O'Donnell: Fresh voices help to sharpen Clare focus
Clare hurling sharpshooter Shane O'Donnell has hailed the backroom team Davy Fitzgerald has assembled for their 2016 campaign.
After securing the county's first National Hurling League title since 1978 last weekend, O'Donnell was quick to praise the new faces in the management for bringing a fresh voice to the set-up.
"They've been really good, all the additions to the management team," O'Donnell said.
"But the team as a whole, they've just gelled very well together. Sometimes it's not even a brilliant idea but a new idea, something you haven't heard before.
"Sometimes it's just nice to hear a new voice or new ideas of how to do things you already know. Sometimes it's not that they come in with these amazing ideas, it's just something that one of the other lads hadn't said before."
O'Donnell carried an ankle injury for large parts of the league campaign and was a little off-colour last weekend before being withdrawn in the second half.
However, the hat-trick hero of the 2013 All-Ireland final replay believes extra game-time afforded to him by the replay will help him rediscover his best form.
"I think probably I just wasn't on form, my touch wasn't good enough, my control wasn't good enough, my decision-making was poor, more than anything else," he offered frankly.
"I don't think it was down to tactics, think it was more my own problems I had the last day.
"Personally, it was nice to get that game in. Otherwise, it would have been 20 minutes of the drawn game and then straight into the championship game in four or five weeks' time if I will be playing. That would have been tough ... so it was nice to get an extra game in."
And he's hoping to edge towards his best form with every session he completes.
"I think confidence is a lot of it. It's not even that I need to play a game that I'm great, I just need to get a couple of weeks so I can tell myself, 'Oh I've had a couple of weeks' training'. Not that I'm just going back in after a week.
"It's more to get confidence in my ankle than anything instead of going out and thinking about it, thinking it could be sore or if I do this I could damage it. After a couple of weeks' training where it has felt fine then you just forget about it."
And O'Donnell is confident that they will be able to refocus for next month when they return to Semple Stadium and play Waterford in the Munster SHC semi-final.
"It would have been upsetting to lose the game. Waterford will tell you the same thing, it's upsetting to lose a league final but outside of that, I don't think anyone would really... they're not going to dwell on it," he said.
"They've forgotten about it by now. They're probably back training at the same time so I don't think you're going to be upset over it to the point of it upsetting your next game or your training for the championship."
"We just treat every game the same. We go into the next game like we did the last two games. We are going to prepare for ourselves and let them worry about us."