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*Eoin Cleary holds onto Kevin Fahey. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

Clare senior football captain, Eoin Cleary has backed Colm Collins to continue as manager of the county footballers.

Like all involved with the Clare panel, Cleary was very disappointed with Sunday’s performance at Semple Stadium which saw them exit the Munster SFC to Tipperary.

Speaking to The Clare Echo, the St Josephs Miltown clubman outlined, “It’s frustrating from a players point of view that we could not put in the performance that manager Colm Collins deserved”.

Despite Sunday’s loss Cleary believes that “Clare football is in a good place and that’s down to what Colm has put into it. Players owed him a performance. Things were at a lower base when he took over. We have been in a lot of big games since he was appointed as manager and we have got results against counties that Clare would not have beaten in previous years”, the Limerick based Garda said.

He is hopeful that Colm Collins will stay on as manager in what would represent his eighth season in charge. “He is the man for the job. A lot of the performances are down to him. He has something that few managers have and players really want to play for him. I would be hopeful that he will stay in charge and bring things on to another level”.

Their opponents were the better side on the day, he admitted. “Tipperary were definitely sharper. We expected a much bigger performance from ourselves but we, unfortunately didn’t see that. Tipperary were much better and we cant have any arguments”.

“We had two good league games which prepared us well for the championship and we also had a few challenge games. We felt we were well prepared and that we were going well. We were very flat and we are all very disappointed. This display is not what this team is about and its frustrating from that point of view”, said the team’s centre forward and scorer of three points.

Cleary continued, “Tipperary’s goals left us with a lot to do. They got scores at crucial stages and it took us a while to get our scores. It gave them a huge lift and we were chasing the game from earlier on which is not ideal in the conditions which prevailed.. The conditions were not ideal for championship but they were the same for both teams. We finished strongly and could have snatched something from the game. In the last ten minutes we came at them and created a few chances and took some of them. I am disappointed we could not bring that pace for the 70 minutes”.

Looking ahead the team captain believes that “Playing in Division 2 will always give us something. It was different this year. We didn’t get time to try new things in a training camp. We were against the clock this year, hopefully things will go back to normal next year. It’s great for the younger guys in the panel, playing in Division 2 has brought their game to a higher level”.

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