Few of Clare’s players can honestly put their hands up as having come near their capability in Sunday’s All-Ireland quarter-final loss to Kerry, Sean Collins was one of the minority who could raise their lámh.
Collins started out at wing-forward and took the game to Kerry by running at them and pushing up on the tackle when not in possession. It was no coincidence that Pearse Lillis had a good supply of possession in the first half with the man positioned in front of him often the one supplying him with the ball.
Speaking after the eleven point defeat, the Cratloe man pointed to the pace at which they operated as a big difference between the sides. “When the levels go up playing the Kerrys Dublins Mayos Tyrones your decision making has to be that bit faster and your mistakes are going to be punished so that’s going to be the goal next year, speed of thought, speed up our play and hopefully close the gap, there is obviously a big gap there”.
In the big fight the underdog needs to make the most of every opportunity and in this instance Clare couldn’t convert any of the goal chances that presented themselves. “You need everything going your way and unfortunately today we just couldn’t buy a goal and it just wasn’t to be and our performance was flat”.
Sean is proud of the progress made by the team this year. “A lot of people will say ‘ye’ve had a great year’ and I suppose we can be proud of that of what we achieved this year getting out of Division 3 and the four championship wins we haven’t done that before”.
But his next comments highlight his ambition and that of the panel. “We just thought today we’d be a lot more competitive and the first fifteen minutes I suppose we were enjoying ourselves out and just the flipping goal then was a killer just a freakish goal and we didn’t recover unfortunately and we just have to analyse and look at ourselves and hopefully eliminate those mistakes next year and try and close the gap on the big teams”.