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Brian Lohan, Clare manager on the sideline late on during their Munster Senior Hurling Final at Thurles exhorting his charges to one final effort. Photograph by John Kelly

Brian Lohan: ‘That’s sport, it’s tough, but it’s life’

There was pride and loads of it, but after the fall and after coming out on the wrong side of a hurling epic it was hard to find some words to explain the depths of Clare’s disappointment. 

The hurt; the regrets, because there’s always more than a few in any losing dressing room.

But Brian Lohan stepped out to talk the talk — as a player he had no truck for losing and as a manager, he’s the very same. It cuts to his core, as a man, as a hurler and as a manager. 

Munster finals are for winning — he won three of them as a player and wanted this one for his players.

He wanted it as badly as he wanted it when he had number three on his back, when Munster finals had all their distinct motivations — to beat Limerick in ’95 for that first one; Tipperary two years later because they were whipping boys no more; Waterford in ’98 in a reply when people thought Clare had gone soft with their all their success.

Now with the bainisteoir’s bib on his back, it was back to the well for more and though that well eventually ran dry after 90 minutes, and whatever injury time was thrown into the mix, it was a Herculean hurling effort. The words didn’t flow, because losers’ words rarely do, but he more than gave the players their due.

The pride

“It’s disappointing for everyone inside there, what can I say,” he began.

“We have a great bunch there; they work really hard, they train really hard; they devote their lives to playing for the county and their clubs as well. They’re an exceptional bunch; they give everything; they’re very committed and work exceptionally hard. 

“We are in a privileged position to be able to represent the county — we really appreciate the support. They give their all any time they go out and we couldn’t ask for any more. Unfortunately it wasn’t good enough. It’s disappointing for them that they didn’t get the reward, but that’s hurling,” he added.

The fall

“It was a tough way to lose a game, that’s the nature of sport and the nature of hurling. This is a great place to be; it’s a great occasion; there was great support from our supporters — it was brilliant and there’s nothing easy out there; it’s tough stuff. We came down here to win the game but we just didn’t do it. That’s sport, it’s tough but it’s life. That’s the breaks; that’s just the way it is and you have to move on.” 

The regrets

“They got one goal chance and took it — we probably got one and didn’t take it. At this pitch of sport and this pitch of hurling when you’re up against that kind of team it’s tough.”

The future

“We are still in the championship alright. We put a lot of effort into the Munster Championship; we were talking about it all year so we’ll see what happens from here.

“The consequences of the game and the consequences of the result, we don’t know what effect that is going to have now, but we’ll take a look at it.

“It puts us under pressure for the next two weeks — to recover from that mentally and physically. We have to get ourselves tuned for two weeks’ time; we’ll see how that goes.”

One thing for sure is that they will go again. And again, because it’s what they do.

Brian Lohan the player knew no other way; Brian Lohan the manager knows no other way. It couldn’t be any other way. Until the next day.

About Joe O'Muircheartaigh

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