Friday 20 October 2017

'There is an element of truth to it' - Jamesie O'Connor on Loughnane's Clare criticism

Conor Neville

Amazingly, Clare's win over Limerick yesterday was only their fifth victory in the Munster hurling championship in the 21st century.

This stat stands as even more bizarre when one considers that they've won one All-Ireland title in that period and contested another final. 

But the rare provincial championship win didn't satisfy Ger Loughnane, who lambasted the performance in the Irish Daily Star this morning. The Clare people, he argued, had to get their heads around the reality that this is a "limited team".

In addition to that he also said that their 2013 All-Ireland victory was "the greatest fluke of all time," one only made possible by the strange no-show of Kilkenny and Tipperary in the latter stages of that championship.

As for Sunday's display against Limerick, it was "atrocious" and only the most "deluded" of Clare fans could have enjoyed the game. 

Naturally, Jamesie O'Connor isn't quite so doom-laden about the team's prospects and speaking on the Throw-In on Independent.ie, he conceded that there was a hint of truth to his old manager's claims. 

"A journalist once said about Ger that he was incapable of uttering anything other than good copy," said O'Connor.

"And I think with Ger, there's a bit of a glint in his eye when he's hitting the keyboard with those words.

"But there is an element of truth to it. Listen, for me it was all about the result yesterday. And there was huge pressure on the players to get to the Munster final because our record in Munster has been deplorable.

"But we did miss five frees, we missed a penalty. To win All-Irelands or Munster championships, you need to be 95% from dead ball.... The puck-out strategy is definitely a cause for concern because if it's Waterford we meet, they have a lot of ball-winners in both half-back line and half-forward line. Cork mightn't be as good in the air but they can cause us problems in other areas."

"They have five weeks to get it right for the Munster final. I think if you're a Clare supporter, the key thing yesterday was getting a result but I don't think anyone in Clare is deluding themselves. There are areas that are going to have to be addressed if we're going to be genuine All-Ireland contenders."

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