Despite trailing at half-time by four points, Davy Fitzgerald always felt his Clare side could turn things around against Waterford in the Munster SHC quarter-final clash at Semple Stadium.
In the end, the Banner prevailed on a 2-20 to 1-15 scoreline to register their first win in the province since 2008.
Despite starting the game well, Clare went a long period in the opening half without scoring and Waterford’s lead at the break should have been greater.
The resumption saw the Déise continue to dominate, but this did not translate on the scoreboard. A Shane O’Donnell goal settled Clare and they eventually ran out comfortable winners.
Fitzgerald did have few things to say to his side at half-time, but it wasn’t a case of panic.
He told RTÉ Sport: “Even though we were down by four at half-time I didn’t feel we were in trouble. At the break, we rectified a few things and thankfully we kicked on in the second half against a Waterford team who, as usual, were tough.
“Again, we conceded a soft goal, but it was only one. In saying that, I thought our defence was good all day. Once we settled down and played the way we can play we did okay. Yes, we have a lot of improving to do, but I was proud of the way we acquitted ourselves when we did hurl.”
"Even though we were down by four at half-time I didn’t feel we were in trouble" - Davy Fitzgerald
The Clare boss did admit there was pressure on the team ahead of the match, but added it was not something that was going to distract the squad.
He explained: “There was a lot of pressure on the team – seeing that it’s been five years since the last win in Munster. I could not understand how we were made warm favourites in the minds of some.
"I said to the lads, we’ll just accept that tag and get on with it. The squad has eight or nine player under the age of 22 and it’s all about a process that will take us where we want to be. We’re just happy now to still be in the Munster Championship.
Fitzgerald is now looking ahead to the semi-final clash with Cork. “Cork are waiting in the long grass for us. I have a lot of respect for the way the play. It’s going to be a ding dong battle.”