Clare midfielder Gary Brennan didn’t quite issue the almost obligatory apology to the travelling Banner support, but he came as near as makes no difference.
“Kerry fairly tore us apart,” he said ruefully. “ I feel bad for the Clare people who came down looking for a performance, because we certainly didn’t give them what we intended to.”
The captain reckoned Clare were in as good a shape physically and mentally as he could remember, and yet their semi-final challenge was stillborn.
“You give Kerry credit, but that was a long way off the intensity we intended to bring, and have brought to games in the past.
“I can’t put my finger on why that was the case, and there’s no doubt Kerry are in fine fettle with a lot of options, but that was well off from us.
“Maybe the fact that we are not exposed to Division One pace was an issue but we weren’t coming down to make up numbers or look for moral victories.”
His manager Colm Collins described the result as “terrible”, admitting: “You’d have to be totally disappointed with how we played.
“We were defending from behind, which you can’t do with quality forwards. It’s vital if you are going up against players of that calibre you have got to make the primary ball a contest, and we didn’t in too many areas.
“The times where we did win possession, instead of attacking we stopped and turned back and gave them time to reset. I’m just at a loss to explain that display.”
Collins said that the margin of the defeat was less relevant than the fact that Clare lost and didn’t perform.
They might have set up more defensively, but the visitors didn’t come to Killarney trying “not to lose”, he said.
“The margin, while terrible, doesn’t matter to me. We lost the game. You’ve got to try and win the game. But too many of our attacks were ponderous and slow. This is a really tough defeat, I’ve got to say I didn’t see it coming.”