Clare’s victory over Dublin will count for nothing unless it is backed up with a result against Waterford in their final round-robin game, according to Brendan Bugler.
The Bannermen’s 0-20 to 1-15 win over Dublin has them sitting second in Division 1A, but with just two points separating five teams, Bugler doesn’t believe their current total of four points will be sufficient to ensure league survival.
Waterford travel to Cusack Park on March 26 and the Clare defender was keen to avoid a situation where they headed into that game with just one win under their belt.
“Kilkenny drawing with Tipperary on Saturday evening put them on three points so there was a little bit of pressure on us to get the win against Dublin and try get ahead in the table,” Bugler remarked.
“The Cork win means there are three teams on four points so that makes it very tight.
"This win will only be relevant if we back it up next time out against Waterford. We won’t be safe on four.
“Even though we got the win here, the Waterford fixture is still going to be a pressure game. Division 1 has been a great league so far in that you don’t know how games are going to go.
"The two points here were great. But they alone won’t be enough. We’ll need to get something against Waterford to be 100% sure.”
Clare joint-manager Gerry O’Connor commented that “it was probably a terrible game to watch” and while Bugler accepts it wasn’t the greatest of spectacles, he was encouraged by the ability of the home side to “dig out” a result in trying circumstances.
What didn’t impress him was their second-half wides tally of nine, to which he contributed.
“In championship, you won’t get away with hitting that amount of wides. We have to tighten up on that part. The only positive is that we were creating the chances. If you keep plugging away some will start to go over and they did.
“There was a strong wind out there. It was hard to get the ball to stick to hand. It took us a good 30 minutes to get used to the elements. But with these league games, it is not always about the skill or the high scores.
"You just have to dig out the results. We won here without playing overly well. It wasn’t pretty but we got the two points. That is all that counts.
“And you’d take encouragement from that, given the time of year it is. It is still only March. The real test will be in June and if we are in the same situation, least we’ll know then that we’ve done it before. That is why the league games are important.”
Spring is also the time for experimentation.
Ian Galvin, having been handed his first competitive start, was withdrawn after 25 minutes despite clipping two points from play. He was sent back into the action with the game in the melting pot and added a third point to seal Clare’s second league win.
“You do what is expected of you. It doesn’t matter if you start, come on or come on and get taken off and put back on, when you are on the field you have to perform,” Bugler said.
“In fairness to Ian, he did that. If you look at the team that lined out for Clare in the 2013 All-Ireland final, only five started here. There are new lads getting a chance. They are not doing themselves any harm.”
The 31-year old concluded: “The league has been up and down for us. We started slowly and then had a good performance against Kilkenny.
“We’re looking for consistency and we haven’t seen it yet. That is something we have to rectify.”
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