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Ger Loughnane bemoans lack of quality in Clare after defeat against Antrim

“In my judgement, you would struggle to find five Banner players of top-class intercounty quality.”

Former Clare manager Ger Loughnane said he was not surprised following Antrim’s 1-21 to 0-22 win over Clare on Sunday.

Loughnane is very much a legendary figure in hurling circles. He was in charge of his native Clare when they won All-Ireland titles in 1995 and 1997.

However, he has been critical of the Clare county board for a few years now and yesterday’s defeat was of no surprise to Loughnane.

Ger Loughnane on Clare after Antrim defeat.

Writing in the Irish Daily Star on Monday, Loughnane remarked how the Munster side are facing a crisis.

“I have been warning for a long time that we are facing a massive crisis here in Clare. We haven’t won an Under-21 game in five years and are being beaten by an average of 12 points.

“The players coming through are genuine but the quality is very, very low in my eyes. We saw the skill and pace of major teams across the weekend and Clare just do not have players of that speed or physicality.

“In my judgement, you would struggle to find five Banner players of top-class intercounty quality,” Loughnane wrote.

Ger Loughnane’s relegation fear.

The former Clare and Galway boss reckons his team could drop down to second-tier competition Joe McDonagh Cup, when Tony Kelly retires and feels that his warnings have been ignored by people within the county.

“People have been warning that Clare could be a Joe McDonagh Cup team when the day comes that Kelly is not there. The biggest problem is that there are so few people in the county able to judge the standard and realise that this is the situation – and none of them are in the County Board!

“I have been warning about this for two years but people just ignore it. Steps have been taken but, for the immediate future, Clare’s prospects are grim. It could be a very embarrassing year,” he said.

On Sunday Clare face Wexford, who are managed by their former manager Davy Fitzgerald, whose father Pat is the Clare secretary. It will be a game worth tuning into.

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