By Paul O'Neill
Clare camogie manager Colm Honan is happy to keep the family in the hunt for some All-Ireland glory this year after his son Darach's disappointment with the county hurlers.
The Banner ladies face Tipperary in their Group 2 encounter in Sixmilebridge on Saturday.
Colm has had to live in Darach's shadows on the Gaelic games front a lot recently – especially following Clare's success in landing the All-Ireland Hurling title last season.
But the Banner County's hopes of retaining the top prize in the game were dashed last week when they were beaten by Wexford in a dramatic All-Ireland qualifier replay which went to extra-time.
Colm was unable to attend that game as he was involved in the Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Camogie Championship clash between Clare and Kilkenny on the same day.
However while Clare – who have never won the All-Ireland – crashed to a defeat to Kilkenny, they are still on course for a spot in the knockout stages ahead of their final game in Group 2 against Tipperary on Saturday.
Colm, though, still knows it will be tough to match Darach's achievement of last year.
"The Clare hurlers were outstanding last season and it was unfortunate that they did not manage to build on it this time," declared Colm.
"They did their best in both games against Wexford but I think the effort of the lads in trying to cope with having two players sent off in the replay left them drained – particularly in extra-time.
"Darach was understandably disappointed with the loss but they are a young squad and will bounce back. I am sure of that."
And he went on: "We are delighted with how the camogie side have fared so far in the championship but it remains to be seen how it will pan out for us in the end.
"When you get into the knockout part then anything could happen because it is a 50-50 situation and it is all about what happens on the day in question.
"For the moment all we are thinking about is the Tipperary game and trying to get a win. But that will not be easy because while they have lost all of their games, they will be anxious to finish off with a victory."
A draw against neighbours Tipperary at Sixmilebridge will be enough to guarantee that Clare take second place in the final table.
The Banner have been one of the most improved teams in the Championship in recent years, making significant progress since opting to re-join the senior ranks for the 2009 campaign.
And Colm – a former inter-county hurler who bagged two National League medals with Clare in the 70s – puts a lot of that down to the impressive work which has been done at underage level in the county.
He admitted: "The county side has come on a lot but it has not been easy.
"I could see before I came on board ahead of this season the work that was going into trying to help the game in general in Clare and now I am the manager I can appreciate it more.
"There is an excellent coaching structure in place to develop players from quite a young age and many who have benefited from that have progressed to the senior squad.
"We have a fine mix of players who have been around at this level for a few years and others who are quite new and they are all focused on what we are trying to do.
"The National League in general went well in that we made it to the final, although we suffered a heavy defeat to Kilkenny in it.
"Thankfully we have bounced back since then and, heading into the Championship, our main target was to get into the last six.
"But we still have work to do and we will aim to drive on in the coming years and look to stay competitive."
Clare's prospects for the closing stages of the campaign have been boosted by the return to fitness of Eimear Considine. After missing the first two games with a knee injury she suffered in the league decider, Considine made her comeback when Colm handed her a place in the starting line-up that faced Kilkenny last week.
He said: "It is great to have Eimear back because she is such a talented player.
"When she picked up the knock it looked very serious and we feared she would be side-lined for a long time but thankfully it was just a slight ligament strain and she was not out for too much."