it was until ...
by Martin Ayres
23 May 2013 05:29 PM
Borussia Dortmund v Bayern Munich: 50 things you should know about the Champions League final
The Calvin report: Stirring Champions League final shows how far English game must advance
Borussia Dortmund 1 Bayern Munich 2 match report: Arjen Robben proves Mr Reliant for for Bayern
Boxing: Revenge for Carl Froch with unanimous decision over Mikkel Kessler
England's versatile quartet to replace old rearguard
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Get the latest on The Evening Standard's campaign to get London's children reading.
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.