Brian Lohan senses the only way is up for Cork hurling after seeing his team narrowly beaten by them in this evening’s All-Ireland SHC qualifier.
While proud of his players' fighting spirit to almost win the game at the death, the Banner manager was impressed by the manner in which Cork came again in the fourth quarter having lost their five-point lead.
“Very little between the teams,” said Lohan. “Every step you go you meet better quality and this was a step up from where we were at. Cork, the graph only seems to be going one way.
“Every result you look at, they seem to be winning whether it’s U14, U15, minor, U20 All-Ireland champions last year and in the Munster final this year. They’re doing a lot of things right so credit to them.”
Lohan admitted Clare’s number of wides was a factor although he was not critical of the players who did not take the goal opportunities.
“Cork got a couple of chances, they got their goals, we got a couple of chances and just didn’t take them. I wouldn’t be criticising anyone for that.
“They just took their shots and some good defending from Cork and excellent goalkeeping from Cork. You have to give credit to the Cork lads and the Cork defence rather than saying anything about the lads.”
Lohan, who has the option of a third year following a review, was asked about how the Clare supporters applauded the team off the field afterwards.
“We got good guys there. They’ve worked very hard all year. They’ve given us everything we have asked of them whether it’s in the gym or out on the field they’ve really represented themselves well and their clubs well and I couldn’t ask for any more.
“We’ve got exceptional guys there. As a supporter when I was looking at them, you’d be very proud of them. They’re exceptional guys and then when you go in and work with them you have more regard for them. Really exceptional guys, they do everything to try and produce big performances which generally speaking they do.”