Loughnane hopeful Clare won’t ‘disappear like Tipp’

Ger Loughnane has expressed hope All-Ireland champions Clare don’t disappear “off the map” as neighbours Tipperary did following their 2010 success.

The All-Ireland winning manager, who guided Clare to Championship glory in 1995 and 1997, is confident that this is the start of a golden era for hurling in the Banner county.

Tipperary won both the senior and U21 titles three years ago but have failed to reach those heights since.

Loughnane told Clare FM: “There will be massive challenges coming within Munster because all of the teams there will reckon they will beat Clare.

“This has been a magical year – the best year I can remember for hurling, but you know we have the prospect that next year and the year after will be even better.

“What we all hope and what we are all very confident of is that we don’t become the Tipperary team of 2010 when they won the senior and the U21 and disappeared off the map after that.”

Loughnane believes there will be little time to rest on their laurels with the draws for Championship 2014 being made tomorrow night.

And he knows that one team — and one man in particular — would relish the battle with Clare more than any other.

“The Black and Amber are still out there. We have beaten Tipperary in an All-Ireland final. We have now beaten Cork in an All-Ireland final. There is one other county and one other man especially, Brian Cody, still in charge – I’m sure Davy would love to have a crack at Kilkenny while Brian Cody is still there.”

As Clare’s hurling heroes last night paraded the Liam McCarthy cup in John Conlon’s home club of Clonlara, Loughnane described the success as “a new milestone.”

He said: “You look at Limerick — they are stuck back in 1973. You look at Waterford — they are stuck back in the 1950s. Galway are struck back in the 1980s, Offaly stuck back in the 1990s, now Clare are 2013.

He said: “We have moved on. We have a new milestone. You need those new milestones, that is what Kilkenny, Cork and Tipperary have always had.”

Loughnane said that Clare has revolutionised how hurling is now played, stating that in order to beat their opponents, Clare have had to play an entirely different game.

However he confessed he was uneasy with the short passing strategy which he first saw in the flesh at an underage development game a few years ago.

He said: “I was watching the match with Jim McInerney and I was getting more and more uneasy as the game went on because it was all this short passing and I said to Jim ‘what is going on?’ and he told me ‘that is the way the game is going to be played from now on’. I said nothing, but in my own mind coming out I thought this was crazy just like everyone else until we saw the strategy behind it this year.”

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