*Áine O’Loughlin. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

Clare camogie’s joint senior team captain Aine O’Loughlin believes that the squad “have learned a lot from being in a tough group in the league. We know where we are at, we know our structure better and we are better prepared”.

Speaking to The Clare Echo ahead of Clare’s opening game in the All-Ireland championship on Saturday, Áine noted that they are beginning their campaign with two “massive games”.

The hero of last year’s Clare senior camogie championship final when she drilled a last minute 20m free to the net to see Truagh/Clonlara win their first county title said, “we have a new team this year, a lot of young players had to step up and a lot will be starting for the first time in the senior championship. They are well able to live up to what we are expecting and we will be going into Saturday’s game with all guns blazing”.

The teacher who recently graduated from Mary Immaculate College in Thurles went on to recall last year’s meeting with Down. “It was a very warm day and they were a very physical team. We know what they are going to be like, we got nothing easy last year and we expect that to be the case again this year. We got a late goal last year to win it. It will go down to the wire but hopefully we are well prepared”.

Commenting on the fact that Clare will play five group games in the competition in six weeks the Truagh/Clonlara player said “we are heading into a very busy few weeks and it will be about getting the bodies right after each match for the next fixture. We are starting out with two massive games and we will be looking for wins in those. We know what we have to do”.

Áine continued, “the fitness is where it needs to be, we have the training done, three to four times a week with field work and gym. All we can do now is go out and perform. The opening game is vital, we want the best start possible and we only have a win on our minds. Three teams will qualify from the group for the knock out stages and we do fancy our chances”.

For now, “the focus is on the inter county scene. We had a great year last year with the club and we will get back to that when the county campaign is over. The focus right now is on Saturday’s meeting with Down”, she concluded

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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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