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2019 Clare Minor Hurling manager Fergal Lynch.

Lynch aims to make up for 2014 disappointment

LAST year was a huge disappointment for the Clare senior hurlers, according to 2013 All-Ireland medal winner, now turned selector, Fergal Lynch.

“We didn’t perform last year and we will be trying to rectify that this year. We will be trying to win every league game,” he told The Clare Champion.

“The league is all about learning about players and how lads will react under pressure. There are eight or nine teams vieing for top position and every game is a championship game. The teams coming up from Division 1B are nearly as strong, if not as strong, as those that are in Division 1. The league will provide us with plenty of food for thought as we look at players and see how lads react,” the Clooney-Quin clubman said.

Lynch, who plays club football with Cratloe, is in his second season as a member of Davy Fitzgerald’s backroom team.
Acknowledging that there is a conveyor belt of players in Clare over the last couple of years, he noted, “There is a huge step up to senior and some of the lads have adapted very well. We had a chance to see some in action in the Waterford Crystal and we have yet to see others who weren’t available for that tournament, as they were involved with their colleges. The more players who are going well, the more competition there will be for places.”

He accepts that Clare have a tough opening to their league campaign.

“Pearse Stadium is a tough place to go and win, and so is Páirc Uí Rinn, where we will be for our second game but it’s good to get out of our own comfort zone and get to know how well players can react when playing in other venues. The only place we haven’t been for a while is Nowlan Park in Kilkenny and we will go there for the final game.”

This weekend’s clash with Galway in Salthill brings back memories of a very disappointing day for Clare hurling.
“There are six players on the panel, together with myself, who were involved when we last visited Galway and we would still have a bit of hurt from that and we are still embarrassed by that result. We will try and channel that to our benefit this week.”

He agrees that the championship is still the main target for all teams.

“Kilkenny and Tipperary were in the league final last year and they then went on to compete in the All-Ireland final. Teams set out in the league to prepare for the championship and a good league run certainly helps. Teams use the league as preparation and it’s the same for us.”

He said that Kilkenny “have an unbelievable team and they have been the best team over the last 15 years. You could say the same about Tipperary and they are a team that we are aspiring to overcome also. They were the best two teams last year and they have set a benchmark. The seven or eight teams below them are aspiring to get above them, so it all makes for a very competitive league.”

Concluding, he said Clare “have goals laid out and if we achieve those in the short-term, everything will work out”.

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