THE different reaction afterwards provides a baromoter of sorts to guage who had gained a point and who had just lost one. A win had its own significance for both sides. Hav- ing already lost to Cork and Wex- ford, Offaly were on the rack, star- ing down the barrel of Division Two hurling next year. A win would keep Clare flying near the summit of the group, a playoff place in sight.
Clare came here expecting two points, but it was John McIntyre who felt disappointed at the end.
“I felt desperately unlucky not to have won the game and I make no apologies for saying that,’ he said. “It’s a big step in the right direc- ney na
There was a different take on it for Clare. Three or four times in the second half, Tony Considine said, he felt as though the game was slipping away from his side.
“I thought at times we’d never get anything out of it. The one thing, sometimes you find out about a team what they’re really made
of and a day like today I think we found out Clare have a lot of charac- ter in them. They fought at the end. They never gave up on the game.”
At times, particularly in the sec- ond half, he re-jigged his forward line and mainly to good effect. Niall Gilligan was brought to the front of his attack then moved in front of the goal, Fergal Lynch was used as a bat- tering ram at centre-froward. Yet the bulk of the re-deployment was done through necessity.
“You swap around and you do things especially when there’s emer- gencies all over the picth. When we made the changes it worked well for us. But all of the lads fought hard and they got their reward. I’d like to have got the win but half a loaf is better than no loaf at all, as they say.”
Clare started with a_ physically strong full-forward line, one that on paper, given the size of the three, was capable of making their presence felt. McIntyre picked up on this from the start.
“Clare had big men. We mightn’t have the height to match them in certain positions
but you’ve got to hand it to Clare. At stages in the second half it looked like they were in big trouble but they hung in at the end. You’ve got to give them credit for that.”
It sets things up neatly for next Sun- day’s clash with Cork. A helping of soup to warm the gut before the real banquet of summer.
“At the end of the day we want to qualify,” says Considine. “We go out to win every game if we can. Clare have lost games before and it wasn’t the end of the world. It’s not going to be the end of the world again.
“We’re trying out things with the team. We’re learning all the time. Next Sunday we’ll learn some more and maybe we’ll learn a bit about Cork as well.”
Learning and discovering. The time to turn toil into victory is ap- proaching.