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Gerry O C.

Gerry O C.

Gerry O'Connor satisfied with Clare's Allianz League start


ByCianO’Connell


Withfourpointspocketed,jointmanagerGerryO’ConnorissatisfiedandencouragedbythemannerinwhichClarehavecommencedtheAllianzHurlingLeague.

VictoriesoverbluebloodsTipperaryandKilkennyensureClareremainheartenedaheadofnextSunday’sinterestingCusackParktussleagainstCork.

WithBallyeainAIBAllIrelandClubChampionshipactionClare’soptionswererestrictedinthespringlastyear,butO’ConnorisdelightedwiththeBannerpanelin2018.

PaulFlanaganandJamieShanahanrecentlyreturnedtotrainingwithO’ConnoracknowledgingthatClarehaveastrongerhandtoselectfromcomparedto12monthsago.

“Yeah,andastheFitzgibbonhasadvancedandnowgottothefinalstagemoreandmoreofourplayersarecomingbackintofulltrainingfromFitzgibbonduty,”O’Connoradmits.

“PaulFlanaganandJamieShanahanhavenowreturnedtotrainingafterlongterminjuries.Wereallyareonlydownafewguys;CianDillonistravelling,hewillbebackinMarchandAaronCunninghamisgonefortheyearandAronShanagherhasanACL.

“Weonlyhavethreeorfourguysnotavailablefortrainingorselection.ThebiggestheadachewearegoingtohaveistryingtopickourteamfornextSunday.

“UptothisbetweenguysbeingrestedasaresultoftheFitzgibbonandguysbeinginjuredlongtermitwasn'tthatdifficultachallengetopicka26andpickyourteam.ItwillbeafarmoredemandingandinterestingpropositiontopickateamforSunday.”

In Nowlan Park Clare finished strongly with O’Connor delighted by the resilience the visitors demonstrated late on when demanding questions were being posed.

“If you look back on the Kilkenny game we made a fantastic start and we played really good hurling,” O’Connor recalls.

“In the second half Kilkenny came back at us as you would expect them to come back at you. The most pleasing aspect for us was that performance in the last 10 or 15 minutes.

“When Kilkenny piled on the pressure, got it back to a two point game, we were able to control the game, hold our shape in a positive enough way to see out the game and to get a result.”

Cork are next on the agenda for Clare and O’Connor believes the Banner County are moving in the right direction ahead of what promises to be a gripping summer of hurling action.

“It is our last home game, possibly, in the National League until we play in the Championship,” O’Connor says.

“The big thing for us is that we have put two good performances together and we would like to think based on what we have seen on the training pitch with the coaches and the rest of the management team over the past two weeks that we are ready again to build on the performances that we gave against Tipperary and Kilkenny.

“We just feel we are ready to give another top class performance again on Sunday.”

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