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Outburst planned in advance.

THE man who gave Ger Loughnane the gallery to shoot his way into more trouble with officialdom has revealed that the controversial interview was set up last week.

Fears in Clare that a small local crowd were travelling to Croke Park on Sunday concerned the Banner management. And to a address their concerns it was decided between Clare FM's head of sport Colm O'Connor and county board secretary Pat Fitzgerald that an interview with Loughnane might help change the supporters minds.

But Kerryman O'Connor, who went through the agenda with Loughnane prior to the 90-minute broadcast, didn't expect the fireworks to light up the skies as much as they did in the aftermath.

Loughnane is a regular contributor to Clare FM's sports programmes.

"He comes on before all matches and I would say I enjoy a particularly good relationship with him," admitted O'Connor.

"We knew he was going to come out strong and in fact I rang a number of Munster Council officials, including Fr Gardiner to let them know it was coming. Really the interview was set up between myself and Pat Fitzgerald on the Friday before any controversy had blown up.

"At that stage there was no indication of any suspension to Colin Lynch being decided upon as Ger suggested.

"Ger had decided to come on at such length to persuade fans to travel in numbers to Croke Park. He felt that maybe they were taking this one for granted and it concerned him," said O'Connor.

Only the Hogan Stand has been designated as a ticket only area. It's pay at the stiles for all other parts of the ground and that could cause problems due to the increased numbers expected to travel on the back of this latest explosive controversy.

"It was aimed more at motivating the fans than the players," O'Connor felt. "You would have to ask Ger whether he felt it was a propaganda exercise or not," he said.

Loughnane and his sidekicks use psychological warfare prior to most matches.

Before the Munster final replay selector Tony Considine had a swipe at Waterford manager Gerald McCarthy, accusing him of playing a part in PJ O'Connell's sending off.

Last year Clare had a psychological blinder before the Munster final when they stirred memories of how some Tipp players derided them during their heavy '93 Munster final defeat.

Rarely do the current All-Ireland champions go out on to a hurling field without a new motive. Against Cork earlier this year they used their semi- final battering at the hands of the Rebels to stoke them up.

Against Waterford it was the O'Connell incident and an early flare-up that set them up for a spectacular win.
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Copyright 1998 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Sport
Author:Keys, Colm
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Aug 7, 1998
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