Throw-in is edging closer for the meeting of Clare and Galway in the quarter-final of the All-Ireland SHC.
Clare selector Louis Mulqueen has been tipped to take on the role of manager should Davy Fitzgerald’s recent health scare force him to watch from the stands. Mulqueen is hopeful of a return to Croke Park where he believes the County’s hurlers will get to really express themselves.
“What we need if we can win on Sunday you’d love to see these lads back in Croke Park, we haven’t been there for two years now, I think they’ll open up in a Croke Park environment and stadium, having said that Thurles is a lovely venue, we need consistency, we know it’s there. We’re down to one game to get to an All-Ireland semi-final and back to Dublin, we’re not going to be found wanting on Sunday. We have to turn up with our best performance”.
When looking at their opponents, Louis points to the fact that Galway have been in two of the last four All-Ireland Finals and the last three Leinster deciders. “There’s always a big drive in Galway and there’s a big game in them and we’re wary of Sunday’s challenge like to me it’s a fifty fifty game that we have to bring our game to it to survive not alone win but we have to put it up to Galway in a serious way from our point of view and that’s all we can concentrate on, we have to get our own house in order and try and get across that we are the people that need to go into the semi-final not them”.
It’s a big game too for Micheál O’Donoghue manager of the Tribesmen, Louis worked alongside him with Clarinbridge and knows what he brings to the table. “I was involved with Micheál O’Donoghue when I took Clarinbridge for a while in the past and he’s a shrewd operator and he’s determined to do well and to prove that they’re going in the right direcetion, the big thing that I see about Galway this year is they’ve played nine games, six league and three championship, their forwards aren’t one man anymore”.
A former trainer to the Galway Seniors under Ger Loughnane, the Ennis principal is well aware of their potential. “I have utmost respect for Galway, I was involved with them for a while, you know what’s there and what their capability is but I also know our potential and it’s down to two very good hurling teams both needing to play to the best of their ability, if either of us could get that right you’re going to have a cracker of a game”.
Since their win over Limerick, Clare have put an emphasis on shooting, getting this right and by bringing their A-game will boost their chances according to Mulqueen. “Go back to our game against Limerick while we didn’t set the world on the fire, our scoring rate is something that we were concerned about after the Limerick match and that’s what we’ve been trying to improve in training, I think Galway and ourselves have had time to work on our game and on Sunday it’s whoever’s able to hit the ground running and give that A-performance I keep talking about”.