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*Clare manager, Brian Lohan. Photograph: Joe Buckley

EXPECTATION WEIGHED on the shoulders of the Clare senior hurlers ahead of Sunday’s packed to capacity clash with Limerick and Banner boss Brian Lohan was satisfied that his charges delivered.

Speaking following Clare’s pulsating draw with Limerick, the second time the sides have finished all square this season, Lohan stated, “We are happy enough. There was a big crowd in Ennis, there was a little bit of expectation from our own supporters and we were probably under a little bit of pressure to make sure that the team didn’t disappoint them. I am happy enough that we performed to a reasonable level”.

Cusack Park welcoming such a large crowd brings with it an extent of pressure, the Shannon man outlined. “This place hasn’t been packed for a while and there hasn’t been as big a demand for tickets in a while. When you have that level of expectation you want to perform for the county. It was important for us to back up that level of expectation for the patrons that came today”.

“Looking at the stats, they were all very even. We conceded eleven frees each. It was up and down, we were ahead, they came back, they went ahead and we came back. Look there is a great bunch there, they work very hard and I am happy that they are getting some element of reward, the spirit is good. If you consider being in the Munster final a reward for the work we have done so far, it’s good that we are getting that reward,” Lohan said.

Playing at home will not be an advantage in Clare’s arsenal when they clash with Limerick in the provincial final, he noted. “You expect that (physicality) with Limerick, they are so intense and committed to the breakdown, committed to breaking ball, they are such powerful men, they are big guys too. You need a lot of conditioning to be able to handle that kind of intensity. Being in Ennis was an advantage to us and we are not going to have that anymore”.

Tony Kelly’s leadership was praised by the former full-back who also managed him at Fitzgibbon Cup level with UL. “We see it at every single training session. He is just a top guy in every area you look at. He has been like that for a long number of years. We had him in UL and every match he played he was man of the match. He is just phenomenal”.

He said management will review matters during the week before deciding whether or not to rest players for Sunday’s encounter with Waterford in Ennis.

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