*Brian McNamara in action. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

SINCE he delivered a man of the match performance against Kerry in last season’s Munster under 20 semi-final, the name of Brian McNamara has been regularly mentioned as a player who will feature regularly for the county’s senior side at midfield.

With the retirement of Cathal O’Connor coming shortly after that of Gary Brennan, both of whom were such key players for Clare at midfield over the past decade, it didn’t come as any surprise when McNamara was identified as one of the replacements.

On Sunday he again showed that he has a lot to offer the county side, kicking two good points and helping set up some scores for the team. He has partnered Gavin Murray in the middle of the park for all four of Clare’s outings, Murray’s clubmate Darren O’Neill was another to bow out from the panel at the end of last year.

His second point which came in the opening seconds of the second half put down a marker. He fielded possession from the throw in, raced through the middle and fisted the ball over the bar, sending out a message to the visitors that Clare were determined to build on the seven point lead they had taken to the interval.

Speaking to The Clare Echo following Clare’s third win of the league, Brian outlined, “We knew coming in that they weren’t going to be easy, we knew what way they were going to play and we knew we had to mind the ball and be patient. Once we got our game plan going it worked very well”, he said after the team’s latest win.

“Today we finished the first half strong and we were in an unfamiliar position from our recent games going in at half time. We still knew we had to come out for the second half and keep driving it on, keep doing what was working”, the Cree student added.

He acknowledged that this season has been “a step up for most of us as it is our first season in the senior squad. It’s a big step up but it’s a great opportunity at the same time and everyone is embracing it”.

The approach to date has been to focus on the next game. “We are just taking it game by game and now the focus is on Limerick and we will try to get two points. Games are coming hot and fast, it’s a six day turnaround now and the focus turns to that game now. It’s never easy against Limerick”.

McNamara believes “there is a good squad there, different lads are coning on every day and pushing for places. Training is going well and we are getting more back every day. Lads are getting to know each other’s play and there were a lot of good team scores today”.

Kicking off the week, Brian turned 21 on Monday but he’ll begin to sharpen focus towards Limerick once the candles are blown out. “There isn’t much between the teams in this division, it’s game by game and the management are using the panel and you need the panel in the modern game. The focus for this week is on Limerick and the aim is to pick up another brace of points”.

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Subscribe for just €3 per month

If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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