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Clare Manager Brian O'Connell: “We could tell during the week and again this morning that there was much more energy in the camp. We probably tapered off our preparations after the Galway game and gave them plenty of rest as they were tired mentally and physically."

Clare minors’ sights on All-Ireland after return to winning ways


Their potential is unquestioned. Anyone that was in Páirc Ui Rinn or the Gaelic Grounds for their last two provincial outings can testify to that.

However, the fall-out from that devastating Munster Final penalty shoot-out against Tipperary was that Clare found it difficult to pick themselves off the floor against Galway.

Thankfully, any threat of a further spillover were quickly dismissed according to relieved minor manager Brian O’Connell immediately after their return to winning ways against Laois on Saturday afternoon.

“We could tell during the week and again this morning that there was much more energy in the camp. We probably tapered off our preparations after the Galway game and gave them plenty of rest as they were tired mentally and physically.

“So we were delighted that they were in good form this morning.

“Getting back to winning ways is brilliant for the confidence. No matter what sport you play, winning becomes a habit so it was important for us to dig out a result, no matter what.

“We had lost to both Tipperary and Galway over the past three weeks. Now for the Munster Final, you could have said that it was a draw but we lost on penalties so it’s still counted as a defeat. So had we lost three in a row today, it would have been hugely disappointing on the back of what’s been a very good year and therefore we’re delighted to get a win.”

That result puts Clare into an All-Ireland Semi-Final for the first time in a decade, with Leinster champions Offaly, backed by a flawless five match record, the opponents on Friday at Semple Stdium.

“We’ve been on the road for a while now and have been fairly busy over the past two months so we plan to just freshen up this week and then have a right good crack at Offaly. They obviously beat Laois in the Leinster Final and will be primed and ready to go so we’ll have to be at our best to match them.”

That penultimate stage showdown will be Clare’s eighth championship match, with none of the other semi-finalists (Offaly, Tipperary and Galway) even coming close to that number of outings.

“It’s unbelievable. For such young lads, they’ve experienced so many different things this year. They’ve had ups and downs, have had to travel to Cork and Galway and also played in a Munster Final.

“I mean some lads would be 22 or 23 years of age before they would have experienced what these lads have in the last few months.

“Obviously getting an eighth championship match is huge but it’s also an All-Ireland Semi-Final at the end of the day so wouldn’t it be great to finish this year in an All-Ireland Final.”

That would put the Banner on cloud nine.

About Eoin Brennan

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