Clare joint manager Donal Moloney was clear-eyed and analytical after yesterday’s Munster hurling final.
Asked if Cork had been the better team, he instantly converted the question to a definition.
“If you convert your chances you’re the better team, and they converted their chances. We didn’t.
“Unfortunately we had two goal chances, we got one and hit the woodwork, but they scored some excellent points, particularly when we got close to them. Fair play to them.
“The difference? Their ability to finish their chances versus ours.”
Moloney did rue some of his players’ shot selection, though he didn’t feel Clare lost because their forwards lost the physical battle.
“That wasn’t the plan, the boys inside are well able to win ball, irrespective of physicality. That wasn’t the reason.
“We probably elected to take shots from out the field that we’d normally expect to go over, whether it was the wind or what I don’t know, but we didn’t convert a lot of them, and in one period midway through the second half we had three or four in a row.
“We’re not out at all, definitely. We’re hugely disappointed because we wanted this victory. Those boys will be hurting hugely, as will the management team. We’re not into moral victories or people saying we played well. I appreciate that gesture but it’s meaningless to the team.”
When Conor McGrath goaled for Clare and Tony Kelly added a point the difference between the sides was two points: Moloney credited Cork with responding well.
“We were driving on, and we probably missed some opportunities to get back level. Credit Cork, they were under pressure and they hung in there, worked the ball very well. We will pick it up, absolutely. We’ll be disappointed, we’ll have a chat this evening and regroup tomorrow, and we’ll go again.”
Clare substituted some big names yesterday, including Podge Collins, but Moloney expects them to be “absolutely driven” for the coming weeks.
“They’re the guys I expect to have to get out of their way in the next two weeks. They’ll be absolutely driven, they’ll be hurt over getting taken off. It’s not about getting taken off, this is a 20-man game. Every man puts in his shift. Jason McCarthy came on and played well, Cian Dillon, Cathal Malone, in his first game, he was superb.
“We’ve a lot of great players and being part of a team, you put personal disappointment to one side if you’re taken off and you do whatever you can the next day you come into training.”
Moloney acknowledged Tony Kelly’s good form was a positive for Clare, but said the Banner have “more in them”.
“He was never very far away from form, a few things didn’t go right against Limerick and a few people were writing his obituary, but today he did a lot of things right. He had 100% success from frees, which was excellent. Tony’s a super guy.
“The penalty, that could have been another opportunity for us but we didn’t take it. But Tony is flying.
“Some of the match-ups we got right, but they probably got some of the match-ups right as well. But at this level every team have five or six players who are different, they have an X-factor quality. Cork have four or five of them and even though Conor Lehane was tied up, others stepped up. That’s the reality.
“We have a lot of boys with the X factor who played well as well, but there’s more in them.”
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