2013 All-Ireland winner and final goalscorer Darach Honan talks about Clare’s win over Wexford, their hopes against Waterford, his memories of playing against the Deise, his bet on Tony Kelly, and what Brian Lohan has brought to the table.
BY GERARD BROWNE
2013 All-Ireland goalscoring hero Darach Honan relieves that Clare are not a one-man team.
Huge focus has been placed on Tony Kelly in light of his recent scoring heroics, with the Ballyea man registering 1-45 in the championship clashes with Limerick, Laois and Wexford.
Brian Lohan’s side have had to go the back-door route after losing their Munster opener to the Treaty, limping past Eddie Brennan’s charges before their comprehensive win over the Model County last weekend.
The Banner face Waterford in the All-Ireland SHC quarter-final on Saturday at Páirc Úi Chaoimh, and Honan insists there is more to this Clare team than the former Under-21 All-Ireland winning captain.
“Tony is having a sensational season, but I don’t see it as an one-man team at all,” says the Clonlara club man.
“In terms of players who have impressed me, one is Rory Hayes at corner-back. He brings a huge amount of energy and physicality.
“People have highlighted Shane O’Donnell in how effective he has been winning the ball, setting up scores and winning frees.
“I do see another forward putting up a big score (against Waterford) and making a name for himself.”
Kelly is enjoying a brilliant campaign, and Honan jokes he wants the 26-years-old to get Player of the Year as he “placed a bet on him at 50/1 last week”.
The 2013 All-Ireland winner played with the Ballyea man for six years and he is still blown away by his form.
“I’m surprised at the level he is playing at because it is so consistent game after game”, Honan continues.
“I’ve always known how good he was but to be able to do this three games in a row is almost unheard of.
“It could be the best season anybody ever had if he continues in this form for the remaining games.”
Manager Lohan is in his first year at the helm and the two-time All Star is without several key players due to injury and other commitments.
This has lead to David McInerney (suspended against Wexford) operating at midfield but Honan feels the Tulla player is better served further back the pitch.
“I’ve always wanted to see David at centre-back or at least in the half-back line,” the 2009 Under-21 All-Ireland winner states.
“That’s personally where I would play him but I don’t think Brian is going to do.
“Stephen O’Keeffe went long with his puck-outs the last day and you need a physical half-back line to dominate those balls.”
Despite winning their last two games, Clare the 15/8 underdogs with the bookmakers, while Waterford are priced at 1/2.
Honan, who made his championship debut versus the Déise in 2010, is confident Clare’s recent good results can be the difference on Saturday.
“That momentum they had over the last two weeks will be influential on them and Waterford are coming off the back of a lose,” he continues.
“They’re improving with every game and are really starting to find their feet.”
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