Clare Forum

Clare Medocrity

(Oldest Posts First)

Since the year 2000 Clares record in Munster Championship hurling has been abysmal. During this period Tipperary have met Clare on eight occasions, with Clare only emerging victorious once in 2003. Tipperary defeated Clare in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2008, 2009 and just last Sunday. After every defeat the reaction was the same. Clare did well, fought the good fight but came up short, but will prove dangerous to anyone they meet via the backdoor. While this argument held a certain amount of credence when greats of the game such as Brian Lohan, Lynch and Mc Mahon graced the team, the same cannot be said anymore, which makes the positive reaction to Clares defeat throughout the local media all the more puzzling. Year after year Clare are beaten again and again by the same team and the reaction is always the same, 'The boys did great', 'they're only young' and 'give them a chance'. There seems to be no such thing as constructive criticism in Clare, on the rare occasion when anyone criticises the team it is mistook for negativity, in colloquial parlance such people are called 'cutters'. The realisation that a team often needs to be criticised in order to improve doesn't seem to exist in Clare. Thus because the Clare players are never really criticised for their inadequacies and are perennially lauded for their failings they see no reason to improve.

What this conveniently ignores of course is the obvious fact that Clare are delighted to lose. Last year in reflecting on the defeat to Waterford in the Munster semi-final, a game Clare should have won, Donal Tuohy in an interview with the Clare Champion admitted that many of the Clare players in his own words 'would have been happy with their performance'. Such a confession was incredible considering that Clare had the winning of that game and that the prize was a place in the Munster final against a completely overrated Cork team. Yet such inertia is what prevails in the Clare county team, an acceptance of mediocrity and security in the knowledge that they did their best yet fell short once again. This was exactly the attitude that arose in the aftermath of Clare's most recent defeat to Tipperary, that Clare are young and that they will prove their potential in the future and that they are hampered by not playing in Division 1, all such arguments that are highly dubious. Thus the consistent failure that Clare have experienced at the hands of Tipperary is ignored, something that wouldn't happen in any other county. Also it is fair to say that the performances of the county team do not justify the vast sums that are spent on the team throughout the year. It is difficult to imagine where a massive sum of almost 370,000 went on training two teams (football & hurling) that are eliminated from the championship every year in July. Considering that the teams have only been training collectively since January more or less the cost of 62,000 a month seems highly exorbitant. Money is spent like confetti it would appear and failure is disguised as building for the future.

Black_Knight99 (Clare) - Posts: 11 - 21/06/2011 12:46:16    961785

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Black _Knight99 I agree entirely with your analysis. read my contribution in one of the other forums here without I going writing it
all here again. Yes the backdoor has become an acceptance for Clare since 1998 when Clare last won Munster. Thats not progress!
With the exception of 2005 the backdoor has done nothing for Clare when Clare on thier last legs with a lot of the old team
should have beaten Cork and would have beaten Galway in the final as we always mostly do. 2008 was the only year progress was made getting
to a munster final for first time since 1999! Yet look at the controversy that happened after it! Does that say something?
Since 2008 one could argue the minors and u21s have achieved and competed in other years yet this young team is not making the breakthrough
at senior level! Nxt year will be the 3rd year of the current management and what has being achieved? Nothing only that the backline and goalie has being left alone for the last seasons and has cost Clare! Noone is demanding action, not the management, not the team, not the fans , not the board!
WOuld you agree that the backline and goalie is awful poor and Clare aint going anywhere if only positive spin is being put on it to cover up that.
We always complain in Clare when have no forwards be it in hurling or football and rightly so but the performance of this backline and the selection of this backline
and goalies over the last 3 years in particular has being embarrassing and its time people called it as it is like you have done.
First there was ah they will do good in the backdoor from 2000 to 2008. Now the spin is ah they are a young team coming! They are a youmg team with potential
from midfield up but it wont go far if the team fro midfield back to and including the goalies isnt sorted out fairly lively and to hell with the other nonsense talk and
spin thas being put on it! Too much spin is no good for any team when its the problems that should be highlighted and sorted!

Dalcassian2 (Clare) - Posts: 40 - 21/06/2011 13:28:11    961846

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could not fit in one post will need a few more to fit all
here is nxt section The argument that Clare is a young team has been put forward in recent days to explain Clare's most recent capitulation. However what this argument ignores is the fact that Tipperary is also a young team. Brendan Maher, Paraic Maher, Noel McGrath to name three all played in the U21 Munster Hurling Final last year against Clare and were three stalwarts in last year's march to the All Ireland, with Brendan Maher winning the Young Hurler of the Year, while Clare's great white hope, Honan, still coasts on the comparatively insignificant success of scoring two great goals against Galway in the 2009 U21 All Ireland semi-final in Thurles; long since water under the bridge. While Noel McGrath was somewhat subdued on Sunday, Paraic Maher was outstanding; meting out a similar punishment to John Conlon that he gave him in the aforementioned U21 Munster Hurling Final in Thurles last year, where Conlon hardly won a ball off Maher for the duration of the game, eventually being moved off him. At the moment Maher is the best hurler in the country and is odds on to win hurler of the year if he maintains the incredible intensity of his performances. Conlon's incredibly poor work-rate is certainly no match for Maher's incredible physicality and skill, shown by his two exquisite scores.

In essence Maher's star is in the ascendant and Conlon's is on the wane, with two of his three scores coming when the game was effectively over as a contest. It is hard to see the nature of this demographic changing anytime soon. Yet the players are the same age and Maher will always be there to devour Conlon. Even on Sunday it was obvious from Conlon's demeanour that Maher's superiority over him is not exclusively physical but is also psychological. There were a number of occasions in the first half in particular when the Clare forward could have come to the aid of his colleagues yet decided to stay on the margins until it was too late and it was inevitable that the ball would be cleared. Even when Tipperary were struggling in the first quarter of an hour Maher was outstanding, showing his intent as early as the first minute when felling Fergal Lynch with a powerful shoulder. Incredibly he contributed more to Tipperary's forward play than a number of the forwards, in particular Eoin Kelly who if Brennan hadn't dropped his trademark clanger would have contributed very little from open play.

Black_Knight99 (Clare) - Posts: 11 - 21/06/2011 13:50:12    961869

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Another problem related to Conlon's ineffectiveness is the poor physical condition of the team as a whole, which resembles a club rather than a county team. Even before half-time it was obvious that a number of Clare players had tired alarmingly and that they were running on empty. That Clare should have tired so quickly is an indictment of the trainer and management. To train for six months and only be able to last for one half is incredible in the modern game. Fiach O'Loughlin, the Clare trainer should realise that the level of fitness required for inter-county hurling is far above that of club hurling in Clare, a level that is pedestrian at best, where he has made his name. How the management team don't realise this basic fact is mystifying. Tipperary could have played for another seventy minutes. Yet the only real substitution that Clare made was to replace O'Connell with Donovan, a change that was forced because O'Connell could run no more. This is the elephant in the room. Clare are streets behind in terms of athleticism and fitness, yet this problem doesn't seem to be addressed because many of the Clare players don't seem to be too bothered whether they win or lose and are only interested in the status that being on the county panel brings them, which brings us to the figure of Honan.

For almost the whole game Honan remained on the field, despite it being totally obvious to almost everyone in the ground that he was totally ineffective. On a number of occasions the ball broke to him around the goalmouth, a sharper forward would have pounced on it; Honan however is totally ambivalent about fighting for a ball. On one occasion in the first half after Cummins had saved Cathal McInerney's shot, the ball eventually came to Honan who preceded to kick the ball to Maher who duly obliged by sending the ball seventy metres down the field. All Honan had to do was get one ball and stick it in the net and then Tipperary would have had to watch two forwards, something that would surely have freed up McGrath. In a nutshell Honan throughout the game was embarrassing and his feeble attempts at attempting to win the ball were castigated by both sets of supporters. When both sets of supporters agree on the poor performance of a player there is something seriously wrong. Honan seems to believe that he has a divine right to be on the starting team despite the fact that he is still incredibly one sided, almost always turning on his left when he receives possession and has an inability and unwillingness to fight for his own ball. Even in club games his form has declined considerably, which brings me to the final point. How was Honan left on the field?

Black_Knight99 (Clare) - Posts: 11 - 21/06/2011 13:52:22    961872

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In this instance the management has serious questions to answer. On a number of occasions Honan got in the way of the only effective Clare forward, Conor McGrath. He was more or less an ornament, hardly moving throughout the game from the edge of the square, yet he was left on until it was almost time to go home. It is difficult to justify such a decision on the part of the Clare management. Surely if Colin Ryan was introduced at half-time he would have won at least a couple of balls and been an assistance to the increasingly suffocated McGrath, who Tipperary quickly realised was Clare's only threat. That Honan was not taken off sooner was an abdication of duty on the part of the Clare Management. Rather than give out about the referee as O'Loughlin did afterwards it would be more advisable for him to look at his own failings and only worry about what he can control. A final point, when Has James McInerney ever scored a 21 yard free? When did a centre back ever score a goal from a 21 yard free in the championship? An example doesn't immediately spring to mind. A forward should have taken such a chance, which if scored could have completely changed the complexion of the final moments of the game and Colin Ryan had just been introduced and considering that he has scored them for his club as recently as the last club match surely he was the man to take such an opportunity, especially when one considers how close he came to scoring a harder free in similar circumstances in 2009. What this incident shows is that the Clare management team as strange as it might seem don't know a whole lot about the game of hurling.

Black_Knight99 (Clare) - Posts: 11 - 21/06/2011 13:52:57    961873

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Black Knight. Who are you really and where from. Me and you would get on because we share the same frustration and call it as we see it!
Yes you took the words out of my mouth. For James Mc Inerney to take the semipenalty with about 2-3 mins to go with a chance to reduce
Tips margin was a joke. A centreback and he looked so scared and frightened as if he was going to be executed before he ever took the shot!
It was very very embarrassing. Where were the forwards leadership? Where was Honan? and where was the sideline management and the captain?
If that wasnt bad enough but the manner in which the fourth goal was conceeded was a circus!
And I have a feeling that it will be more of the same the next day! A lot of these players not upto it and happy with a good performance which really wasnt!
WOULD YOU AGREE WITH ME THAT THE BACKLINE AND DEFENCE WAS A SHAMBLES ALSO?
The silence on here says it all, no clare fans other than you and I and the tipperary fans and team want to face upto reality!
I rest my case!

Dalcassian2 (Clare) - Posts: 40 - 21/06/2011 15:48:37    962032

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The back line wasn't great either oconnor was destroyed especially when tipp ran at us and two or three men kept going for the same ball instead of waiting for the break. very poor training IMO. Vaughan was the only one the really stand out in the backs

Black_Knight99 (Clare) - Posts: 11 - 21/06/2011 16:27:11    962104

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Black_Knight99

I dont know what game you were watching but I thought Dillion played very well.

You cant expect a division 2 team to keep up the level of intensity shown in the first half for 70mins. IT is not possible for a team to tip away in division two - not overly exerting themselves and then sustain an intense display against the All Ireland Champions come June. Clare are not mediocre, just inexperienced. If Clare were in division 1 that game would have been a lot tighter. By the way John Conlon is a fantastic player who was being marked by one of the best wing backs in the country. Once he moved to midfled he showed his true worth to this team. What are you suggesting we drop him? You are out of your tree if you think that is a solution to anything. Look at the age of our team and the upcoming minors and you will see that Clare are back on track to be a force in the next few years. If anything we underachieved from 2003 - 2010. Not is time to rebuild and results are not going to go our way for a few years. This is not an acceptance of mediocrity (although I would have agreed with you had you wrote this post in 2009) but rather a display of patience and the realisation that things are on track and we cannot expect success over night.

LohansRedHelmet (Clare) - Posts: 1980 - 22/06/2011 09:18:29    962558

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"By the way John Conlon is a fantastic player who was being marked by one of the best wing backs in the country. Once he moved to midfled he showed his true worth to this team" Conlon scored two points when he moved to midfield the match was a as good as over as a contest Maher is the same age as Conlon. On numerous occasions more than one Clare Player would go for the ball against a Tipp player instead of letting one up and waiting for the break. This is basic training and this lead to the first tipp goal and a number of scoring opportunities lost.

Black_Knight99 (Clare) - Posts: 11 - 22/06/2011 12:48:14    962776

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This is a young team, they need time to mature.
Take away the two soft goals and it would be a different game.
I question the manager's substitution calls, waited way too long in such an intense game.
The immediate concern is goalkeeping, the weakest link in the team.
Congratulations to the minors, great job against Tipp.

LoughDerg (Clare) - Posts: 7 - 25/06/2011 16:01:34    965801

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Look lads the immediate concern is Clare need a new goalie and fast! Tdogs in the strrret know that!
Defence too needs major surjery. Maybe have a look at Pat Kelly and Jamie Shanahan and Ciaran O'Doherty
how come sticking with the old reliables in defence some of which are not upto it!
As for Pat Vaughan he had not a great game rather a poor one! Was the cause of one of the goals!
Lads one thing lets be all clear on no matter ho much the forwards get it wont win a game for Clare if loose marking
and poor defending and poor goalies let in goals. No hidden agendas, can Clare fans not accept that some of the backs
need to be dropped and maybe one or two of the forwards too! Otherwise if not young or not as the team is
it wont develop faster than its capable of doing! After 20 mins last sunday a shock may have being on the cards
no one knows but the backs and goalie messed it up! The same backs and the other goalie messed up
the 2010 Div 2 and 2011 Div2 finals and the qualifier championship game against Dublin last year!
Are we slow learners we fans because it s so blatantly obvious where the real problems are and yet hush hush!
Galway are not a great team but if Canning knows how bad the backs and goalie are he for an average player may have a festival
of goals!

Dalcassian2 (Clare) - Posts: 40 - 28/06/2011 11:10:08    968984

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I was happy with certain aspects of Clares performance yesterday considering they played in a lower division etc
in the league of this season and last season. That said it was not lack of energy or burnout that resulted in Clare
getting beaten after 20mins. It was the BACKLINE and GOALIE again fans! When is the Clare management going to realise
that Clare requires a new goalie and major surjery in the backline urgently? If they dont act immediately they will be out
of the qualifiers before they know it too! Clare got relegated from Division 1 in 2009 (after improving rapidly and getting to the Munster Final
for the first time in 10 years in 2008 under Mike Mac which appeared to signal the end of Clare taking the qualifier route each year and trying to win Munster again!) due to consistent goalkeeping mistakes I believe being one of the factors. Then the goalie was replaced by another goalie which made further consistent mistakes all throughout last years league and championship which helped cost Clare the Div 2 title last year v Wexford and later in the championship qualifiers
against Dublin. Then this year further consistent mistakes by the two same goalies and backs aswell it must be said has helped cost Clare the Div2 league game
against laois, the Div 2 final against limerick and now the tipperary game yesterday. After 10mins yesterday Clare was coasting and it was going to have to take an unreal comeback from Tipperary to claw back the lead such was how good Clare were playing particularly upfront. Then SNAP, Clare reverts to desperate defending and Tipp get a goal and another and another, and then GAME over! The backs and goalie let down the Clare midfield and forwards yesterday as they have done numerous times before. Management are not taking action. Is there any defensive coaching going on?
Why havent other backs being recruited in? Why hasnt another goalie being recruited in? Surely its easier to find backs and a goalie than forwards?
Why oh why is this not being addressed? Its eating away the rest of this teams chances bigtime and it will happen again against Galway if Galway play well
and noone is crying out. The fans voices need to be heard on this! As far as I am concerned if we had backs yesterday who did the basics of manmarking
and a goalie who did the basics then Clare might have won the game easier even than we expected such was the perfect performance in the first quarter!
Bear in mind that when you see that 2 or three forwards did not score more than a point or two and were not on htier game Clare yet could have won only
for the woeful defending by the goalie and backs! Management must address this if they do nothing else in the next two weeks! Fans can be happy with certain aspects of yesterdays play but not with the goalie and backs. We need another goalie and backs have to be looked at!
If this is not addressed NOW in 5 years time Clare fans will be saying we had a good team but it never worked out and the reason why is very obvious to me!
Now is the time do not let it fester. Can the management be contacted, what can be done via the media to rectify this fans.We need this addressed before the Galway game otherwise Clare may go 10 or 12 points up again and be beaten by conceeding easy goals!
Clare senior hurling teams always had good defences even in the lean times so I just cannot understand why this has happened and more so not being addressed.
If the backs and goalie not upto it its time the Team Management and Co Board took responsibility and sorted it out. Fans are sick of loosing games that Clare werein contention to win! No good saying everyday ah Clare are young or they need more experience or they need
to get out of Division 2. Thats a help but the problem is from midfield back to and including the goalie! And replacing one bad goalie with another
is not the answer or mingling the backs around either! The backs need to be replaced a lot of them too!

Dalcassian2 (Clare) - Posts: 40 - 28/06/2011 11:15:11    968987

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