GHOSTS banished. Demons laid to rest. A win against Waterford, his- torically, wasn’t something to get excited about.
But judging by the roar at the end and the sense of relief outside the Clare dressing room, this meant something.
More than winning, this was about wiping the slate clean and starting again. Conor Whelan, captain when Clare capsized in troubled waters down in Waterford last year, knew that for a long time on Sunday, it looked like Clare were charted to- Se NUGK-MCTOO ODE ED as EelKon
“Things didn’t look great for us,” Whelan, stand-on captain this year, admitted outside the Clare dressing room. “The lads got back into it. A great interception by Gordon Kelly was a real turning point in the game. We went up the field and got a point and then the point from Stephen Hickey closed the day out.
“We know we played very poorly in the first-half. We weren’t expressing ourselves on the ball. We just didn’t play right. We, as players, know that. Frank Doherty told us too. It was really laid on the line to us and we were happy that we rose to the chal- lenge in the second half. *
Sitting in the stands, injured, this
year’s captain Michael O’Shea kicked his heels in frustration as the errors continued to mount.
“Tt’s frustrating when you are look- ing out because you can see what is going on. You’re sitting in the stand and you can’t do anything about it.
‘“We’ve a lot to improve on. We made a lot of stupid mistakes. Our ball handling was very poor at stages, especially in the first-half. Our move- ment up front wasn’t up to standard. We weren’t creating enough oppor- tunities for ourselves. Saying that, a couple of the lads showed good bot- tle towards the end. They stood up and were counted when a couple of Scores were needed, but we’ll take the positives.”
They included a rattling good per- formance from David Connole, who, along with John Hayes, O’Shea said, provided Clare with mobility and strength going forward.
Plenty of work and plenty to think about, then, ahead of the Munster semi-final against Kerry.
O’Shea, who Doherty said after- wards would add a different gear to Clare’s running game, is hopeful of being fit to face Kerry.
“We’ve three weeks and we’ll be doing everything we can. That’s a day you really don’t want to miss. Playing Kerry down in Killarney. We’ll be doing everything we can.”