*Seamus Hayes speaking to Conor Dolan. Photograph: Veronica McMahon
Clare’s senior camogie side must overcome Westmeath on Saturday to avoid a relegation dogfight.
It comes off the back of a six point loss to Galway on Saturday, the confidence of the Tribeswomen growing from a fortunate second half goal according to Clare coach, Conor Dolan.
He told The Clare Echo, “We went in 5 to 4 down at half time and we had a good few chances but we left them. We dominated the first half. We started fairly well in the second half but they got a poxy goal, one of these where the ball got caught in the sun and ended up in the back of the net and Galway grew in confidence on that score. They got 2-2 in twelve minutes. We emptied the bench but unfortunately we had to finish the last fifteen minutes with fourteen players because Roisin Begley had to leave the field due to injury”.
Dolan continued, “You can’t fault the girls, they brought it back to a three point game before Galway tacked on the last few points. We got two good goals. Look they are on an upward curve, they are improving and they are learning every day and we are closing the gap but it takes that little bit more”.
Qualifying from the group was not the ambition for the Meelick man when he got involved with the Clare side, he admitted. “When I got involved two years ago I wasn’t thinking about just coming out of the group. It’s about trying to get to an All-Ireland final, that’s it plain and simple and if you are going to get there you have to beat the best. Yes the draw was tough, maybe if you got one of the weaker groups and built and built confidence up. We are after playing in two championships and losing to Tipp, Cork, Galway and Kilkenny in the last two years. They are the kingpins. They are the only teams that have beaten us in championship. If we are going to close the gap, we need to keep showing the same character that we showed today and a little bit more with it”.
Looking ahead to the team’s final group game which takes place on this Saturday, Dolan said, “if we don’t beat them we are in trouble, we are into a relegation dog fight. We have to refocus again and tear into it again on Saturday. It’s the same for every county, you have to go out and take every game that comes. It’s a quick turnaround but the mental strength of some of those girls is improving and improving the whole time. We proved that even with the five girls coming in off the bench they did not weaken the team whatsoever.
“Maybe we were a bit quick using the five and ending up having to play with fourteen for the last fifteen minutes but they showed good character to keep going and they did the same last weekend against Kilkenny. These are tough conditions, Galway had their five subs used with fifteen minutes to go. Hopefully we will knuckle down and get over Saturday and see where the future takes us after that,” he concluded.