Brendan Cummins believes that Clare will need to replicate the coolness they showed against Wexford when they come up against Kilkenny in the All-Ireland semi-final.
Brian Lohan’s side were favorites coming into last Saturday’s quarter-final but found themselves trailing by six points with 10 minutes to play after two goals from Lee Chin.
They kept plugging away however, and boosted by the introductions of Aron Shanagher (1-02), Shane Meehan (0-02) and Mark Rodgers, eventually won by four.
“They could easily have panicked and thrown it away but they didn’t,” former Tipp star Cummins told the RTÉ GAA podcast.
“It’s another big plus for Brian Lohan and Clare that they have matured an extra step.
“The composure that Clare showed when Lee Chin got the goals was a big difference. They didn’t seem to panic even though they went five or six down and the clock was ticking against them.
“They just kept running the ball and doing the process. That’s what set them up.
“In a game that they may have lost in the past, through misfortune or whatever, they won. The bench was key in getting them across the line on top of the composure they showed.”
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Beaten provincial finalists Clare and Galway both struggled to put away their opponents but Cummins expects them to improve for the experience.
“All the teams in the quarter-final section have been beaten and their confidence is a little bit battered.
“I think we’ll see a better Clare, and a better Galway, the next day because they now have a good competitive win under their belts. That’ll give them the energy and confidence that you need.
“Players aren’t robots. You always have something nagging in your head ‘I was beat the last day, we came so close’ and you want to exorcise those demons. Certainly Clare did.”
Cummins thinks the Banner will now need to show just as much composure if they are to get past the Leinster champions on Sunday week.
“If you’re six points better and you’re only two points up… that is going to be the challenge for Clare.
“The very minute Galway got on top [in the Leinster final], TJ was under the next two puck-outs, caught the two of them and got fouled. It’s a key thing for Kilkenny that they can take pressure and draw frees.
“But the last day, even when they [Clare] went six down, there was no panic and they kept playing. In fairness to Brian Lohan he wasn’t jumping up and down and pressing any red buttons.
“They just did their thing and I think that will stand them in good stead against Kilkenny.”
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