*Shane Bennett and Jack Browne in action. Photograph: Martin Connolly
Clare will renew acquaintances with Waterford’s senior hurlers in the Munster senior hurling championship.
A quarter-final tie awaits Brian Lohan’s side when they do battle with Waterford’s Liam Cahill. The sides met in last year’s All-Ireland series but this will be their first provincial meeting since 2019 when the then managed Donal Moloney and Gerry O’Connor side recorded a 1-20 0-22 victory in Walsh Park.
Winners of this tie will advance to face Liam Sheedy’s Tipperary in the Munster semi-final. It is expected that neutral venues will be used for all contests in the Munster SHC this year. Counties that lose out in their opening encounters will be able to avail of the qualifiers.
Although Brian Lohan’s charges exited the Munster championship last year with a ten point loss to Limerick, they bounced back in the qualifiers recording wins over Laois and Wexford to advance to the quarter-finals where All-Ireland finalists Waterford prevailed 3-27 3-18.
Clare will resume collective training on Tuesday night for the first time of 2021. The return of the Galvin brothers, Colm and Ian to this year’s panel plus the return from injury of Clonlara’s John Conlon is seen as a big boost already for Lohan and his management team of Ken Ralph, James Moran and Sean Treacy.
Harty Cup winning captain Cian Galvin, All-Ireland minor doubles handball winner Mark Rodgers, dual-player Shane Meehan, Broadford’s Paddy Donnellan and Darragh Lohan of Wolfe Tones were all added to the training panel ahead of last year’s championship. This year, they are joined by All-Ireland U21 winner Cian Nolan of Smith O’Briens, ex Clare footballer Aaron Fitzgerald and Crusheen’s Ross Hayes.
All-Ireland winners Aaron Cunningham and Cathal McInerney confirmed to The Clare Echo at the end of 2020 that they had opted not to be a part of the panel for 2021. Similarly, three-time All-Ireland U21 winner and 2013 All-Ireland champion Seadna Morey is no longer part of the squad.
This year, the trophy on offer in the Munster Senior Hurling championship has been named after Limerick great Mick Mackey.
Clare v Waterford
Limerick v Cork
Tipperary v Clare/Waterford