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*Stan Lineen offloads as Jamie Fitzgibbon closes in. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

A Crusheen side in transition are experiencing ‘difficult lessons’ at the senior grade, manager Kevin Sheehan admitted.

Defeats to Cratloe and Ballyea have the 2010 and 2011 champions in dire need of a win when they meet Broadford in the final round of the Clare SHC in two weeks time.

Reflecting on their latest loss, a 2-21 0-15 defeat to his native Ballyea, Kevin Sheehan was left frustrated with their final quarter showing considering the sides were level at half-time. “Everything that was going well for us seemed to turn on its head and we didn’t get a look in to the third quarter. Unfortunately that’s the way it goes. It was lot of experience against a lot of young fellas. That’s a real hard learning fifteen minutes for us”.

“It’s a young Crusheen team and they are learning but unfortunately at this level it’s not easy, Cratloe and Ballyea are at the top table in this county but at the same time we are still disappointed that the plan was working so well and then just seemed to get thrown off the table completely. Ballyea dictated everything that went on in that third quarter,” the 2016 Clare SHC winner stated.

Vast improvements are required if they are to trouble Broadford, Sheehan said. “Things get even more serious now and Broadford becomes a massive massive game. We have to put this behind us and really have a cut out of the next two weeks because it doesn’t get easier. Broadford stayed with Ballyea for sixty minutes and we only did thirty so we have a bit to find”.

Ballyea manager, Robbie Hogan was in agreement that the third quarter changed the course of the game. “They call the third quarter the moving quarter. It was ding dong in the first half but we got a bit more shape in the third quarter. They had a lot of wides and missed chances and they can drain the energy out of you”.

Hogan confirmed that the decision to substitute Clare defender Jack Browne was due to a hamstring injury. “We thought it was a bit safer to replace him for the second half. You would be looking at six to eight weeks so we decided to pull him. For all their dominance we were still in the game and we took heart from that”.

While maintaining an unbeaten championship run, the Ballyea boss was also pleased to see more players impressing at the grade. “Mossy Gavin has been shining at training and all through the Clare Cup, he has played every game in the absence of the county lads. He is a good lad and he is in good company there, Aaron Griffin also had a great game. We have two from two and we can’t look any further than that it’s a good position. We will continue to take it game by game”.

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