*Mark Rodgers in action for UL. Photograph: Sport Action Photography

CLARE WILL BE WELL REPRESENTED with a total of 27 hurlers involved with Fitzgibbon Cup panels across the country.

University of Limerick (UL) will be hotly tipped to retain their title as champions. Of their six Clare representatives, four are part of Brian Lohan’s county senior hurling panel.

Injury ruled Mark Rodgers out of last season’s final win but the Scariff man who is the final year of his technology management course is set to be a key component of their attack for this campaign. His clubmate Patrick Crotty, a second year student in electronic and computer engineering was captain of UL’s Freshers side that claimed All-Ireland glory and will be hoping to make his Fitzgibbon Cup debut.

Smith O’Briens Mike Gough was corner back for UL on their way to success last season and the Killaloe man who is studying to become a PE and Geography teacher will likely continue in the same spot. Pressing for the same jersey is Wolfe Tones’ Darragh Lohan who had previously represented Mary Immacualte College in the competition and is now completing a masters of education.

Both Killian McDermott of Clarecastle and Clonlara’s Colm O’Meara who are doing the Bachelor of Arts are also part of the very competitive UL panel.

Diarmuid Ryan. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

All Star nominee, Diarmuid Ryan will form a central pillar of the Mary Immaculate College side. The Cratloe man who is in the first year of a postgraduate degree is joined by Banner’s Shane Meehan, Diarmuid Cahill of Corofin and Shane Punch from Ruan, all of whom are training to become teachers. While Ryan and Meehan are seen as sure starters, both Cahill and Punch have been in flying form for Corofin/Ruan in the U21A hurling championship.

A total of eight Clare hurlers are involved with TUS Midwest (formerly LIT). Aron Shanagher of Wolfe Tones is the most experienced of the lot with the precision engineering student joined by fellow county panellists Cian Broderick, Robin Mounsey and Paddy Donnellan. Clonlara’s Daniel Moloney, Clarecastle defender David Tuohy and Broadford duo David Boland and Oisin Kavanagh are all part of Jimmy Browne’s panel.

Lorcan Fitzpatrick. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

As ever, a strong Banner link is visible in the ranks of the University of Galway. After making his mark in this year’s Clare SHC for Sixmilebridge, third year corporate law student Lorcan Fitzpatrick will offer a physical option in attack. Éire Óg’s Darren O’Brien a third year commerce student will look to showcase his ability as will Tubber defender Joey Droney and Crusheen trio Diarmuid Mullins, Éanna McMahon and Tadhg Dean.

Scariff’s Seamus McCaul who is in his second year of a social sciences degree in UCD is part of his college’s panel. Enda Madden from Feakle is involved with ATU Galway while Sixmilebridge’s Cian Gleeson is pushing for inclusion in the Maynooth Univeristy set-up.

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