By Jackie Cahill
Clare may be anchored to the foot of Division 1A but Davy Fitzgerald insisted that Sunday’s display against Tipperary was his side’s best of the Allianz League season.
The Banner County’s third successive defeat, following previous losses to Galway and Cork, leaves them facing a relegation playoff unless there’s a major turnaround in the remaining fixtures against Dublin and Kilkenny.
And while Fitzgerald is naturally concerned by his team’s poor run of form, he remains optimistic that the tide will turn.
Clare, after all, were in a relegation playoff in 2013 but finished the year as All-Ireland champions.
But they haven’t won a game in League or championship since the 2014 League quarter-final victory over Laois.
Fitzgerald said: “Listen, they’re big games but in the context of May and June, how big will they be? If we lose to Liemrick and Tipp in Munster, they’re big games.
“I’d be worried then if we were getting beaten well. I’m disappointed, we tried everything to win the game but I felt we weren’t 100 miles away today.
“I think we’re in for a big one next week, with a backlash from Dublin.
“It’s a tough one again and it’s looking like at the moment that we’re going to be in a fight we don’t want to be in.
“But what will come will come. We’ll deal with it.”
Tipp’s dedication to the cause at Cusack Park left Paudie Maher gushing blood from a head wound.
But Premier County manager Eamon O’Shea insisted: “I wouldn’t be reading too much into battles and stuff like that.
“You get two points in the League and now we have four, with another game next Sunday.
“You win some, you lose some. Take it for what it is on the day but don’t read too much into it for the next day, either next Sunday or three months or six months time.
“Caution and measure in all of these things. You saw a League match on Saturday night between Dublin and Cork – that was a strange League match.
“Just read into it what it is – nothing more, nothing less. It saying nothing about anything.”