McManus lays it on the line for Clare in impressive Sunday Game debut
Not standing on ceremony. Not afraid of sharing an opinion or three. Reputations did not matter a jot.
Only one Clare player escaped the verbal onslaught from Neil mcManus.
McManus and his Antrim side were on the receiving end against Westmeath in the Joe McDonagh Cup, on Saturday. 24 hours later and McManus shrugged off that disappointment, on a personal level, with an impressive punditry debut on The Sunday Game.
Sitting in studio with host Joanne Cantwell and with hurling legends Donal Og Cusack and Anthony Daly, McManus stole the show with his refreshing brand of honesty and acute analysis.
Ahead of the double-header of televised Munster SHC fixtures, there was a lively debate on the McDonagh Cup, its' structure and its' legacy. McManus tore into some of the inherent flaws in the competition and the fact that Carlow are relegated from Leinster while winless Waterford survive in Munster.
"If I'm in Carlow today, I'm absolutely livid," McManus declared. He also called on the GAA to properly fund the perceived smaller hurling counties and touched on the stack of money Dublin hurling got when Daly - sitting four feet away from him - was in charge of their hurlers.
'If I'm in Carlow today, I'm absolutely livid' - The panel of Neil McManus, Donal Óg Cusack, and Anthony Daly debate the Joe McDonagh Cup and whether the system helps teams improve pic.twitter.com/Qh38pBaVrj
— RTÉ GAA (@RTEgaa) June 9, 2019
Once the games got underway, McManus showed his mettle as an analyst as he touched on TJ Reid's attacking genius, and how Galway swarmed Kilkenny for 50 minutes to set the platform for a highly entertaining victory.
The second televised game of the day was not anywhere near as close and McManus was not shy in, like the Limerick forwards, cutting a beleagured Clare to ribbons. Touching on the Banner's last All-Ireland triumph, McManus declared:
"2013 is a long time ago. Today, they were nowhere near the level they needed to be. Even physically, it looked like Limerick came here to boss this and they were going to win, no matter what. It looked like Clare came here kind of hoping they would win, and that will get you nowhere in the Munster championship.
"They've been found out in the rounds of the Munster championship to date, haven't they? They're not at the level that Cork, Limerick or Tipperary are."
Neil McManus says Clare "have been found out" and are "not at the level that Cork, Tipp or Limerick are". "There is no hiding from what we saw out there", agrees Anthony Daly. #GAA pic.twitter.com/poo56w7mnM
— The Sunday Game (@TheSundayGame) June 9, 2019
McManus' presence on the panel went down a treat with viewers:
Neil McManus a welcome addition on the panel @TheSundayGame. Some very good pieces of analysis and articulating himself very well.
— James McKeon (@jamesjmckeon) June 9, 2019
— Brendan McSweeney (@BrendanMcS_93) June 9, 2019
And there was this too...
Let's hope we see the Antrim forward again, and again, this summer.