*Clare’s Brian McNamara. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

A ‘slow start’ from Clare’s senior footballers left them with too much to do in their opening round defeat to Cork in the All-Ireland SFC.

Midfielder Brian McNamara lamented Clare’s opening half display when reflecting back on their 1-13 1-11 loss to John Cleary’s Cork in Cusack Park on Saturday. “When you’re playing the teams the quality of Cork you can’t afford to start as slow as we did. As soon as we started playing we started to match them but we just gave them too much at the start of the game. We’ve plenty to build on going to Omagh”.

Speaking to The Clare Echo, the Cree native was at a loss to find out what attributed to Clare’s below par opening half where they failed to score from play. “They did bring massive intensity to be fair, I can’t put my finger as to why we started so slow but we’ll have to sort that for the next day because we can’t do against the top teams around the place”.

UL student Brian continued, “We were playing more individually in the first half than we had during the year when we were getting good moves together but we were nearly going in ones which is what they wanted us to do and we had a massive amount of turnovers in the first half which hurt us a lot going backwards and we will have to work on that for the next day, move forward as a unit because we won’t get away with going in ones and twos against Cork, they only want you to bring it into contact”.

Currently on placement with Clare County Council, Brian was an interested onlooker in the gallery of Áras Contae an Chláir at the May meeting of the local authority during a heated debate where elected representatives questioned the removal of a briefing from Ennis 2040 Chief Operating Officer Kevin Corrigan from the meeting’s agenda. Such tenacity exuded by county councillors had it been displayed by the Clare footballers would likely have made matters more even in the opening half.

On the challenge posed by Cork, Brian explained, “You know when you’re playing Cork that it is going to be hard running and it is going to be physical and they brought that today, anytime they got the ball they were gone up the field, they don’t wait around”.

Matters improved from Clare in the second half with McNamara leading the charge straight away, once again winning the ball from the throw-in and charging forward to set up Daniel Walsh for Clare’s first score from play. “We can’t afford to be leaving it to the second half, we have to start from the word go the next day,” he outlined.

Tyrone and Donegal await Clare in their remaining Group 3 ties. “It will be very exciting to go up to Omagh and play Tyrone, they are the teams we want to be playing, we’re looking forward to it in two weeks time,” the Cooraclare footballer said.

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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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