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*The Clare minor hurling management. Back Row (L-R): James Carrig, Barry Coffey, Pa McEvoy, John O’Meara. Front row (L-R): Alan Duggan, Oisin O’Brien, Terence Chaplin.

Clare have been handed a difficult task in the opening round of the Munster under 17 hurling championship in which they play Cork at Semple Stadium in Thurles on Wednesday evening next (July 14) at 7.30p.m.

Two years ago Cork won the Munster U15 A and B competitions and the majority of the players involved then will make up the Leesiders panel next week.

Clare have to plan for this campaign without four players who are part of their panel. Liam Kavanagh (Éire Óg), midfield in last year’s team and Michael Nash (Doora-Barefield), also a member of last year’s panel are both ruled out with long term injuries.

Kavanagh recently had surgery on a groin injury while Nash is recovering from a cruciate injury while also ruled out of next week’s tie are Sam Scanlan of Clooney-Quin and Sam Meaney from Wolfe Tones.

“Facing into the championship without these four is a blow”, according to team manager Terence Chaplin from Sixmilebridge who was part of last year’s backroom team under then manager Brian Coffey from the Banner club.

“We are looking for a performance to match the work that the lads have put in both during the lockdown and since we were allowed back to collective training. The players have applied themselves excellently, via zoom during the lockdown and since we returned to action. It’s nine weeks since we were allowed to return to training and it’s been just five weeks since we were allowed to have challenge games”, according to the manager who added that challenge games against Kilkenny, Galway, Offaly and Dublin have been played.

Inagh-Kilnamona’s Sean Rynne has been appointed as team captain with Tulla’s Tony Leyden as vice captain. Rynne is challenging for a place at midfield or in attack while Leyden is expected to feature in defence.

Adam Enright from Newmarket-on-Fergus and Seamie O’Donnell from Feakle-Killanena are battling for the goalkeeper’s position.

Chasing a place in defence are Shane Woods, (Inagh-Kilnamona), a survivor from last year’s panel, Ronan O’Connor, (Feakle), Diarmuid Stritch, (Clonlara), Ricky Wynne (Inagh-Kilnamona), and vice captain Tony Leyden.

Chasing starting places further afield are Niall O’Farrell, (Broadford) and James Doherty (Clarecastle) two more survivors from last year’s panel, Calum Hassett, (Clooney-Quin) and the team captain, Sean Rynne,

Manager Chaplin is joined in the backroom team by James Carigg, (Newmarket-on-Fergus) Oisin O’Brien, (Clonlara), Barry Coffey (Ballyea), John O’Meara, (Sixmilebridge) while Alan Duggan (O’Callaghans Mills) is the goalkeeping coach with Pa McEvoy (Ennistymon) in charge of strength and conditioning.

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