Golden generation one reason behind Clare's late league final victory

Vincent Hogan and Jamesie O'Connor spoke on last night's Off The Ball

Tony Kelly stepped up to the plate last Sunday and in the dying embers of Clare's fiery encounter with Waterford, he scored twice in additional time to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

Late scores, frantic pace and a dollop of controversy was all symptomatic of one of the great hurling league finals, a stark contrast to the frankly dour affair to the original contest nine days ago.

On last night's Off The Ball, Jamesie O'Connor and Vincent Hogan gave their take on the differences between the two games and what made it so entertaining.

"Both teams made tactical changes, Clare had Tony Kelly and Podge Collins dropping deep very early on," said Jamesie O'Connor, "But I think everyone was a wee bit sharper. The day was warmer, the place was sunnier, the pitch looked better. There just seemed to be a faster pace from the off."  

Waterford's dominance was overturned toward the end of the game, an enduring feature of last week's game. O'Connor gave credit to Davy Fitzgerald's side for rallying after conceding two opening half goals.

"There were times when Waterford had stretched clear. Clare had fought back to parity and had the better of the opening exchanges, but then Pat O'Connor made the mistake for the second goal and Waterford surged clear.

Waterford’s Jamie Barron with Clare’s Podge Collins
Image: ©INPHO/Ken Sutton

"Clare did really well to be three points behind at the break, Conor McGrath got some valuable points from play and I think Clare would have been really happy going in at the break, considering the two goals they had conceded just to be three behind."

Vincent Hogan praised Shane O'Donnell for his work ethic during the game, the forward was forced to feed off scraps while Patrick Curran had a little more freedom to go and collect possession in the middle of teh park.

"Shane O'Donnell at times may well have been sitting in the stands for all the ball that was coming into him. Tadhg de Burca is such a good reader of the game and certainly anything coming in the air, he was going to mop it up, whereas Curran came out and had more of a license to roam.

"I think Clare really missed [John] Conlon as the out-ball. When there is so much traffic in that middle third, you generally don't get time to play this armchair ball into a forward. Now, if you put a ball into Shane O'Donnell against Barry Coughlan, he'll skin him. And Waterford knew that. But twhen you have the extra cover and don't have the quality of ball going in, O'Donnell was never going to get into that game. It must have been a hugely frustrating for him."

You can hear the full analysis and Clare's "Golden Generation" by clicking the player below.