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*Brian Lohan. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

Brian Lohan has revealed he always felt a “responsibility” to take on the position of Clare senior hurling manager.

Unanimous support has been expressed from Clare GAA officials to Lohan receiving a three year extension as manager. This recommendation will be put before the clubs at the next County Board meeting.

Lohan is confident that clubs will ratify the decision of the County Executive, “there has been good enough support from the clubs since I got the job”. He added, “I was looking for a commitment for the three years and I’m happy to have got that from the Board”.

Speaking on Morning Focus, the Shannon man believed that the County Board made their decision in light of the management’s performance over the past two seasons with the view to further improvement over the coming campaigns.

He admitted that he felt an onus of responsibility to take on the position when he put his name forward in 2019. “Looking at it from my own perspective I would have liked to do it but there are responsibilities that you have to do some of these jobs which were done for me when I was playing. There is a little bit of expectation there that you have to take on these roles and try and improve things, sometimes they work out and sometimes they don’t, since I’ve gone in I’ve enjoyed it”.

Reflecting on Clare’s championship this year, the four-time All Star was of the view that luck was not on their side. “(We) Probably weren’t that lucky. Winning against Waterford, losing against Tipp, then being selected out of the hat and getting no bye in the qualifier, at that level the opponents are tough, it could have been an easier route but it was the route we got but I’d have to say there was not a word of complaint ever from the guys, we do feel that we are working with a brilliant group of guys”.

Competing in championships clouded by COVID-19 has not been easy for Clare’s hurlers, Lohan maintained. “From my playing days and that, there was a brilliant social aspect to hurling, being with your teammates and in a Clare set-up was brilliant from a playing and social aspect. Now it is different, you get your grub after the game with a plastic fork, eat it on your lap and go home, that’s the way it is for all the teams and it is a lot tougher”.

Clare’s hurlers are fully aware they only have a short window to play at an elite level, he said. “The biggest aspect is representing your county and the people of Clare, all our guys would be very conscious of that and they train exceptionally hard to do that as well as they can, during my time and before it they have been excellent ambassadors for the county”.

Time is proving to be the biggest challenge of the role, he admitted while referencing the amount of work undertaken with video analysis and nutrition in the modern game. “Hurling previously was all about moving the ball quickly and getting it up the field as quickly as you can, now it is more of a possession game but there is still a place for moving it as quick as you can but it can’t be as haphazard as it was in the past, there has to be a bit more thought going into the game, that is a challenge and you have to keep up with speed with what other counties are doing”.

Ongoing support from Clare’s fans was acknowledged by the Cratloe resident. “We’ve always had great support from the public, the clubs and the players, I’m not a fool, if that wasn’t there I wouldn’t be looking for the job. We had great support from a brilliant committee in Club Clare that have been excellent for us for the last couple of years, we’ve got great support from the general public as well, they appreciate we are trying to do a job and working as hard as we can. The Clare public appreciate that when you’re putting everything into it and somethings go against you, they are not on your back”.

Chairman of Clare GAA, Jack Chaplin said the decision to offer Lohan the three year extension was a simple one. “He was hampered with the COVID in the last two years, he has a three year spell to get things going and we’re looking forward to it immensely”.

He said the County Board was committed to doing everything it could to help Brian and the Clare team. “There’s no objectives, the one objective is we would love to be winning All-Irelands but you have to crawl before you walk, with COVID it was very restricted so hopefully things will go up and up”.

Chaplin added, “You could see it in the last game the way the team and Brian was applauded off, you could see the enthusiasm. It all looks very good for the future”.

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