Maturing Clare fear no one, says Cian Dillon

Clare joint-captain Cian Dillon isn’t promising the county will continue their 100% record for the year but has assured the team will fight to the bitter end in every game.

Tipperary led by three points with five minutes remaining in Sunday’s Division 1 quarter-final in Ennis but were reeled in by the hosts, who made it 10 wins from 10 this year.

“Our subs are putting pressure on themselves to make an impact when they’re called upon. I think you saw that; lads came in and did a super job,” said Dillon.

“They weren’t just happy filling a gap, they wanted to make an impact and make their names count. I thought they were fantastic when they came in and they gave us a real lift. It shows the development and the maturity within the squad over the last few years. There are a few more leaders and we’re not going to die away.”

After running Kilkenny close in Nowlan Park twice last spring, Dillon says Clare have no hang-ups about facing them in Semple Stadium in Sunday week’s semi-final.

“We played them last year down to Nowlan Park twice in the space of two weeks and there was still only a puck of a ball in it between the teams. We don’t fear playing Kilkenny; we know they are the benchmark but I think they bring the best out in our players. There’s a great experience in the squad even though we’re a relatively young team.”

Clare’s start to the year resembles Waterford’s of last season but Dillon isn’t going to draw parallels. “It’s not for us to dwell on comparisons between teams. We just focus on ourselves and we look forward to going back into our own bubble when we’re training.

“We don’t let outside influences dictate what we do in training or how we prepare for games. We take each game as it comes and it happens to be Kilkenny the next day and you can be guaranteed we’ll be ready.”

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Here’s a little extra sport. Watch the latest BallTalk for the best sports chat and analysis.


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