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*Clare captain Clare Hehir. Photograph: Ryan Byrne / Inpho

HEADING IN AS UNDERDOGS to the Munster senior camogie final against Cork in their own patch is a barrier that is not fazing Clare joint manager, Conor Dolan.

Páirc Uí Rinn will host Saturday’s double-header with Clare’s junior side squaring off with Waterford at 4pm before the seniors do battle with Cork at 6pm.

On the sounding of the final whistle of Clare’s semi-final replay win over Tipperary, their qualification for the decider was greeted by speculation that a venue change would be sought seeing as they would be facing Cork on Leeside.

This was quickly put to bed by Dolan. “A pitch is a pitch, this is our fifth competitive game today, we’ve played twice in Cusack Park, twice in the Gaelic Grounds and in Semple Stadium, Páirc Uí Rinn is going to be a great pitch and I’d prefer to be playing in a pitch like that rather than some cabbage patch, we will cherish the days in the big grounds”.

Advancing to the provincial final brought delight to the Meelick native. “It wasn’t as good as game as last weekend but I don’t care one bit because it is a results business, we needed a big win, we’ve got the big win but we’ve won nothing and we’re looking forward to a Munster final and will probably be out for the next five or six weekends in a row”.

Facing the challenge of playing four weekends in a succession is as much a difficulty for players as a headache for management. “It’s how we manage them in between, keeping them fresh and working on their touch, there is no problem working on their fitness levels but it is keeping them ticking for the next couple of weeks,” he said.

Their involvement with the Juniors leads to a major overlap which in reality means only eighteen seniors are available for selection unless they decide to use someone from the junior side. “We are slightly restricted but we’re also down ten players from last year’s team, there’s girls on the Junior panel that I’ve no doubt that will be senior players in time to come but it is a learning curve for them, we don’t want to throw them in the deep end, it’s happened for too long in Clare camogie where girls are thrown into the deep end, now we’re letting them get a bit of experience at junior level, hopefully it will be intermediate level next year and push on then”.

Speaking to The Clare Echo, Dolan acknowledged that the county being in senior, junior and minor Munster finals in the one year is “huge”. “Getting to the finals to start with is a massive statement for the year, we’ve ticked a couple of boxes but at the end of the day we will be judged on the championship and that’s what it all boils down to. It is great to be looking forward to a Munster final in senior and junior but really it’s all about championship”.

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