*Brian Lohan congratulates Cathal Malone. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill
A refusal to relent and an unquestionable work ethic stood to Clare’s senior hurlers as they advanced to the semi-finals of the All-Ireland SHC.
Clare manager Brian Lohan believes that “we have a great bunch there, there are tremendous leaders all over the field and I’m really happy for them, to have got some reward for the effort they have put in, we have put in a huge amount of work”, he said shortly after the team’s latest victory in the 2022 championship.
“We were very disappointed to have been beaten in the Munster final. This competition it tough, there are no easy teams, whether in Munster or Leinster, any of the teams demand so much respect, they’re all working hard. It’s really tight margins and we are happy with our progress to date”.
The two time All-Ireland winning full back went on to say, “we were disappointed at half time, disappointed with how we approached the half, we probably could have been in a worse position. We started the second half well but things went against us a bit after that”.
Asked about management’s decision to replace Rory Hayes after just eight minutes he said “we just made a call, Cian Nolan has been performing very well in training and he did well in the matches he had played”.
When asked if it had been difficult to prepare for this game given the proposed suspensions for Hayes and Peter Duggan following the Munster final he said “we thought we had managed it well but you could see from the first half that we weren’t as tuned in as we should have been, Credit to Wexford, they got their tactics right and probably could have gone in at half time in a stronger position. We were happy enough to go in level. We thought we would be able to respond which we did but in the second half they got back on top of us and we had to come again, great credit to our lads. They are really hard workers”.
“After conceding a goal like that which left us six points down, we were in trouble, no getting away from it. It just meant that the buys we had on the field, they had to respond and we have got fairly good guys to respond,” the Shannon native said of the concession of their third goal.
Understandably he was pleased with the response from the bench. “It’s a real tough position for guys. They are all doing the same amount of work and they are all making the same commitments. We can only pick a panel of 26 and when it comes down to it we can only pick 15 to play. It’s always tough on the lads left out of the 26 and its always tough on the lads left out of the 15. They responded well, their attitude is brilliant, every single one of them their attitude is brilliant, credit to the whole panel”, he said.
Lohan continued, “we had put the lads under pressure that we were going to need a performance. We have really good young lads and then lads like Shan (Aron Shanagher) who wants to be on the first 15 and he gets frustrated when he is not on the starting fifteen. Every game stands to you. In your inter county career there are only so many times that you can play, only so many times that you can show how good you are, playing to a packed house in Thurles is when we needed to see guys and they did respond”.
Looking ahead he accepted that “there is another big challenge now and at this stage there are all quality teams in the race. It’s a big challenge, that’s something for the county to look forward to. We will look at that. The big challenge is trying to get right for the next challenge”, he concluded.