Conlon urges Clare to turn vast potential into success
CLARE star John Conlon insists it's time the Banner started delivering on their much-vaunted potential -- starting with Sunday's Munster SHC semi-final showdown with Waterford.
A promising Division 1B campaign was capped by a stunning comeback in the decider, and the Clonlara man wants to build on that progress by seeing off the Deise in Semple Stadium.
"That's the big thing that Davy Fitzgerald has brought to us this year, that (success) is all in the past -- this is the future," said the 2009 All-Ireland U-21 winner.
"It's about time we really started to get it out of ourselves, showing our potential and showing our skills and started believing that we can match these bigger teams and get to that level.
"We're up there now, so it's about time we started believing in ourselves."
Despite coming from a successful underage set-up, Conlon is still waiting on his first championship win since joining the panel four years ago.
And he's hoping Fitzgerald's in-depth knowledge of the Waterford players can help the Banner to their first provincial final since 2008, when they lost to Tipperary.
"I suppose he'd know them inside out from last year," he said.
"Every championship game is different. Some of them you go out with tactics, obviously you'd have plans and stuff, but at times they might change in the middle of games and they all go out the window.
"I've been on the panel now for four years and we haven't won a championship game since I've been there.
"It's important that we get to that level. It's about winning games. We don't want to be the team that's gone in July again.
"That's our big aim this year -- to get our first round in and see how it goes from there."
And Conlon insists that Clare are more united and focused than at any time since he joined the squad.
"Everyone's training really hard. I've never seen everybody, one to 30, going as hard in training and being united," he enthused.
"Before maybe you would have looked at it and you would have had your 24 lads and the next six outside of it were just wanting to be there to be part of a Clare panel.
"This year everyone is there fighting for their place on the Clare team.
"You look to get onto the 24-man panel for the day and then you want to get onto the 20 and onto the team, obviously."