By Daragh Ó Conchúir
Clare manager Ger O’Connell knows that his team must come away from Walsh Park tomorrow evening (Saturday – 5pm throw-in) with a win against Waterford if they are to keep their hopes of progressing in the Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Senior Camogie Championship alive.
To do that, O’Connell, his backroom staff and players must unlock the key to the conundrum that has been a failure to perform in the second-half of their games.
The first collapse came in the latter period of what turned into a 19-point defeat at the hands of All-Ireland champions Cork in the opening Group 2 tie.
They did respond well late on to a doughty Meath challenge to snatch the victory against Meath but having been just a point down at the break against Tipperary last weekend, the Bannerwomen rarely threatened after the resumption and lost by eight.
“It happens so often, it’s a recurring theme now at this stage, where we’re in games at half-time and for whatever reason – it has to be a mental thing because the talent is there… we’re seeing it in training, we’re seeing the effort the girls are putting it in and just for it not to show in the second half of games and to come out as flat as we did (against Tipperary again) is frustrating” O’Connell reflected.
“It’s the basics. There isn’t much between the teams. We were fumbling and that extra touch is killing us at the moment when we have to win it first time. It’s things we need to work on but the girls are good enough skill-wise but mentally, we need to keep on working at that and make them believe they’re really good enough to compete at this level.
“If we looked at every single first-half clip of every game we’ve played this year, you could pick 15 or 20 minutes out of every game. We need to bring that to be a complete second-half and complete game and we’re never going to win these tight games until we do.
“This Waterford game is a must-win. We have no choice but to come back with a different mentality and just go and have a right cut against Waterford because our season is on the line. It’s as simple as that.”