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Brian Lohan: 'We feel we can get better'

Clare senior hurling team manager Brian Lohan. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Clare senior hurling team manager Brian Lohan. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

By Cian O'Connell

Encouraged after passing a test of character in a tight All-Ireland SHC Semi-Final, Clare manager Brian Lohan is now busy preparing for the decider.

Resilience was demonstrated at Croke Park on Saturday when Clare struck six points in a row late on to seal a satisfying success.

Initially, Clare had encountered real bother. "We didn't play well," Lohan reflected at a press briefing ahead of the July 21 final against Cork on Tuesday evening.

"There was a lot of frustration at half time that we didn't play well. There was a significant breeze, even though it didn't look it from the stand. But it was significant.

"It suited us an awful lot more in the second half. We had the opportunity to reset. There was a lot of frustration at half-time as I said. We got better and made better decisions.

"We had to think on our feet. It was kind of a test of character as well. So, absolutely it was a good way to win. We feel we can get better and obviously we have to get better as well."

Clare resisted the temptation to make changes at the interval. “We know this group," Lohan responded. "We know these guys. We did feel that they were going to get better. The quality of our starters are our starters because generally, they are the best players in those positions.

Clare v Kilkenny Full Time Highlights

"Things didn’t work as well as they could have done, poor decisions, but we did feel there was more in the players.”

“There was a general acceptance amongst everyone inside in the dressing room that we didn’t do as well as we could have done. It wasn’t just amongst the management.

"It was the whole group, just very frustrated after that first half."

Clare face Cork in an intriguing showpiece at GAA headquarters. Lohan was impressed with Cork's dynamic display in the win over Limerick. “The best teams make it to the All-Ireland final," Lohan says.

"We can have complaints, but at the end of the day – last year or the year before or whatever it was – the two best teams are in the All-Ireland final.

“It’s Cork now and they’re there on merit. They’ve beaten Limerick twice. So, we can see from the last day - I was in the stand watching the last day - it was just a brilliant experience and brilliant game.

“The desire they had, the pace that they had, the spirit that they had. The levels of skill. Just the relentless running, the relentless attacking. It was just a real advertisement for hurling and everything that is good in Cork hurling."