*Diarmuid O’Donnell. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

BACK TO BACK victories is the target for Clare’s footballers as they continue their bid for promotion, their match-winner against Offaly has said.

It was a Allianz National Football League debut to remember for Diarmuid O’Donnell in Glenisk O’Connor Park on Sunday.

Introduced with forty four minutes on the clock, the Kildysart attacker would finish the tie as Clare’s top scorer after contributing 1-2 from the bench and has certainly put up his hand up for a first-ever National League start this weekend.

Speaking to The Clare Echo, Diarmuid joked that his tally “wasn’t bad”. He said, “It’s the end result more than anything else that you would be delighted with, we weren’t very happy with the first half, I only came on inside the second half but we upped the effort at half time, we reset and started to focus again to push it on, the lads who came in made a serious contribution”.

From watching the opening half, he felt it was the final part of each sequence that was letting Clare down. “We were getting into a lot of positions but our end product was just a small bit sloppy, with the breeze it was a tough task for the lads but when we came on, it was easier with the breeze, it was about being clinical and cutting down on the silly mistakes”.

Patience is a word commonly shouted from the sidelines by gaelic football coaches towards players on the ball in the modern game. For O’Donnell, he had to be patient in the traditional sense in waiting for his opportunity to impress in the National Football League. “It is only my first year in and I’m only delighted to get on, everyone from number one to thirty six is putting in a savage effort, it is a pleasure to get on, to put on the Clare jersey and get a score at the end of it was even better”.

Having raced into an early 0-02 0-00 lead on three minutes, Clare allowed Offaly to take control of the tie and it was the impact from the sideline from O’Donnell, Éinne O’Connor, Cormac Murray and Tom McDonald that assisted in turning things around.

For Diarmuid’s goal on seventy minutes which put Clare on level terms, it was Murray that provided the assist and O’Donnell’s finish was a volley akin to a set piece finish that would fall into place for Kildysart Celtic were they to make a revival. “Tony McMahon will probably have something to say about that with Kildysart Celtic, we threw a leg at it and at that stage in the game once it in it didn’t matter who connected with it at the end”.

Securing their victory in the dramatic fashion of clawing their way back from nine points down can stand to Clare, Diarmuid maintained. “We’ve Wicklow at home and then we’re in Rathkeale for the Limerick game the week after so it’s to get back on the horse, get recovery in, gym on Tuesday night, training Wednesday and Friday and everyone getting ready again to try get another win at home”.

O’Donnell’s involvement even saw him nab the headlines from his clubmate Emmet McMahon for a change. “Ah look, it’s nice to steal it from Emmet for once but I’m sure there’s no fear he’ll be taking the headlines again”.

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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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