Jamesie O'Connor: Clare missing natural ball-winners

The Munster side beat Dublin yesterday in Division 1A, but O'Connor pointed out some issues with their performance

BY Cian Roche 10:23 Monday 13 March 2017, 10:23 13 Mar 2017

Image: ©INPHO/Tom Beary

Former Clare hurler Jamesie O'Connor says that the Banner County are missing natural ball winners in their squad that would help them compete with Kilkenny and All-Ireland champions Tipperary.

Clare ran out narrow winners over Dublin yesterday in the Allianz National Hurling League Division 1A, but O'Connor pointed out some of the faults in their performance and explained what they need to do to challenge for All-Ireland titles.

"You felt in the second half that Clare would have enough quality to win the game, but it took them until the very end to edge clear," he told Oisin Langan on Sunday's Off The Ball. "Likewise, there was a lot of aimless, directionless play from Clare.

"Tippy-tappy stuff and they'll probably consider themselves lucky to come out with the two points... They made heavy weather of it.

"We probably don't have the natural ball-winners that maybe Kilkenny and Tipperary have to compete all the time. 

"I think they were 0-5 to 0-3 up early in the first half and then lost their way in the second part of that first half. Dublin were full value for the 1-10 to 0-8 half-time lead."

O'Connor went on to say that that Clare's lack of goal chances didn't help their struggle to catch Dublin in the second half.

"One of the criticisms I would have had in recent years was that we didn't score enough goals. We didn't have enough of a goal threat.

"[Dublin]'s goal came from a horrendous mistake in the Clare half-back line. We never really looked as if we were going to create goal chances and certainly not to the level that Tipperary did against Kilkenny. That still is very much a work in progress."

Clare's Podge Collins with Ben Quinn of Dublin. Image: ©INPHO/Tom Beary

He also pointed out that Dublin had to make some improvements in their abilities on the ball, but that their effort was not to be faulted. 

"It was a very spirited performance. I'd be disappointed, if I was a Dublin supporter, by their use of the ball. That's what they have to improve on and it's what separates Tipperary and Kilkenny from everybody else.

"Dublin had a lot of possession in the first half with a very strong wind and yet we saw a lot of aimless shooting and a lot of balls going in over the inside forward lines' heads. Not giving Eamon Dillon or some of the inside forwards time to make things happen. 

"Dublin had wasted an amount of ball in that first half. There was a lot of aimless shooting." 

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