The crowds may have been missing from Thurles last weekend but the roar from the Tipperary management and squad at the full time whistle almost made up for it.
For Clare, it was a stony grey silence which mirrored the skies overhead while the heavy rain which started to fall did little to improve the mood.
For a brief moment, Clare boss Colm Collins stood still with his hands in his coat pockets as he tried to make sense of the near 80 minutes of action which had just unfolded.
By any standards, it was one of the most abject performances of his seven year tenure but yet in a manner befitting the strange world we live in, by his own admission, it was a game Clare almost stole at the death.
“The ironic thing at the end of it all was that the game could have been stolen and stolen would have been the correct word for it. The penalty was a brilliant save and (Evan) Comerford guessed right so there was nothing we could about that, and there was nothing wrong with the penalty. Without question, there was an opportunity to steal it” he said.
A period from the 25th to 55th minute yielded a return of just 0-3 for Clare, with Tipperary landing 1-6 in the same timeframe. It was a game they were always chasing after the concession of an early goal, and the manager bemoaned the fact that a lot of his sides ills were of their own making.
“Defeat is nothing new to me or anyone else involved in Clare football but I think what you would be most disappointed with is the performance. I don’t think we did ourselves justice and that is the real disappointment. After a very short period of time we started making really silly errors and we were penalised with two green flags because of silly mistakes and those type of things just cannot happen. You cannot make mistakes like that in front of your own goal and expect to get away with them, and unfortunately that is what happened. There are certain key performance indicators that we look at and one of those is keeping the ball. Conditions were poor but it was the same for both teams and a lot of our turnovers were unnecessary. We were struggling to win our kickouts, struggling to get in winning breaks and that absolutely killed us” he said.
Whether Collins decides to extend his tenure in charge to an eight year remains to be seen in the coming weeks, while there might also be talks of some of the outstanding stalwarts of that time hanging up the county jersey. For now, Collins feels 2020 has been a difficult but positive year overall and is hopeful 2021 will bring renewed hope, however the next few weeks play out.
“It is great to be still in Division Two, particularly in the context of the way things are going next year. Please God we will be a better team next year again if things get back on schedule” he stated.