After clearing away the cobwebs in May, the summer starts here for Clare’s flagship hurlers when completing their National League campaign against Dublin and Kilkenny in the space of seven days.
That’s the view of former Clare captain Frank Lohan, who after successfully soldiering together for Clare for over a decade (1995-2006) including two All-Ireland titles in 1995 and ’97, is back in the trenches alongside his older brother Brian as part of the Club Clare fundraising committee.
Clare have displayed a full mixed bag so far, with contrasting performances against Antrim and Laois sandwiching a good display with a bad finish against Wexford.
However, with the prospect of facing All-Ireland finalists Waterford now only three weeks away in the opening tie of the Munster Championship, gathering momentum over the next two Sundays will be significant according to Lohan junior.
“I think they’re building nicely towards the summer now. This league is very much an exploratory competition for the championship more so than any other year such is the condensed nature of the season. So after getting re-accustomed to playing matches again, it will be very interesting to see how they get on against Dublin and Kilkenny.”
Following a mid-league break last weekend, Clare will hope to hit the ground running in phase two with a tricky task away to Dublin in Parnell Park this Saturday (5.15pm) before hosting Leinster champions Kilkenny seven days later.
“If they can get results there, great. If they can get performances, even better but I think equally as important for Clare at least would be to try and stay relatively injury-free.
“It’s great to see some of the really talented lads coming through as well as seeing the likes of John Conlon and Colm Galvin back on the field. I suppose we can’t forget that they’re only back really six weeks at this stage and they’ve probably less than another four weeks to championship now.”
In order to help the hurlers and camogie squads prepare for the summer, Frank is one of the chief organisers of the Club Clare Celebrity Golf Classic which takes place in Trump International Golf Links in Doonbeg next Wednesday and Thursday.
“With such limitations this year, Club Clare decided to concentrate on two fundraisers, the supporters club and now the golf classic and supporters have really gotten behind both which is very heartening to see. The membership drive has been brilliant and it’s been a similar positive response to the golf classic as there are 70 teams coming to Doonbeg next week.
“We’ve also been backed by number of associate sponsors in Zurich, MD Sports, ALDI and Four Star Pizza along with a lot of other leading business people and companies in the county and beyond so it’s been a brilliant response really,” he said.
by Eoin Brennan