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John Cleary eyes Cork win against Clare to mirror 2023 'bounce'

John Cleary believes a win against Clare on Saturday could "change the narrative" for the Cork footballers this summer.

Last year, the Leesiders entered the All-Ireland series off the back of a first championship loss against their Munster rivals in 26 years.

But an opening victory over Louth proved the springboard for a Rebel resurgence, which carried them past Mayo and Roscommon and into the All-Ireland quarter-finals.

Their 2024 form is steady but one win could turbocharge their season. With Donegal and Tyrone to come, early momentum is key.

"Our aim is to get off the ground and get two points. I do think it changes the narrative for the season if we can. We'll be going up there all guns blazing," said Cleary.

On his side's performance in the group stage in 2023 Cleary said: "The key to our bounce last year was winning the first game. We got two points against Louth and we came home with a bounce in the step. That's the way it'll be for either ourselves or Clare. Whoever wins at the weekend will get a great bounce off it.

"If we can win at the weekend, it takes a bit of pressure off. You can probably play with a bit more freedom and maybe do things that you might not do if real pressure is on.

"It's very important to win the first game, we realise that, and that's what we'll be trying our utmost to do at the weekend."

The motivation heading up to Ennis is self-evident. Cleary doesn't need to remind players of their one-point defeat to the Banner last year.

"That was the one result that we felt really hurt last year. If they had forgotten about it, the very fact we were drawn against Clare again will bring it back and hopefully we can use it to our advantage on Saturday evening.

"When we went there last year, Clare were really