Jamesie on Clare's full-forward line: "It's folly not getting them on the ball more"

Despite an encouraging start, Jamesie O'Connor feels there are areas that still need addressing

BY Stephen Long 12:45 Tuesday 6 February 2018, 12:45 6 Feb 2018

Clare's Peter Duggan in action during their Allianz Hurling League win over Kilkenny ©INPHO/Ken Sutton

Jamesie O'Connor fears Clare's worrying number of wides won't be addressed unless they get more ball into their full-forward line.

Speaking on this morning's OTB AM, the former All-Star also expressed concern about the lack of experimentation by Clare in the league so far, in contrast to other teams.

The Banner are one win away from securing their Division 1A status for another year after successive wins over Tipperary and Kilkenny, in games which featured the vast majority of players expected to start for Clare in the Munster Championship.

However they almost snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in Nowlan Park on Saturday, after they saw an 11 point lead reduced to just two after an erratic 2nd half performance.

Jamesie O'Connor alongside Off The Ball's Oisin Langan ©INPHO/Cathal Noonan

Last year's Munster finalists hit a total of 18 wides in the game - 12 of which came from nine different players - and O'Connor thinks the side must be smarter in possession.

"When you have Shane O'Donnell, Conor McGrath, Podge Collins, these type of players on the inside line, it's folly not getting them on the ball. O'Donnell in particular - when he gets fast ball he's nigh-on unmarkable at times. I don't think we're utilising them the way we should be or need to do."

"For some of these players, it's as if once they get across that half-way line they have a license to shoot. In other counties you get your shooters on the ball. You get the ball in the hands of your best and most accurate forwards, and I just think Clare need to have a look at that".

Unlike other sides, Clare along with Wexford have not deviated too much from their strongest potential line-ups, instead focusing on getting early points on the board. O'Connor believes that may be a direct result of a disappointing 2017 for the panel.

"I think Gerry and Donal (joint managers) are feeling a little bit of pressure. They had a great chance to win Munster last year, they were on the right side of the draw, got to the final and certainly didn't bring what the lads would have hoped to have brought, so I think they felt they needed to secure their Division 1A status."

"But Clare need to find players, they need to add a bit of depth to their squad - whether it's there or not I'm not too sure - but with two wins under their belt the pressure is off them so hopefully they'll be able to experiment a bit more from here on."

"So I wouldn't be too concerned about where Clare are at, I'd just like to see us experiment a little bit more and trying to find the depth that could handle 4 games in 5 weeks [in the Munster Championship]."

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