FORMER CORK GOALKEEPER and ex-Clare hurling coach Dónal Óg Cusack believes that the Banner have the potential to be crowned All-Ireland senior hurling champions.

Donal Moloney and Gerry O’Connor’s charges held on to beat Waterford by a single point at Walsh Park yesterday, opening their Munster campaign on a winning note.

They survived a late fightback to come out on top by the minimum, with Tony Kelly and Peter Duggan among many to impress. Shane O’Donnell looked sharp upon his return after an absence during the league, as did John Conlon, and the attacking duo combined to cause havoc up front at times.

Speaking on The Sunday Game last night, Cusack shared how impressed he was with the side who last tasted Liam McCarthy success in 2013.

“Clare have a terrific team,” the RTÉ pundit said.

“I’d say a couple of things about them: I think their potential is to win the All-Ireland. I know they’ll be focusing themselves on a Munster champiosnhip because Clare have won so few Munster championships, and they haven’t won one in so long.

“But I think for a team like that it’d be a travesty if they don’t win more All-Irelands. One of the reasons I went there was I fully believed they had that potential. I still believe they have it. 

'It'd be a travesty if they didn't win more All-Irelands' – .@DonalOgC on the potential of the Clare hurlers. #rtegaa #sundaygame pic.twitter.com/Ru0o0EOTAX

— RTÉ GAA (@RTEgaa) May 12, 2019

“The other thing is a lot of those players are only coming into their prime now. A lot of them came to national recognition when they were 21, 22. But I know from my own career and dealing with players, you only really start coming into your prime when you’re 25, 26, 27. I think there’s great potential.”

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The three-time All-Ireland winner added on their 1-20 to 0-22 win: “I think they’ll be very happy with today.

“I know it was a one-point win in the end and they’ll probably be slightly worried with the way that they let Waterford back into the game, but I’d imagine going home, they’ll be very satisfied.”

Cusack helped Clare to National Hurling League glory in 2016 under Davy Fitzgerald, and spent two seasons in his coaching role there.

He resigned in 2017 after it emerged he wrote a character reference for former Irish Times journalist Tom Humphries. 

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