*Aidan McCarthy in action against Gordon Kelly. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill
After eight months without games, GAA clubs throughout the country will return to the playing fields for competitive action on this June bank holiday Monday.
In Clare first round games in Divisions 1, 2 and 3 of the football leagues will go ahead along with the opening games in the new division 7 which involves six clubs that will be competing at this level for the first time.
The game of the day in the Cusack Cup (Division 1) sees near neighbours and arch rivals, Kilmurry Ibrickane and St Josephs Miltown clash at Quilty at 3.30p.m.
Aiden Moloney continues at the helm with county champions Kilmurry and this year he is joined by former Kilkee and Clare player David Russell while Michael Neylon has returned to the manager’s role with his native Miltown.
With inter county senior and under 20 panellists not available to the clubs, there will be an opportunity for players to stake a claim for places come championship.
Éire Óg and Ennistymon clash at the Ennis club’s venue and both have new coaches this year. Kilmurry Ibrickane’s Odran O’Dwyer is coaching Ennistymon this year while former Limerick player, Seanie Buckley is part of Paul Madden’s management team at Éire Óg.
Donie Garrihy will take his St. Breckans team to Ballynacally to take on Clondegad and both teams are keen to win silverware and this should be a close fought affair.
The remaining game in this group sees Doonbeg host Kildysart and both these teams are also under new management. When they met last year Kildysart scored a narrow win but with home advantage Doonbeg will be determined to reverse that this time around.
In Division 2 intermediate champions St. Josephs Doora/Barefield travel to Labasheeda to face Shannon Gaels while county senior semi-finalists last year.
Lissycasey will take on Kilrush at Kilrush. Cooraclare, another of the clubs under new management this year, will entertain Corofin while the remaining game in the race for the Garry Cup will see Kilmihil entertain O’Currys.
First round games in Division 3 will see Killimer, Coolmeen, St. Senans Kilkee and Kilfenora with home advantage against Wolfe Tones, Cratloe, Ennistymon and Naomh Eoin.