JONATHAN CLANCY was relaxed in the Semple Stadium tunnel after yesterday’s game.
The Clarecastle man had helped Clare to victory with a goal and two points from play, and a generally energetic tour of duty at wing-forward.
A good day done, and Clancy was putting it down to hard work, pure and simple.
“After half-time we were only up a few points and we were against the wind, but we said at the break that we had to work hard, everyone had to put in their shift, and we were lucky enough, we got the breaks in front of goal.
“They got it back to two points and you’d be thinking it was a bit iffy, but Barry (Nugent) got the goal, that gave us more of a lead and we were able to build our momentum then again. That kept the ship afloat.”
They were also buoyed by those four goals. Clancy put the green flags down to the training ground.
“We’d never been really clinical in front of goal, and it was something we were always trying to work on — when you get your chance to make sure you’re 100 per cent, so it’s through hard work that those chances are coming for us.”
The Clarecastle man acknowledged that the wind had been a factor; when he added that he was satisfied with his own contribution, however, he was keen to credit his teammates.
“There was a strong breeze, and it could deceive you at times — it’d be going down the field, or into the corners, so it was tricky enough to work with, but we did alright.
“I was happy enough with today, but it’s easy when you’ve lads working hard around you, they’re throwing the ball out to you and it’s nearly target practice. But it was nice to get the few scores.
“Every Munster championship game is a battle, and hopefully that’ll strengthen us and we’ll have a long summer ahead.”
Their next summer outing is July 13 against Tipperary. Clancy didn’t delay in doing the bookies’ job: “Well, they must be the strong favourites at this stage, the way they played in the league they’re the form team. We’ll prepare well for the next few weeks.
“We’ve been underdogs in all our games so far, but we don’t mind that. That’s just a tag the media put on us, but we’ll work away for the next three weeks for the Munster final.”
He acknowledged the novelty of the occasion.
“It’ll be a big experience for most of the team — I’d say 95 per cent of us have never played in a Munster final, so it’ll be a big occasion for most of us, but hopefully we’ll take it in stride.
“Frank (Lohan) and Colin (Lynch) are big leaders for us, but we also have the likes of Ollie (Baker) and Fergie Tuohy involved with the team, they were involved in 1995 and 1997, so you can only learn from having the likes of those in a dressing-room with you.”
Clancy isn’t surprised by the Clare revival, or his manager’s role in it.
“We always had the players and the talent in the county to do well — the only people who are probably surprised are those outside the county, more so than people in the dressing-rooms.
“Mike (McNamara) has instilled pride back in the jersey, that’s what he emphasises in us a lot of the time — that we have to have pride in ourselves, and in the people from Clare who come to see us. He’s put the pride back in the jersey, and hopefully today we helped do that.”
Clancy was at the 1997 All-Ireland final between Clare and Tipperary (“Only good memories”) but next month is a different challenge.
“Obviously we hadn’t thought about the Munster final before today, but it’ll sink in. We’ll go back to the clubs but then we’ll start thinking about the Munster final. Hopefully it’ll be a day to remember.”
A Munster final? What other kind of day would it be?
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