McInerney: 'No team would be happy with three years of bad hurling, so time to up it'
David McInerney is relishing the chance to work under Donal Óg Cusack - and the opportunity to disprove the notion that Clare are "one-season wonders".
The recent announcement that Cusack was linking up with Davy Fitzgerald's management team sent a surge of electricity through a Banner set-up that has short-circuited in spectacular fashion over the past two seasons
But if the spotlight is now firmly back on Clare, McInerney has no complaints. The pressure to reclaim the giddy All-Ireland heights of 2013 is a challenge to be embraced.
"We feel we have loads of potential but as you've seen in the past, if you're winning minor and U21 All-Irelands, it doesn't always translate to the senior," he pointed out yesterday.
"We don't want to be one-hit wonders and we really want to have a good year next year. To get there it's going to take an awful lot of work, but we're ready to do it hopefully," he added.
The 2013 All Star defender was speaking at the launch of the Hurling Development Action Plan for 2015-18.
While the long-term strategy is to increase participation levels, playing opportunities and standards in all counties, especially the weaker ones, McInerney belongs to an elite squad needing to up its game instantly.
"We do need to do something next year. Some of the older lads will be biting at the bit because they might be coming to an end," he admitted.
"We're a very young team but three years in-a-row of bad hurling ... even if Kilkenny had three bad years in-a-row, any team would be disappointed. So obviously next year we really want to put the shoulder to the wheel."
Yet McInerney dismissed the idea that this puts extra pressure on Clare, declaring: "Moving forward with all the changes, I'm more excited than feeling under pressure."
The Clare panel has yet to experience any of Cusack's coaching insights, their one encounter with the Corkman coming as part of a "meet-and-greet" with Fitzgerald's revamped backroom team.
"I only found out Donal was coming on board by listening to my local radio, and I got an awful shock when I heard it. But I think it's a good positive move," McInerney ventured. "The whole country is talking about it at the moment - two passionate men to have in your dressing-room and both high levels of expertise."
That expertise will, surely, focus on the statistical dip in Clare's hook, block and tackle count since 2013.
"Our workrate definitely has to come up more," the full-back accepted. "I suppose in 2014, that winter we didn't do much training, we had our holiday in January, and we came back and we were kind of still in a euphoric state, and maybe our workrate wasn't as good as it should have been. And then last year, they (the stats) were down a small bit but I thought they were on the rise."
Come January, though, the bar must keep on rising.