*Adam Hogan. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

CLARE are treating Saturday’s Allianz National Hurling League final as their sixth game rather than a final.

FBD Semple Stadium will host the meeting of Clare and Kilkenny on Saturday evening. Clare are chasing their first league title since 2016.

For Clare this is very much next game up, corner back Adam Hogan explained. “We are not really looking at this as a league final. It’s game number six in the league campaign and that is how we are approaching it. Brian’s (Lohan, team manager) approach all year has been to win each game we play and this is the next one”.

Adam will be chasing his second piece of silverware already in 2024 having played a pivotal role on the Mary Immaculate College side crowned Fitzgibbon Cup champions. “It was great to win the Fitzgibbon and to beat our neighbours U.L. in the final They were going for three in a row,” he said.

This year’s league has been used by Clare’s management to trial more players than in previous campaigns. It has led to increased competition for places with Adam battling with Rory Hayes, Paul Flanagan and Conor Leen for a corner back spot.
“There is huge competition for places in the Clare team. There is so much depth in the panel that you must be on form at every training session as lads are putting their hands up for inclusion and with more lads coming back from injury everyone knows that they must be playing well to hold on to the jersey. There is competition for every position on the field. That there is such competition for places is good for the team”.

Repeating that their approach to Saturday’s final is that it’s another game in the league he admitted that, “it was nice to overcome Kilkenny in the group stage but they will present a different challenge this week and we will have to be at 100% to get a result”.

Saturday’s contest will be a benefit to Clare in advance of their Munster championship opener against Limerick on April 21st, the Feakle defender maintained. “If we were not in the league final we would probably be playing a challenge against one of the Leinster championship teams. It’s better to be in a competitive game and you couldn’t really get better than against Kilkenny”.

Although the championship encounters with Limerick and Cork are edging closer, Adam insisted that they are not going to look beyond this weekend’s meeting with Kilkenny, just yet.

Hogan told The Clare Echo, “We look at ourselves mostly, look at what we can do to improve. We have great training sessions with lads fighting for places. The competition for places is really hot and that is showing this year. Lads have to put their best foot forward at each session. As I said earlier, Saturday’s game against Kilkenny is the next game in the league and we must put our best foot forward if we are to record another win. When Saturday’s game is over we will turn our attention to the next game”.

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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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