*Dermot Coughlan. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

DERMOT COUGHLAN is among the Clare footballers assuming greater responsibility in the side and emerging as one of their leaders.

Kilmurry Ibrickane’s Coughlan has been part of the senior panel since he was a teenager, with twelve of last year’s panel exiting prior to the 2024 season, he has had no choice but to step up to the plate as one of Clare’s more experienced players.

Speaking following their five point win over Limerick on Saturday, Dermot highlighted the determination within the new-look squad. “We’ve a new group of players this year, a lot of lads left the panel last year for different reasons so we’re just concentrating on blooding these lads in and you can see from their performance there that they are delighted to put on the Clare jersey, everyone is putting in a performance and we’re eager to try get back up to Division 2 but again showing people that we’re delighted to play for Clare”.

Despite such a high turnover in personnel on the playing and management front, Coughlan said the transition has been plain sailing. “To be honest it has been seamless, the boys have made it easy, they’ve put in great work and effort, they are trying to implement new game plans and tactics, it has taken a few weeks and a few games for it to come into effect but you could see in the first half and second half some of the moves we’ve put together and some of the points we’ve got, it is all about putting in a performance over seventy minutes, we knew Limerick were going to be tough so we’re delighted to get out of here with two points”.

Clare’s run to date which is four wins from five games has not surprised Coughlan. “Every player is confident in the ability they have, we set out at the start of the year that we weren’t just there to make up the numbers and we wanted to put in performances, lads are showing they are good enough to play, to make the fifteen or twenty six, it is starting to show and the belief is coming game by game”.

A focus from Mark Fitzgerald and his management has been one bite of the cherry at a time as opposed to overall targets, Dermot said. “At the start of the year the boys were trying to drill into us that it is game by game, it’s two points on the board and that is the route we have been taken, we’re concentrating on putting in the performance and getting as many points as possible to see where it takes us”.

He added, “We’re taking it game by game, they’re going to be tough and tight games, we were unlucky against Westmeath but we got lucky against Offaly so we will try get two points on the board against Antrim”.

Among the group every player is determined to prove their worth in a leadership capacity, the wing forward stated. “Everyone in the starting fifteen and Clare twenty six is eager to be a leader, we’re all around the one age that we’re all leaders in a way. We’re eager to put in a performance as a group”.

Under the Colm Collins regime, Dermot’s role was more of an industrious wing forward whereas this year he is beginning to show his excellent score-taking ability at inter-county, a skill that followers of Kilmurry Ibrickane will have witnessed on several occasions.

Therefore it comes as no surprise that the twenty four year old is relishing the campaign so far. “When you’re winning games you’re going to enjoy the football, the boys in fairness to them Mark, James and Deccy have been great, they’ve given us a lease to play as much as we like and not be silly with the ball at the same time so we’re still trying to get used to it and we’re trying to put in a performance every day for the boys because they’ve been great for us”.

Antrim await in two weeks time, a game that Clare must prevail in to keep their chances of promotion alive when they make the long trip to Newry. “We’ll look ahead to Antrim first before we go to Newry, if we go up there with something to play for it will be great and we’d relish it”.

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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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