Clare have regained their form and have rediscovered their mojo according to Jamesie O’Connor.
“We have rediscovered our mojo, we are playing well, we have a deeper panel than maybe we ever had. We have found a few new players: David Fitzgerald, Oisin O’Brien, even Darach Honan has rediscovered his form”.
The St Josephs Doora/Barefield man was speaking on Clare FM’s Sideline View Championship Special. O’Connor says the County’s record in the provincial championship needs to be rectified. “There is a massive prize at stake. We have a deplorable record in Munster. We have four wins since 2000. That is a shocking stat for a county like ours given the record we had in the 1990’s.”
A teacher at St Flannans College, Jamesie feels whatever happens on Sunday, the Banner will have a big part to play in the 2016 Championship. “We are in a good place and even as hard as it is going to be [on Sunday], if we weren’t to come out with a win, I still think we would be a force through the qualifiers and the backdoor. You want to come through the front door, but I think Clare are going to be hurling, hopefully, into August this year.”
“Once promotion was attained, it was as if the shackles were off and the pressure was off everybody. If we had lost that [Limerick] game, I think the Waterford game would have been massive. There would have been huge pressure going into it. With the league title in the bag and with promotion secured, I think the pressure is off Clare to an extent” the 1997 Hurler of the Year added.
Davy Fitzgerald and his charges have benefited from their stint in Division 1B according to Fitzgerald’s former County teammate. “In 1A, the games are so competitive. If you lose your first two games, straightaway you are under pressure to avoid relegation. You are in a corner and you don’t have the same scope to try out new faces. If it had been Limerick in the opening round, we would have had to be ready for that because promotion was only going to come down to the two of us. It worked out perfectly it was the last game. We were able to build slowly. That was the day we had to be ready for and we were. 1B did us no disservice. The evidence is there – the last two league champions have come from there and it might do Galway no harm to be there next year.”
Nothing beats winning and Jamesie deems this as a reason for an increase in confidence in Clare’s displays. “We seem to be winning the games we were losing 12 months ago. Winning breeds confidence and that has fed into the performances the lads have given.”