Wednesday 26 June 2019

Donnellan: Banner must figure a way to keep Glynn quiet


Pat Donnellan lifting the Liam MacCarthy cup for Clare in 2013. Photo: Barry Cregg / Sportsfile
Pat Donnellan lifting the Liam MacCarthy cup for Clare in 2013. Photo: Barry Cregg / Sportsfile
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Playing smarter on Johnny Glynn should be one of Clare's priorities for Sunday's All-Ireland semi-final replay with Galway, their 2013 All-Ireland-winning captain Pat Donnellan has cautioned.

Donnellan, who retired from the inter-county game almost two years ago, sees Galway's 6ft 5in powerhouse, now based at home after a few years in New York, as a growing threat this summer whose ball-winning ability the last day was such a contributing factor to unsettling Clare.

"On a basic level, he's probably a foot taller than everyone else when he sticks his hand up. It's very hard to catch a ball over a guy that size," said Donnellan.

"He's not just big, he's really agile and able to catch a ball. Balls tend not to spill off him too much. If anything goes into him it tends to stick. He has the composure as well to lay it off.

"From a Clare point of view, they'll be working on attacking him a bit more from behind or from the side rather than stand under him because he is just so strong.

"They got better towards the end of the game (dealing with the threat) but he put a good few of the guys under pressure when he went looking for the ball.

"He came out to wing-forward at one stage and was a good target man for them when they came under a bit of pressure as well."


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Glynn's dominance was one of the prompts for Clare to switch Colm Galvin back into a sweeping role, something Donnellan was familiar with during his latter years with the Banner.

He feels the role has developed unwarranted negative connotations when the practicalities of it are much different with 'six-v-six' situations between defences and attacks presenting so rarely.

Donnellan believes that with half-backs being pulled out of position so much, it makes sense to drop a player back and provide some structure.

"For whatever reason the sweeper has come across negatively, that teams are trying to play a certain way, trying not to concede goals and minimising the damage being done.

"It comes from the perception in football these days that you have to have 13 men back and you can't express yourself and have flexibility within a system.

"What we would have done with Clare and what most teams are doing - I know Wexford are probably playing it a bit more defensively than others - is to give a little bit of structure to a defence where your half-back line is being pulled and dragged everywhere.

"So what the sweeper is doing is not necessarily covering to try and limit goals but they are providing a bit of a buffer to defence who are following their men out the field more. That's what Clare did the last day."

Donnellan feels Galvin is ideal for the role but doesn't envisage Clare devoting the Clonlara man entirely to the role the next day.

"Colm is probably Clare's best ball-player, he's a fantastic striker and a brilliant man to be able to see a pass.

"A couple of times he was coming out of defence and I watched him and he almost did a double take - he was going to hit it, he saw that John or someone in the full-forward line had switched their run and he held the ball for an extra half a second before hitting it.

"He's the perfect fella to have on the ball, he's not just there to block out the potential for goals. It provides a bit of structure to the defence, gives an option to the goalie for puck-outs offensively.

"They need to use him as much as possible. If he is on the ball 15 or 20 times in a game you can be sure that 90pc of that possession that he gets is going to be used well."

Donnellan predicts Tony Kelly will play a deeper role which clearly suited him the last day but senses Galway will see great room for improvement.

"Galway will think there is more in them, they had a lot of wides, a couple of goal chances. Donal Tuohy was excellent and made a couple of good saves.

"Obviously Gearoid McInerney went off injured, Joe (Canning) was injured and Daithi (Burke) came into the game with an injury which was a factor.

"I don't think it's a simple as Clare starting a bit better and they'll win. It will almost play out like a new game.

"Clare will have got a huge amount of confidence from the last day, in that they feel that they can match Galway but at the same time, Galway will really want to up their performance and feel there is more in them."

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