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Conlon on Clare's Championship win | "It was great rolling back the years"


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Clare's John Conlon produced a man-of-the-match display as the Banner beat Waterford by 1-22 to 21 points in the Munster championship.

A Tony Kelly penalty propelled Clare to an upset victory over last year's All Ireland finalists.

Brian Lohan's men will now face Tipperary in Limerick next Sunday on the road for what they hope will be a first Munster title in 23 years.

Clonlara club man Conlon missed the whole of 2020 with a serious knee injury. He put that behind him today with a dominant performance from centre-back.

Speaking to OTB's Daithi Boland, Conlon was delighted to be back in the cauldron of a Championship match.

"I hadn't played a Championship game in nearly two years. It was just great to be out in Thurles, on a summer's day in June. The birthday this week - I was 32 - so it was great rolling back the years, expressing yourself. That's what we said as a team coming down - 'Just give it a go - and go for it' - we've been doing that for the last number of weeks and morale and the bond within the group has really been growing."

Conlon says the foundation of their win at Semple Stadium was preparation.

"Testament to the management, we finished up last October and November. Within a month we were back doing gym work on our own through zoom. It was tough nights, doing things through zoom and being sent out individual running programmes. That's a testament to the management. They structured everything until we came back in April. We spent four months training on our own, but it was really enjoyable and we all came back in serious shape."

In 2013, Conlon was in the forward line as Clare won the All-Ireland title.

A bit like Limerick's Declan Hannon, he's now anchoring the team from centre back and he's enjoying the adjustment.

"It's different - a different scenario, but my Dad always used to say it's easier to make a back than a forward. It's nicer to be facing the ball. There will be different challenges along the way. I had challenges in the League at different times and it's just trying to sit down, do your video analysis and see how you can improve. Game by game I have been improving and so has the team.

"We are in a good place, but we know next week against Tipperary it will be a massive challenge again."


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