*Gavin Keary, Donal Moloney & Gerry O’Connor on the sideline in Páirc Uí Rinn. Photograph: Martin Connolly
Although they conceded 1-11 in their second round victory over Kilkenny, Clare senior hurling joint manager Donal Moloney had expected their indiscipline to be a one-off heading to Cork at the weekend.
However instead of improving in this regard, Clare conceded more frees with Patrick Horgan firing over fifteen points from placed balls in Páirc Uí Rinn on Saturday evening. Speaking to reporters after the game, Moloney confirmed they would need to put a plan in place to reduce the amount of fouls going forward.
“We’re very pleased with some of our hurling, we played superb hurling for three quarters, some sublime play, we gave away a few frees, it wasn’t a problem for us last summer. It was a problem the last day against Kilkenny and again tonight, we’ll have to go and look at it, we didn’t think it was going to be a big issue, we’ll have to go and look as to why it is”.
He was satisfied with aspects of their display at both ends of the pitch. “There was some great play but the defence played well aswell, I wouldn’t like to single them out, they did some terrific hurling. All in all we scored 16 points from play”.
2013 was the last time Clare defeated Cork in the Rebel County and Donal maintained their counterparts were able to field a stronger side. “It isn’t an easy place to come, we started very well, Cork had brought back most of their players tonight so they are pretty much at full strength”.
Prior to the tie, Cork boss John Meyler demanded a performance from his charges and he was content with their effort. “I was looking for a performance and bit more honesty from the last game against Wexford and we got that tonight. In the first half, we were a little bit all over the place, our hurling wasn’t crisp or sharp enough, we were lucky to stay in the game, Seamus’ goal just kept us in the game and we stayed in it until half-time. We got in at half-time, Donal and Kieran spoke to the lads, we restructured and reorganised the team and came out better in the second half. Hoggy’s frees really paid dividend in the second half”.
On whether he was disappointed with a 1-05 return from play, Meyler stated, “This game is a results business, it is not about 1-05 from play, we can work on that, we have absolutely no hurling done in training and we will work on that and improve on it going forward. Next Sunday against Limerick is going to be difficult hard but we’re looking forward to it”.
He revealed Darragh Fitzgibbon would be given a lengthier break than his UCC colleagues once the Fitzgibbon Cup concludes given his club campaign with Charleville. John said one positive of so many players being involved in the third level competition was the opportunity it afforded to returning players like Jamie Coughlan, Aidan Walsh and Stephen McDonnell to get more game time.