“I’ve been saying that to the backs, just be composed, use the ball well and I think we have.”
Clare hurling star John Conlon was excellent at centre-back during his side’s victory over Waterford on Sunday.
Conlon played as a forward throughout his hurling career but made the transition to defence at the start of the campaign.
Speaking after his side’s 1-22 to 0-21 win, Conlon spoke about playing at centre-back and how it compares to the forward-line.
John Conlon won an All-Ireland with Clare in 2013.
“In the first two weeks, every time I won a ball I was trying to get out through, play like a forward and take the man on,” Conlon said.
“Sometimes in the backs you’ve to think – you’re not always going to get out so you’ve to try and think a bit differently and sometimes be composed on the ball and see what your options are.
“Being a forward, I’m not afraid to hit shots or hit passes. Often a back will get a nosebleed if he goes too far. That won’t happen to me anyway!
“I’ve been saying that to the backs, just be composed, use the ball well and I think we have. We’ve been going between short and long. We’re varying it up which is great so it’s very hard to close us down.”
Clare have not won a Munster championship since 1998.
The Munster round-robin format was deployed in 2018 and 2019 where every team faced each other in those years.
The last two seasons have seen knock-out provincial championships reinstated due to the pandemic.
Conlon is a fan of the round-robin competition but also spoke of the strengths of the knock-out competition as every game is very intense.
“I love the new Munster round-robin format. It’s week-on-week, that’s what you want to be playing, you want to be playing games,” he said.
“I know that this year now it’s going to be tight again, you’re going to be nearly playing week-on-week again because of the short time frame.
“The old format was great but sometimes it’s great to have that kind of cutting edge to a championship game as well and that showed out there today.”
John Conlon praised Mike Carmody’s work with Clare.
Brian Lohan has brought in Mike Carmody as a fitness coach and Conlon praised the work that Carmody has done with the team.
“They brought in Mike Carmody this year as a kind of running coach. Everything was tracked to the tee and personally, I’ve never been as fit in my life from the work that he’s done with us,” the Clare hurler said.
Clare now face Tipperary in the Munster hurling championship semi-final and that game will take place at 3:45 pm on Sunday.