Jamesie O’Connor: Drop in intensity in second tier has benefited Clare

Jamesie O’Connor believes the stint of Division 1B has played a considerable part in Clare’s successes this season in the Allianz Hurling League.
Jamesie O’Connor: Drop in intensity in second tier has benefited Clare

Unlike previous seasons, the former hurler of the year feels Davy Fitzgerald’s side have been able to taper their performances earlier in the year because of the drop in intensity in the second tier of the league.

In Monday’s Irish Examiner, columnist Anthony Daly mentioned selector and coach Dónal Óg Cusack has brought a Cork swagger to the set-up.

John Conlon had mentioned it in the aftermath of the win over Limerick.

O’Connor agrees to a certain extent with his former team-mate.

“The players, by all accounts, are happy with his contribution,” he told Tipp FM’s Extra-Time.

“I think Clare expended a lot of energy very early in the year, particularly in 2014.

“We were very impressive in the league but maybe ran out of gas come championship and I think one of the things about Dónal Óg, the management and being in 1B there was a chance to breathe a bit and maybe pace ourselves a bit better.

“He’s a shrewd analyst, he’s an astute tactician and I think he will bring a lot of things to the Clare set-up and Corkness mightn’t be any bad thing to have in there.”

Cusack himself admits the level of performance expected of Clare is creeping up each time they go out onto the field.

“We’ve had steady progression through the campaign. With all due respect to a lot of the games in 1B, there was a certain element of maybe shadow-boxing, not to disrespect anybody. But there’s definitely a progression in standards.

“The Limerick game the last day was a big game in terms of promotion. (Tipperary) was definitely again a step-up in terms of a team who have been playing in Division 1A all along.”

Next up is a semi-final with Kilkenny. “Then we play the standard bearers, if you like, on Sunday week.

“It’s something we are looking forward to.”

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