There were ups and downs a plenty in Clare and Galway’s drawn All-Ireland SHC semi-final, the Tribesmen started the better but it looked like the Banner were rising at the right time and their captain Patrick O’Connor thought they had the game.
Tubber’s O’Connor felt Aron Shanagher’s goal was going to be the turning point in pushing Clare to their ninth ever All-Ireland SHC final appearance. “I thought we had it and John went through then and I was just waiting for the net to bulge but it didn’t. Those are the things that happened and it’s all about reacting.
He added, “We came here to beat Galway and we didn’t, looking back on the game and the spectacle hurling was the big winner, some outstanding performances from individuals on both sides. Galway are an exceptional team, we’re trying to reach their level, we’ll go back look at it and learn a few things”.
With ninety three minutes of hurling played, Patrick points to Donal Tuohy as an example of the effort put in by all players on the field. “When your goalkeeper goes down with cramp you know it’s been a stressful evening, sore bodies, lads were cramping, it’s just a sign of the conditioning of both teams. Knowing our setup and what the lads have done with us you couldn’t speak highly enough of them to drag so many bodies through ninety minutes of an All-Ireland semi-final”.
In defence, the presence of Colm Galvin as a sweeper allowed Clare to slowly settle into the game following a poor opening quarter. “Credit again when they knew to bring him out because he played a lot of hurling around the middle as well, it was a balancing act, credit to Colm for the way he played it, he knew what to do and did it exceptionally well, we had ninety minutes to look at each other we’ll know an awful lot about each other and I’m sure next weekend won’t disappoint,” O’Connor said of the Clonlara man’s influence on the game.
Clare’s composure was critical to them staying in the game according to the corner back but he lamented their first halves in both normal and extra time as instances in which their standards dropped.
“The key was composure, there was no panic. We analysed how we would get at Galway but you have to hand it to Galway they started like a train on fire but we came into it, we’re in the last four now and teams in it will have their purple patches and we felt we made our purple patches count and they made theirs count. The one at the start was a disappointment and the first half of extra time, we were wasteful in those two periods”.
*Photograph: Martin Connolly