ONE POINT SHORT at the last hurdle before the football riches of the Super 8s.
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It was another towering display of effort from Clare yesterday in Portlaoise but they just could not quite reel in Meath.
The hurt felt by manager Colm Collins at this loss was apparent but he saluted the input of his players in this Round 4 qualifier.
Clare boss Colm Collins near the end of the loss to Meath.
Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO
“When you lose a one point game you always feel like you left it behind, that’s the problem. In fairness I suppose if we were to be truthful Meath probably edged it on the day.
“You’re always a bit sorry about some of those chances at the end. They gave it everything. Absolutely devastated to lose, they died with their boots on. Very proud of the players the way they performed and the way they stood up. Just very disappointed that the result went the wrong way.
“Whilst you’d be devastated with the result, in the sense that we really felt getting to the Super 8s was so important to us, it just wasn’t to be. The only kind of mitigating thing about it was that the lads gave everything and put in a great shift. The only thing that you kind of dread with a team is that they don’t perform and to be fair they did perform.”
Collins paid particular tribute to the long-serving stalwarts of the Clare setup like defender Gordon Kelly, midfielder Gary Brennan and attacker David Tubridy.
Clare’s Gary Brennan in action against Meath’s Graham Reilly.
“These fellas every day they go out, they give so much to Clare. They’re a pleasure to deal with. They’re such professionals. They’re the reason this team has been very competitive. There’s great credit due to them, the Clare people should be proud of them.”
Collins, the third longest-serving inter-county manager in the country after Mickey Harte and Jim Gavin, will not be rushing into any decision about the 2020 season.
“What we’re going to do now is keep our powder dry. I don’t think that making decisions on the back of a championship defeat is the right thing to do. I’ll just see and give it a bit of time.”
Brennan shared the sense of disappointment felt by his manager.
“We’re gutted. We were close to it but we just weren’t good enough. We got back to Round 4 again, hadn’t been there since 2016 and the last 12. But ultimately it’s hugely disappointing today and it’ll take a while before we take any great pride in it.
“We were concerning them but we never had them panicking. We just didn’t create as much in the second half I felt as we did in the first. Turnovers similar to last week, we were just coughing the ball up and it was costing us.”
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