*Wolfe Tones defender, Sam Meaney. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

WOLFE TONES are bidding to get their season back on track when they do battle with Cratloe on Saturday.

Eleven points separated Wolfe Tones from Clooney/Quin in their first outing of the Clare SHC and the Shannon side must get back to winning ways this weekend if they are to reach the quarter-finals for the third successive season.

That is exactly the same target for their opponents Cratloe who are looking to bounce back from a nine point loss to Newmarket-on-Fergus.

Both clubs had successful outings when it came to football over the weekend, Wolfe Tones accounting for O’Currys in the Clare IFC while Cratloe’s experience shone in seeing off Lissycasey in Group 4 of the Clare SFC.

Speaking following their first round loss, Wolfe Tones boss Conor Dolan stated, “We’re disappointed mostly because we feel that we didn’t perform to the standards that we know we can do. Credit to Clooney/Quin for a lot of that but we had been moving along nicely leading up to the game and started grand but they seemed to let one or two mistakes get to them and Clooney capitalised fully with six points in a row in that period midway through the first half.

“So we went twelve or thirteen minutes without a score with a strong wind behind us. Now we did have a few chances at goal but in fairness to Clooney, their work-rate was immense and were full value for their win being honest,” he added.

Dolan felt the big difference between the Tones and Clooney/Quin was how they executed their particular systems. “We had a fairly similar system to Clooney but they implemented theirs to perfection I thought and even with the guys that they are missing, they’re going to be serious contenders. Tommy [Corbett) probably wouldn’t want me talking them up but Clooney are after laying down a marker this evening and as we’ve seen from results so far, this championship is wide open for whoever wants it most”.

Meelick native Conor was adamant a win this weekend will see Wolfe Tones roar back into contention. “There’s an awful lot to be played for in the next round. Whoever wins between Clooney and Newmarket will be almost in a quarter-final but whoever can win the Wolfe Tones v Cratloe game, their championship is right back on track again. So it is a must win and between now and then, it’s about getting the balance right and the work-rate up and it all have to take our determination from here on in”.

Reflecting on their first round defeat to Newmarket-on-Fergus, Cratloe manager John O’Gorman noted, “We got off to a bad start with a goal coming so early on. Coming just after the throw-in, it kind of surprised everyone but to be honest we never really recovered from it. It took us 15 minutes to make up the ground and try to get to grips with the game again but then came the second goal just before half-time that really put the dampner on us.

John O’Gorman. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

“Look, there’s no doubt about it, on the day, Newmarket were the better, hungrier team. We did have chances to change things. Shane Neville came thundering up the field late in the first half but the shot was saved while Podge [Collins] had an earlier chance too that was cleared of the line. On days like these, you have to take those chances, they outfought us on the day and de-served their win. We’ve just got to regroup now quickly. There’s plenty of experience in that dressing room. We’ve been here before and we’ve lost first rounds but it does mean that every game from here on in is knock-out so we simply have to win our final two matches if we are to stand any chance of coming out of this group”.

O’Gorman added, “Wolfe Tones are up next so we’ll refocus on them while a lot of the lads have football this week-end so we’ll reassess who we have next week again for that game”.

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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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