'They need to change if they are going to get any further'- Brendan Cummins on the tactical tweak Clare must make
Tipperary legend Brendan Cummins says that Clare must change their puck-out tactics if they are going to have any chance of progressing in this year's championship.
The Clare puck-out was took apart by Tipperary in their clash at Cusack Park, as Donal Tuohy's balls were broken down easily at their own 65-yard line and by the Tipperary half backs when he went long.
Cummins believes this is one of a number of tactical changes that Donal Moloney and Gerry O'Connor must fix if the Banner is to roar throughout the summer.
Speaking on The Throw-In podcast, in association with Bord Gáis Energy, Cummins said that the team looked over-coached, imploring the Banner management and players to stop over-thinking their way through the game.
"Looking at Clare, they're thinking their way through the game and their freedom is gone, Tony Kelly has obviously been told to play deep. He's playing too deep, he's in his fullback line playing against the wind," Cummins added.
Aside from unorthodox role of Tony Kelly, Cummins highlighted the puck-out strategy as an ongoing problem for the joint-management of O'Connor and Moloney.
"[Clare goalkeeper] Donal Tuohy, last year in the All-Ireland semi-final against Galway, the game was nearly over because of the puck-outs after the first fifteen minutes of the game."
Cummins believes that aiming for the half-back line is a futile tactic because of the press that Tipperary put high up the field, coupled with the fact that there is a sweeper in place to stop runners, who do win their own ball, from running through.
"When Tipp [pushed up], Donal Tuohy still persisted with this famous game plan of hitting the ball out to his own 65, and everyone thinks when you get the ball on your own 65 you can run through Tipperary," he said.
"But you can't, because the reality is they have Paudie Maher stationed there for every single puck-out, [and they can] because of their work-rate, and then they'll give you five yards in your half back line and say go on, I dare you to hit it to them."
Cummins recalled the great Henry Shefflin-inspired Kilkenny team putting him under the same pressure, pressing home the need for perfection in short balls against the top teams.
"Kilkenny used to do that to me for years, they always had Eoin Larkin, TJ Reid and Henry [Shefflin]," Cummins said.
"They'd stand just far enough off the half backs and say go on, hit it to them, and when you hit it to them, if it's any way wrong, they turn you over and put it back over the bar.
"That's been the issue with Clare, they're trying to tic tac their way through teams. Two-thirds of the shots on their goals during the league is when a Clare lad had the ball and got turned over. They have to learn from that statistic playing in the championship.
"They just need to change if they are going to get any further in the championship, but I don't see change coming."