Mick O’Dwyer has accepted that the days of making players do laps is over.
The new Clare manager has traditionally been an advocate of his players clocking up the miles but has embraced a physical trainer in his latest post in Clare.
“Yes, the first time,” admitted O’Dwyer. “We have a physical trainer now and we’ll go with all the stuff that is going now and see how it works. We have a fella in, Michael Cahill, he is doing a great job there.
“Fitness is most important in the game but I want to see more football played in any training session, so I hope to have plenty of football when the spring comes.
“The day of the lap they tell me is gone. I’d like to be running fellas all the time if I had my way.”
O’Dwyer’s Banner side looked destined for a McGrath Cup semi-final date with his native Kerry when they took a commanding lead over Limerick on Sunday, but the Treaty County clawed their way back and won by 2-16 to 2-13 in extra-time.
“I wasn’t too disappointed,” says O’Dwyer. “We looked at a number of players, which is what it is all about. We were leading by seven points and introduced some subs then and maybe it wasn’t the right thing to do but if that was a championship game, you wouldn’t be doing those things. You have to look at players.”
O’Dwyer admits Clare are not ready for the challenge of a superpower such as Kerry and is realistic about where his panel are on the food chain.
“They are a long way away, no question, but if I can improve the game there and get people to play football in the county, then I think that will be my job done. I’m enjoying what I am doing and I am getting a great commitment.”
The Clare boss would like to see the pick-up and mark rule come into the game and would accept the black card, despite holding some reservations. Still, he feels the game attracts too much criticism.
“It’s hard to get things through congress — I’d say there’ll be two or three of them passed,” he says. “Maybe we are making too many changes in the game. Every year we make changes and it is making it harder for referees and everybody involved. So let them make changes now and leave them for three or four years. I think the game is good and doesn’t need much change, to be honest.”
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