*John Maughan. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

JOHN MAUGHAN is already considered a God in Clare football circles but his latest prediction may endear even further to the big ball enthusiasts in the county.

Manager of the Clare side crowned Munster champions in 1992, Mayo native Maughan returned to Cusack Park on Sunday. He was in the Offaly dugout and not the home side’s as the Division 2 Allianz National Football League began with a nine point win for Clare.

Maughan reflected, “We received a costly lesson there today. There was a huge difference in conditioning. Clare are a very, very settled side and have survived in Division 2 for seven or eight seasons and it looks like they will survive again because they have a lot of quality”.

This was evident while preparing for the opening round fixture, he said. “I would have known that as I’ve watched quite a number of videos of them in the last few weeks so I recognise the talent they have and the depth of talent off the bench as well. So we struggled against that today and I think five points in the first half wind-assisted was not a sufficient return and we knew we’d be under pressure. It is what it is, it’s going to be a battle, there’s no question about that. The games will be coming thick and fast and that begins next Sunday at home to Derry”.

Conceding a goal netted by Darragh Bohannon of Shannon Gaels in the opening two minutes of the second half was costly, he noted. “They picked up a couple of frees there that kept them in touch and then after half-time we gave away a soft goal, a kind of fortuitous enough goal that was poorly defended from our perspective. It’s a school day, a learning curve for us as this is a young team with a lot of young lads coming through from the Under 20’s that will take a bit of time to learn their trade at this level.

“So we might well take one step forward and then two back before we are able to become a seasoned and battlehardened team. Look, there is a future because we have a lot of Under 20’s coming through but it will take time as a lot of them are only 18, 19, 20 years of age. But it is what it is and we’ve just got to pick it up next week again,” he added.

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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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