I think I can safely say that neither Clare or Kilkenny were expecting Clare to put up such a performance yesterday in the NHL match. Clare, who only had a mediocre performance display during the course of the league, went down badly to Galway, in their first truely tough match (although many Laois supporters will quite rightly point out that Clare were luck to win their earlier game).
The lack of faith (based on what had been seen to date) probably also contributed to a very poor showing of Clare supporters in Nowlan Park. Those who did go are probably still flabbergasted at such a turn around in a team’s performance. Clare did no wrong yesterday. Lynch, Markham & Gilli all gave their best and beat Kilkenny in the first quarter of the game. No doubt the analysis is still going on in Kilkenny to figure out what went so badly wrong, but credit is due to a lot of their players for never giving up, even as thousands of fans left the pitch early. Walsh and Barry steered a lot of ball up to their forwards, but Clare’s midfield and backs were just too focussed to let the ball in too close. Kilkenny did break through with a last minute goal, but it was much too little too late.
For us supporters who did make the trip, it was a great reward indeed. Now for Waterford.. what will that bring? Was this a one-off? I don’t think so, but it’d be hard to sustain anywhere near yesterday’s performance. Time will tell.