'They looked like prisoners being released after 20 years' - Ger Loughnane despondent about Clare
Two-time All-Ireland winning manager Ger Loughnane is very concerned over the state of the Clare hurling team, despite the fact that the Banner men have just played their first game of the 2017 National League.
Clare only managed 1-11 as they suffered a seven-point defeat to Cork at Pairc Uí Rinn on Saturday night.
Loughnane believes joint managers Donal Moloney and Gerry O'Connor have their work cut out for them this year for a number of reasons.
He describes some Clare players as 'limited', he laments their lack of pace in defence, their lack of ball winners in the forward line and their over-reliance on the superb Tony Kelly for scores.
Another issue for Loughnane is the style of play the new management team have adopted and how far removed their tactics are to those deployed by Davy Fitzgerald last year.
Writing in his column in today's Irish Daily Star, he said: "In a way, teething problems are to be expected as they have a new management and are going from a very structured, very controlled way of playing to a style with greater freedom.
"But Clare reminded me of prisoners that were released after being behind bars for 20 years.
"They came blinking into a world they didn't recognise and didn't know how to adjust.
"It's very worrying that some of the Clare players are terribly limited.
"The Banner are missing four or five key players but the perception is out there that the county is flooded with talent. That is not the case.
"Another alarming aspect of Clare's performance was the lack of pace in defence.
"Clare were so dependent on Tony Kelly for scores. What happens if he gets injured or is off form?
"There is no rhythm or cohesion to Clare up front. But what is the biggest worry is that, if they're to go for this more direct style of play, they need ball-winners in their forwards. They had no ball-winners against Cork."
Loughnane's prognosis for Ger Cunnningham's Dublin isn't good either and he believes they are 'doomed to relegation' from Division 1A.