*Declan McMahon. Photograph: John Meyler
Former St. Senan’s Kilkee and Clare player David Russell is in his second season at the helm at Cooraclare, he and his backroom team are looking forward to making a greater impression this season.
Manager: David Russell
Selectors: Michael Corry, Paddy Harvey Charlie O’Gorman, Kevin Shalloo (S&C)
Captain: Pearse Lillis
Most recent: 1997
Key player: Pearse Lillis
Fresh blood: Micheál Garry, John Lillis
The squad has been working hard since the lockdown was lifted and teams were allowed to resume training. “Everyone is delighted to be back training and playing. Hopefully there will be no hiccups as it would be a killer blow if we didn’t get to finish the season now that it has started/. All players are thinking about is playing the games” the former Clare star told The Clare Echo.
Cooraclare would have preferred a championship format similar to last season but “the format was decided by the virus and players have no choice now but to go with it. Our preference would be for groups of three with the winning team going through to the competition semi-finals but look its great to be back playing”.
The Kilkee native believes that the availability of the inter county players to their clubs “is a huge help. It’s great to have them all the time and their presence certainly has livened up training. They want the best and that ensures that there are no easy sessions”, he said.
Inter county man Pearse Lillis is the club captain this season and he is a key figure in their team. Tom Downes who missed out last season is also available. Both are dual players with Lillis featuring with Ballyea while Downes does his hurling with Éire Óg.
Looking to their opening round on Sunday, Russell believes that “St. Breckans have a great pool of talent. A bit of rivalry has build up between the clubs in recent times when they have met at minor and under 21 levels fairly regularly. Its a healthy rivalry. Sunday’s meeting should be a cracking contest”, he said.
The Cooraclare boss noted the impressive form of the North Clare side in winning last year’s intermediate championship and then progressing to the Provincial final. “It’s all about getting to the next level and with talent you try and get there so we know that we are facing a difficult test”.
In Michael Corry, Paddy Harvey and Charlie O’Gorman, the Cooraclare manager has an experienced backroom team, all of whom have served Cooraclare well over the years.
In addition to Lillis and Downes, the mid Clare outfit will be looking to Killian Roche and Jack Morrissey to cause problems for the North Clare side while impressive teenagers Micheál Garry and John Lillis are expected to make an appearance at some stage. They were part of the Cooraclare minor team which accounted for St. Breckans in the Minor Division 2 championship final in 2019
Last year Cooraclare were grouped with Ennistymon and Doonbeg. In their opening game they were eleven points behind their opponents at the final whistle. That score difference proved costly in the final analysis as it came down to that after they drew with Doonbeg. In the relegation play off they had a big win over Corofin to secure their senior status. This time out they are determined to step up on last year’s form.