*Clare’s Ryan Taylor under pressure. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill
Player welfare was not an issue before Sunday’s clash between Clare and Laois in the midst of an orange weather warning in the eyes of Brian Lohan.
Lohan was unaware there was flashes of thunder and lightning in Cusack Park on Sunday before the contest and at half-time. “I didn’t see any lightning. I thought the pitch was in great shape. I was more worried about supporters than players if the wind had picked up or gusted. I didn’t think player welfare was an issue”.
Regardless of the conditions, the main objective was for another Clare win which kept their unbeaten record in the Allianz National Hurling League intact. The Shannon native felt the conditions were tough and pointed out, “it was hard to strike the ball, never mind score”.
He was happy with the contributions of several players, among them Wolfe Tones duo Aaron Cunningham and Aron Shanagher. “Laois kept a good few guys back but maybe it was a little bit easier for them in the first half with the sweeper, we were a bit more tuned into it and Aron Shanagher coming in was a big option for us in the air inside in the second half, it was easier to get ball in and make it stick”.
“Shane (Golden) at full-back, Cathal (Malone) at centre-back and Liam Corry in corner back, we were delighted with all of the backs. Aaron Cunningham coming back from being away for the last three years, it was great to see him start and go so well,” Brian added.
Nowlan Park on Sunday will be “a tough game,” he predicted. “Going to Kilkenny anytime is tough”. A win on the road would guarantee Clare a place in the knockout stages of the League.