Clare captain Pat Donnellan believes Davy Fitzgerald’s men will be hard-pressed to maintain their impressive start to the NHL.
The All-Ireland champions were at full stretch in eking out a one point win over Brian Cody’s side, but instead of savouring a rare win over Kilkenny, Donnellan warned of choppy waters ahead.
The necessary winter grind, he insisted, hasn’t been put in by the Clare squad to churn out such impressive performances on a weekly basis, with Donnellan echoing his manager’s sentiment that their league showings from here in are likely to be of an erratic nature.
“We are six or eight weeks behind every team so we have to put the work in now because we can’t do it in May, June or July. It is just about putting the head down, getting the most out of it and hopefully having your head in front at the end of the games. You are not going to be peaking every game, you can’t,” said Donnellan.”
Clare hit three unanswered points in the final ten minutes at Cusack Park to swing the verdict in their favour and Donnellan credited Kilkenny for the home side’s strong finish.
“It is kind of credit it to them, they bring you up to their level,” the 28-year old noted.
“When you see the honesty they have on the field you kind of want to try match it. You know what you are getting from them every day, whether it is a challenge game, championship or league. And if you don’t meet them in terms of honesty, aside from what skill you have, you are not going to beat them.
“The league is very competitive this year no more than last year and you want to get off to a good footing. You want to gauge where you are.
“We are under no illusions we have a huge amount of work to put in.
“Probably having home advantage is an extra kind of an incentive and is maybe worth a point or two, just nice to get a good win and nice to play in front of a big crowd.”
The All-Ireland champions are on the road this weekend and Donnellan accepted Dublin’s Salthill hiding will provoke a strong backlash from Anthony Daly’s troops.
“Galway is a tough place to go to. Teams would have had their sights on performing well and finding a few new players. So no team wants to get beat very well and like that Dublin will have huge pride and will be coming out all guns blazing next week. We just have to be ready for it.
“The league is something that’s treated very seriously when you are in it.
“Aside from that you want good quality games, you want to be showing you are progressing, you want to be having a look at a few new lads, you want to show that the work you are doing is coming out on the field.”
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved