There was a mix of driving rain and wind as well as thunder and lightning in Ennis but it couldn’t prevent Clare from picking up where they left off against Wexford for a routine win that keeps up their 100% record in this year’s National League.
When I was walking out of Páirc Uí Chaoimh on Saturday evening, I noticed some action on the 4G pitch. I knew it couldn’t be some club training so soon after the match so I went over to investigate; it was 13 Tipperary substitutes going hard at it.
It’s not that Clare’s opening salvo in this year’s National League was a box-ticking exercise, but as soon as the final whistle sounded to signal this facile 16-point victory it’s safe to say that everyone of a saffron and blue hue was moving towards next Sunday’s mouth-watering clash with Wexford.
It was no surprise that new Clare hurling boss, Brian Lohan, picked a player in his own likeness as captain for the year ahead. John Conlon may inhabit a different end of the field than the Banner legend did during his playing days, but the differences between the two end there.
It’s GAA convention season, in case you hadn’t noticed, and whether by accident or design, an important theme has been running through the many end-of-year reports and speeches scripted by under pressure and, in some cases, under-fire county board officers.
Before I led the Clarecastle team out at half-time of yesterday’s Clare county final, to collect our 25-year anniversary plaques, somebody handed me the 1994 county final programme. We beat a young St Joseph’s Doora-Barefield team that afternoon and, as I scanned the teams, Ger Hoey’s name jumped out at me.
Two-time All-Ireland winning Clare selector Tony Considine believes the Banner County would be well served by mirroring Cork’s progressive approach and filling their various management teams with the men who twice delivered Liam MacCarthy glory in the mid-’90s.