*A disappointed Colm Collins on the sideline in Semple Stadium. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill
When it came to championship preparations the Clare footballers got it wrong according to senior manager Colm Collins.
Collins was, understandably very disappointed with Sunday’s result but he was more disappointed with the team’s performance.
“We played very poorly, it was just one of those days. We didn’t perform and the lads are very disappointed. It’s a knockout championship and that’s the end of our season,” the Cratloe clubman told The Clare Echo.
Early goals conceded at the beginning of the first and second half “proved crucial,” he believed. “They came from our errors and that was bad on our behalf and we are very disappointed with that, We pride ourselves in keeping possession but we were turned over far too often in this game. It’s absolutely crucial to hold possession. In fairness conditions contributed to that in this tie. We were also guilty of poor decision making. Overall, it was one of those days”.
There was no argument from Collins that Tipperary were deserving winners. “Our lads are very disappointed. There are no qualifiers this year, it’s a strange championship. We went out to do our best but it just wasn’t our day”.
However the long-standing manager felt “the game was there for us. While we are awfully disappointed with our display, we could still have won the match. We were guilty of a lot of simple errors and in knock out football mistakes are magnified. We fought back strongly and we played with great urgency in the closing period and we could have snatched it. It just wasn’t to be. It was not one of our better days”.
Recent League encounters with Fermanagh and Armagh did not contribute to a sluggish Clare display, Colm said. “I felt that those games were ideal preparation for the championship tie. Okay, in a normal year you would probably have had at least two weeks ahead of the championship but I won’t give the league ties as an excuse for this display”.
Despite the disappointment Collins believes that “Clare football is in a good position. It’s good to be playing in division 2 and next year coming up against teams like Mayo can only be good for football and good for the young lads coming through. There is decent talent there”.
“We had a tough time picking a panel. To be fair to the fellas that didn’t make the panel for this game, it was a difficult decision. We never got a full game in training. We didn’t get things right, that was the championship we were dealt. Please God all of these young players will come through. There are plenty of reasons to be optimistic”, he concluded.