Clare boss Gerry O’Connor relishing prospect of tackling Limerick

Gerry O'Connor

Clare joint-manager Gerry O’Connor is already looking ahead to his side’s clash with Limerick, saying any game between the counties “takes on a life of its own”.

“Limerick and Clare, no matter which team is going really well, it takes on a life of its own. It’s a derby and there’s never anything between the teams.

“The way the league table is going it’s probably a must-win game for us, so we’ll be looking to put in a top-class performance.

“We’ll have to look at where the dip in performance for us last Sunday came from and to improve on that.

“A lot of the lads play together for UL and LIT and so on, so that’ll add to the bite and competitiveness. Limerick is going to be a huge challenge.”

Clare beat Wexford in Cusack Park but O’Connor stresses the Banner have plenty to work on: “I thought we did well but we probably scored two goals against the run of play either side of half-time but we also conceded something like 1-8 in 15 minutes without reply.

You can’t go that length of time without scoring against Limerick. Mentally we might have switched off but you can’t give a team 1-8 like we did and be hanging on for the last 10 minutes. There’s something there definitely to work on because this is the third week in a row we’ve struggled in the final quarter. It’s something we have to look at in training.

Clare wing-forward Diarmuid Ryan, who ended the game with 0-4, anticipated a tough encounter: “We knew before the game how it would go, we knew that Davy (Fitzgerald) wasn’t going to let anything go too easy here. We knew with the type of game Wexford play, with a sweeper there’d be licence for our lads to come up the field and shoot.

Diarmuid Ryan (right) in action against Waterford.
Diarmuid Ryan (right) in action against Waterford.

“In some of the games we’ve had a lot of wides but I thought Sunday the lads were very good.

“We had a few wides and we’ll have to work on that for the championship, but it’s still just February. Thank God we held on at the end, and credit to Wexford too. They put it to us in the second half and we’re thankful our backs held out there in the last few minutes.

“We know we have a lot to work on for next Sunday, and hopefully a win there would get us into the quarter-finals.”

Ryan acknowledged Clare’s 2-22 was “serious scoring” but he also pointed to their improved discipline since leaking 0-15 from frees against Cork in their previous outing.

“We’ve been putting up good scores but we saw it with Cork, we put up a good score but the frees that day... I thought the tackling Sunday was very good. We looked at the tackling after the previous week, conceding 15 scoreable frees was too much — you won’t win too many games with that so we worked on it in training. We’ll assess the positives and negatives from Sunday and face into next weekend.”

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