*Colm Collins. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill
As far as the Clare players and officials are concerned Sunday’s national league division 2 fixture with Fermanagh, scheduled for Cusack Park at 1pm is going ahead.
Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have led to the shut down of activities within Fermanagh GAA and officials in that county have called on the authorities at Croke Park to postpone the game. That request has been rejected and Croke Park have ruled that the fixture will go ahead and this has led to suggestions that Fermanagh may not be in a position to field a team.
“From our point of view, we must assume that the game is going ahead and we have to prepare accordingly. It’s out of our control and its between the GAA and Fermanagh. Its important that we are totally focussed”, Clare manager Colm Collins told The Clare Echo this week.
He added, “We have three very important games in a three week period. We have to be aware of the schedule and take it one game at a time and focus on each one. We cannot get side tracked”.
As revealed by The Clare Echo last week, Clare have been boosted by the news that both Gary Brennan and Jamie Malone have rejoined the panel and since then Podge Collins has returned to the squad and came off the bench in their challenge match win over Galway last week. Éire Óg’s Aaron Fitzgerald has also returned to the panel, the defender missed the beginning of the League with a knee injury.
For Sunday’s game Clare must plan without Conal Ó hÁiniféin who is out due to a recurrence of a hamstring injury which has been troubling the Ruan man for some time. Kilmurry Ibrickane’s Dermot Coughlan is ruled out and is set to miss the entirety of the 2020 inter-county championship with a knee injury.
Otherwise Collins and his backroom team have a full squad from which to select for this important fixture. A victory will strengthen the Banner side’s chances of remaining in division 2.
“Division 2 is so competitive. There is nothing between the teams and every game is vital and this is no different”, according to the team boss. and to us. Hopefully we have prepared well enough”, he concluded.
Victory on Sunday will strengthen Clare’s chances of retaining division 2 status for 2021. The Banner side are due to face current league leaders Armagh in the final game of the campaign on Saturday week, a fixture which is also scheduled for Cusack Park. A week later they will travel to Semple Stadium in Thurles to take on Tipperary in the quarter final of the Munster championship.