Former Clare manager Ger Loughnane has told the All-Ireland winners they won’t be considered a great team until they lift the Liam MacCarthy Cup again.
Addressing the squad at Friday’s medal presentation in Ennis, the two-time All-Ireland winning manager warned them of the “disease of success” and asked whether they would be “destroyed by the euphoria in Clare”.
He said: “No matter how much ye did this year — and you did brilliantly and we’re all terrifically proud — you will not be regarded as great unless you win again because now you are just on the first rung of the ladder of greatness.
“Now where is Tommy Walsh on that ladder? Where is JJ Delaney, not to mention Henry Shefflin? Where are all the great Clare players of the past? If you can surpass all of that, you can get right up there. If you do not let what is known as the disease of success overtake you and that disease is complacency.
“Complacency is a disease that affects you when you’re feeling good about yourself, about what you have done and you feel nobody else is ever going to surpass you. You were up there all summer long, you were up at the very top but I tell you now this evening, there are teams all over Ireland and they are training harder, they are training smarter than ever before and their aim is to down you. Simple as that.”
Loughnane believes Clare’s style of hurling in this year’s All-Ireland finals has set the benchmark “for many years to come”.
“The use of the ball, the creation of space was something that we didn’t think we’d see again in hurling because we felt hurling was going to be dominated by hugely physical teams.
“That was the big worry of so many people, that physicality would take over and that you’d need fellas who were 6ft4, 14, 15 stone, really aggressive players, to win an All-Ireland.
“Isn’t it very strange that at the start of this year one of the big pundits in RTÉ wrote that there was no more room for the Joe Deanes in hurling anymore?
“The next thing Clare come along with numerous Joe Deanes and produce a scintillating display in the drawn game and even surpassed that again (in the replay).”
The All-Ireland final replay win, Loughnane said, was his most satisfying day in Croke Park. He thanked the players for taking the mantle off him and the 1997 team — the last group from the county to claim the title.
“It removed a massive weight off my shoulders. If I’ve been smiling since the end of September it’s because of that.”
Meanwhile, Portumna’s Joe Canning has been named Galway’s senior hurling captain for next season with David Burke chosen by Anthony Cunningham as vice-captain.
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