The pressure is on Clare hurling manager Davy Fitzgerald to deliver a Munster championship victory on Sunday, according to Tomás Mulcahy.
Clare enjoyed a turbulent spring, suffering relegation from the league’s top flight and losing the services of Davy O’Halloran in controversial fashion after the Éire Óg player claimed he was humiliated by management.
“There are a lot of things that have happened in Clare over the past few months,” said RTÉ pundit Mulcahy.
“They have been very quiet over the last number of weeks. We are used to hearing Davy in the press, we are used to seeing him in the media. We are used to seeing him talking up games or talking about the opposition. This time around, he has been very quiet.
“I know Davy is expecting a big battle, but a lot of people would fancy Clare to get back on the winning track. They have some fantastic talent coming through from underage. They have dominated at U21 level the last number of years and so he needs to keep that going. This is a serious opportunity for them to win a Munster championship match. I think he needs this.”
Mulcahy continued: “Over the last couple of years people were saying the championship didn’t really begin until the quarter-finals. That is no longer the case.
“In the Munster championship, you have Clare versus Limerick and one of them will go into the qualifiers, as will either Waterford or Cork. You then have the losers of the other semi-final going into the qualifiers. You have Dublin versus Galway and one of them will be in the qualifiers.
“Anybody that says they want to go the back door because it will be easier, that won’t be the case. I think the easier route will be to try win your province. Davy’s focus will be to beat Limerick and then focus on Tipperary after that.”
Meanwhile, Mulcahy described Lorcán McLoughlin’s collarbone injury as a “big blow” ahead of Cork’s Munster semi-final date with Waterford on June 7.
“Aidan Walsh went back to wing-back in a couple of league matches, didn’t have the greatest time at centre-back, but did okay at wing-back. That might be an option. Pa Cronin coming into midfield is an option. Rob O’Shea can play midfield as well. That is what management have to deal with now.”
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