*Micheál Garry will be a central figure for Cooraclare in his second year on the panel. Photograph: Burren Eye Photography
There is a desire to see Cooraclare competing among the top teams in Clare football and that aim is occurring quicker than anticipated.
Management: Michael Garry (manager), Paddy Keane (trainer), Mick Lillis (coach), Tom Queally (coach), Niall Murphy (selector), David O’Brien (stats), Frank Roche (kit man), Mike Weaving (physio)
Captain: Pearse Lillis
Key Player: Pearse Lillis
One to Watch: Brian McNamara
Fresh Blood: Brian McNamara and Sean Browne
Players Gone: None
Titles Won: 10
Most Recent Title: 1997
A strong management team has been assembled by Michael Garry which includes ex Laois senior football boss Mick Lillis and former Clare senior selector Tom Queally. This had been formed long before any championship opponents were known and with the objective of seeing the Milesians involved in the latter stages of the senior championship.
It comes as Cooraclare failed to make the knockout stages in 2019 for the first time in a decade and last year were denied a quarter-final place following a play-off defeat to St Josephs Miltown.
“We want to get the club back to where it should be and knocking at the door. We said we would get involved and try rebuild it, we are rebuilding a team. We’ve quality men involved,” manager Michael Garry told The Clare Echo of their intentions.
Of being paired alongside St Josephs Miltown, Kilmurry Ibrickane, Ennistymon and Cratloe, Garry stated, “It is the toughest group you can be in, you’re meeting all the top teams and no disrespect to the rest but that is the cream of it that we’re up against. It is a challenge we’re looking forward to and we’re only focusing on Cratloe”.
Last involved with the seniors in 2014, Michael admitted it was disappointing that the club have not returned to the county final since 2015 when Miltown proved too strong. “It is disappointing that we didn’t drive on from that but we had a lot of lads that retired so we’re trying to rebuild the team with younger lads coming into it”.
Broken legs rule Jack Morrissey and Sean Browne out of contention while there is much discussion in West Clare on the possibility of former Clare footballer Sean O’Donoghue known commonly as ‘The Yank’ lining out with Cooraclare in this year’s championship. The promising midfielder moved back to Chicago with his family in 2019 and was part of Colm Collins’ Clare squad for two seasons.
Manager Garry remained tight lipped when asked if O’Donoghue would be featuring for Cooraclare. “Talk is talk isn’t it. There’s rumours going around but we’ll wait and see”.
Their meeting with Cratloe on Sunday is the first in a triple header at Cusack Park. Consistency goes out the window when these clubs meet. “We won’t be afraid of them, the last time I was involved they beat us well but we beat them the following year. They are a very experienced team, they know the Park very well. We’re only focusing on them Sunday,” Garry commented.
With a bye in round two, Cooraclare are more determined to get a win under their belt before they get a break. “Championship is championship, whatever is in front of you, you have to win, it’s as simple as that”.