‘A lot of soul-searching’ after Tipperary loss - Brian Lohan reflects on Clare’s round-robin campaign

Clare star Tony Kelly and manager Brian Lohan celebrate a big win in Ennis. Photo: Sportsfile© SPORTSFILE

Colm Keys

Brian Lohan has admitted he and his team had to ask hard questions of themselves after their first round Munster SHC loss to Tipperary last month.

The Tipperary defeat put them on a tightrope for the rest of the provincial campaign but it was a path they negotiated with great nerve to qualify for a second successive Munster final.

Clare won't know their opponents until next weekend but a three-week run in comes after three successive wins that have underlined great resilience.

"There was a lot of thought and soul-searching done in relation to ourselves and where we were going as a group after that Tipp game and everything was on the line against Limerick," said Lohan.

"We got through the Waterford game and then there wasn't as much pressure on in this game. It was such a vital game but there wasn't that tough pressure that we had going into Limerick.

"So maybe there was a little bit more freedom in our play and we played a bit better and particularly coming down the stretch."

Two Clare half-backs, Diarmuid Ryan and David McInerney, scored six points between them and Lohan felt Cork may have helped that situation by leaving two crisp strikers of the ball with so much space and time so often.

"They had (Ciaran) Joyce sitting back in front of the full-back line and was starting to dominate the game and get on a lot of ball," he said.

"We probably had a bit of space in our half-back line, a bit of freedom to come up the field. Fair play to our lads. It’s all very well having that space but putting the ball over the bar is crucial.”

Lohan praised the support of the home crowd in the 18,657 crowd which was euphoric after the win.

“The support was fantastic. The crowd was brilliant. A lot of those people there supporting the team have put an awful lot into all those lads whether they trained them at U-6 or looked after them, driving them here and there.

"There’s a great appreciation from the lads for what people have done for them and I suppose the supporters are looking at that bunch and getting behind them. They appreciate the work they’re putting into it.”

Cork manager Pat Ryan knows his team will have to at least draw with Limerick to remain in the competition next weekend in the Gaelic Grounds.

But he was disappointed with how easily they allowed Clare to get back ahead when Cork had drawn level.

"We gave away some handy scores that they got,” he said. "Diarmuid Ryan got one, David McInerney got another one from the half-back line from an easy, quick puckout, David Fitzgerald got another one.

“I’d be a bit disappointed from that side but I couldn’t be more proud of our fellas for the effort they gave. They played for the jersey, which is what we’ve been asking them to do all year.”

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