ONE of Clare’s short-term goals this year was to get promoted, according to team captain Cian Dillon.
“One is always looking at what can be achieved. Last Sunday week, we had a great result [victory over Limerick] and we are hoping to achieve the same this week,” the team captain told The Clare Champion.
“It will be a step up. Tipperary are a formidable outfit and they always perform very well but we are relishing the challenge. It’s massive to be at home again. There is always a great crowd and a superb atmosphere in Ennis. The game with Limerick was something special and, hopefully, it will be the same again,” the Crusheen man said.
“The injuries seem to be increasing, mainly due to wear and tear,” he said, going on to point out that the absence of regulars is providing other panel members with an opportunity to impress.
“Look at it from the other side, there is serious competition for places within the squad and when someone gets injured, guys step up to fill that place. It’s fantastic to look at what has happened and there is a chance again this week for lads to do the same.
“Winning is a habit and you want to be winning every game, especially at home. It would be great to win on Sunday and we will be looking to do just that and put in a performance that is worthy of a win. If it doesn’t happen, then we will have to focus on the championship game with Waterford in June.
“Tipperary, Waterford and Kilkenny are the top three at the minute. You are looking at those and trying to get to that platform and compete on any given day.”
Asked about the demands on players at present, with the domestic leagues underway, he said, “Players enjoy going back to their clubs. It’s great to go back and it can refresh lads as well. It’s a different type of set-up.”
In relation to the national league structure he said, “There probably should be a group of eight, which would make it more competitive. Players love playing games and having one every weekend but it can take a toll on the body.”
For now, the focus is on Sunday’s big game in Cusack Park.
“Tipperary have been very consistent; they have been in the latter stages of the All-Ireland championship regularly in recent times. We know what type of background they have and the quality they have and we have to be ready for that challenge on Sunday, especially on our own grounds,” he concluded.
By Seamus Hayes, sports editor