Munster Senior Hurling Championship 2024…part 2

Clare may be mentally broken now. Thats 2 championship defeats to Limerick in 2 entirely different manners. There is obviously still a bit of scar tissue from the first encounter. Yes they rebounded and won 3 on the trot but its very easy to pick holes in the form book. Waterford outhurled them for much of their encounter below in Ennis and if Prunty was available they might have eked out a win. They carried that malaise into the Tipp game. Really if they were to have any AI credentials they should have been winning that game by 10 points but there was only a puck of a ball between the sides down the home stretch. Theycarried that “flatness” into the munster final and didnt really raise a gallop losing key battles all over the pitch.

The goalkeeping issue is an albatross around their neck. I’ve rarely seen a goalkeeper struggle to make the half way line with puckouts on a summers day. Fair enough in Winter with a heavier ball in Baltic conditions. He is very indecisive and you rarely see a team win an AI with a sub standard goalkeeper. Defensively they are ok. McInerney clearly isnt right. Allowed Hegarty to win a few uncontested high balls in 1st half was uncharacteristic. Maybe coukd have done better on the goal. He is a key key player for Clare. Imperious on his day. Hopefully he can sort out his injuries. Clares half back line shape was dragged all over the place. Not sure Lohan provided much by way of cover either. Obviously big turning point is the Lim goal but contest was decided early doors when Hannon, Byrnes and Hayes started rifling over points against the wind in the first half without a glove being laid on them.

Where to now for Clare. It’ll be very hard to pick themselves back up. On a collision course with Kilkenny but you wouldnt be backing them with any confidence vs Wexford either. Only thing is Wexford never really travel well or perform in Thurles. Wexford have shown enough from their performance vs Kilkenny that they will cause problems for Clare. Its no gimme anyway.

In the final 8 I’d have following teams ranked as follows

  1. Limerick
  2. Cork
  3. Kilkenny
  4. Clare
  5. Wexford
  6. Dublin
  7. Offaly
  8. Laois

Am infraction here. There is only one Power Rankings.

In truth Laois are obviously ahead of Offaly.



Taylor isn’t a worldbeater but he was one of their best players across two seasons but, most importantly, he brings something that they don’t otherwise have.

They have no replacement for him currently; Darragh Lohan is a grand player but he’s a back playing midfield, he just can’t do what Taylor does and they really miss it, particularly against Limerick. Taylor is one of those players that has hurt Limerick quite a bit because he is so explosively quick and his work rate is a good notch up from some of the other similar-type players.

Disagree on Malone, he is class, a vital lynchpin in their midfield. Pairing him with Lohan probably doesn’t do either of them justice though; either of them paired with a Ryan Taylor-type would make them look better.

Aidan McCarthy has more hurling than Shanagher but there definitely are question marks over him. Shanagher is good in the air but limited; it does seem odd that they’re not even using him as an impact player. I like Meehan a lot but, again, the form must not be there. He didn’t really stand out in league cameos from what I remember (had a decent Fitz campaign).

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Clare go man to man / toe to toe with Limerick, they are the only team that really do it consistently. They are the one team consistently putting it up to one of the greatest hurling teams in hurling.


The question is whether the flatness is mental fatigue and staleness or just a bad day at the office.

It is looking more like the former. Lohan did try and freshen up his back room team over the winter but I think the jury is still very much out on Bugler as a coach at this level and i don’t think we have found much of an improvement with him there but i think that absolves the players of a lot of blame, there was an awful lot of mental errors on Sunday from experienced players and a lot of promising attacking chances wasted simply down to poor execution- which is fairly fixable in the short term.

Keeper is a big one alright, as is the form of Cleary who hasn’t really looked right since the Limerick game. I think they have tried to move on from Quilligan but the other options simply haven’t taken their chances, will be interesting to see if they make the change now though.

I think they will have to move TK or Reidy to midfield, we are lacking a linkman there, they may also have to move SOD out to get a better balance in the half forwards.

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Meehan and Shanagher’s problem and lack of minutes is simply down to the fact there are options as good or better than them on the panel. Both SOD and Rodgers are far better options at full than Shan and more likely to create something while Meehan is up against McCarthy, Reidy and Galvin for the other slot. Meehan had some decent cameos off the bench in 2022 and 2023 but had struggled a bit since being introduced in last years Munster final, I think management have lost a bit of faith in him.

There does need to be a re-think. Definitely missing a link man. I think Lohan may lose out. Dont think he is providing the necessary defensive cover, turnovers and not contributing much by way of assists or on the scoreboard bar say the goal against Waterford before HT and a point against Tipp. But its important Clare dont make wholesale changes either as it would be an overreaction. Cleary got pulled for off the ball fouling against Tipp. Ever since his incident with Gillane in the first game he’s been a marked man by referees. So he is second guessing himself now. It was notable reaction of some of Clare players to conceding another against Limerick. That has to play in a fellas head. I’d have liked to have seen Reidy on Hannon. Ask him different sort of question. I’d keep O Donnell perched in on edge of the square. Important to keep opposing full back lines honest. He would benefit though from having someone in there that can snipe a few scores and almost play off him. There seems to be little link up play between himself and McCarthy. Of course if McCarthy starts missing frees does he become surplus to requirements. Rodgers can probably strike them too. There is definitely a lack of chemistry or cohesiveness in Clare attacking unit. Reidy would probably help solve that piece of the jigsaw for them. You’d like to see some small variations in Clares play also and not becoming so predictable. Could you move Duggan in for 2 or 3 balls or a 7 or 8 minute spell on edge of the square. He could cause carnage inside there. Move O Donnell out for 10 minutes. Get him running down channels left and right of centre back. Is Ryan Taylor anywhere near a return?

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Cleary spent week after the limerick game in a walking boot with a severe enough bone bruise I think he just doesn’t look right. They can linger.

Taylor hadn’t featured for Clooney over the past few weeks, if he was anywhere close they would surely try and get some minutes into him in the hope he could be an option in the 26 for the A/I series.

I’m disappointed in a way with the way the 26 has been managed this year. Lohan used to be a bit more ruthless with the match day panel- obviously we don’t see what happens in training but having Morey, Donnellan and Mounsey on the bench as your cover for 8 to 12 means we don’t have anyone who can add a bit of size or bite to that area and aren’t viable options - Rynne and Crotty would offer size and aggression at least.

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Having seen Meehan up close for Mary I and Clare for the last few years now, without a doubt the reality of it is, he’s just not big enough or built enough for Intercounty level at the standard Clare are at. Nothing can ever be done about that. Nothing personal against him obviously - it’s just a physical thing

He won’t win enough ball, he won’t be able to break enough tackles and therefore won’t be able to create the chances for others or put up much scores himself. Constantly gets forced into taking the tough shot on. There’s a reason he excels at Junior A level in Clare though.

Ryan Taylor not near returning. Knee is in tatters.

I just done the opening ten minutes but the longest play was 31 seconds.

It’s so stop start now.

From a free being awarded and the resulting puck out being hit you are averaging 50 seconds of play.

I’m not sure I’ll do the full 70 but it’s interesting none the less.

I see Liam Ryan has been ruled out for wexford, so assuming they beat laois that would be advantage clare for Saturday week.
Ryan has a physical presence that a lot of the wexford backs lack and would match up with Duggan or David Fitz.

Who would Wexford have that is any use nowadays? Is Tom Dempsey still the danger man? Are they still springing Billy Burns? Is Adrian Fenlon still cutting sidelines?

Dempsey and Billy can found on South East radio talking the talk.

So I shouldn’t rule them out

It’s one of these tired old cliches now that only Clare have gone toe to toe with Limerick. Clare performances and results against Limerick are hardly a whole lot better than Cork.

Cork beat Limerick the last time they played them a few weeks ago. They ran Limerick to 1 point in Limerick last year in what was effectively a straight knock out game. Cork beat Limerick in 2019 and went to extra time with them in 2018 semi final.


Cork never feared Limerick

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That’s not the narrative though. Only Clare seemingly can go toe to toe with Limerick.

Round Robin games are fairly meaningless.

Cork shipped three hidings in the middle of the current run though, whereas the only decorating I can remember for Clare was 2019.

I would agree though that Clare have regressed this year and would be more concerned about Cork at this point.