Life in Division 2 of the Allianz National Football League commences for Clare this weekend when they head north to face Derry.
Acclimatising to the higher division will be a test for Colm Collins and his panel of players but it is one they have been waiting a long time for. “We are looking forward to coming up against teams and counties we haven’t been playing regularly in recent years. It is a great challenge for us”, the Clare boss stated.
Competing alongside the Banner County for promotion to the top ranks are Cork, Derry, Down, Galway, Fermanagh, Kildare and Meath. Colm maintains that with a high standard of opposition in their path, the best approach to take is by focusing on them one at a time.
“I think people might understand, when you look at the teams we will be playing, that we are literally taking it one game at a time. The only game on our mind right now is going to Derry this weekend. We really can’t afford to be looking any further than that. Our focus is on preparing for that game and hopefully putting in a performance that gives us a good shot at getting a result.”
Collins told The Irish Sun that having only three home fixtures is something that they have no control of, so for him it is about making the most of it. “We had some good away days last year so hopefully we can build on that this year.”
Initially there were doubts over whether or not the Ballyea contingent would be available given the fact that they are competing in an All-Ireland semi-final less than twenty four hours beforehand. Captain Gary Brennan, his brother Shane, Pearse Lillis and David Egan are involved with the Ballyea boys and they are also part of Colm’s plans for the Derry game.
When asked about the Clare skipper, Collins said “He is a dream player to have in your team. There was never any question that he wouldn’t be playing. He’s the captain of the team, a special player and, provided he doesn’t pick up any injury, Gary will be travelling up after the game on Saturday.”