*Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

CLARE’s minor hurlers are bidding to win successive provincial crowns.

Being part of the development squad system in Clare “really brings players on”, according to Ruan’s James Cullinan, centre back in the county minor team which will take on Tipperary in the Munster final at Limerick on Monday evening.

“It’s good to get to the Munster final, they don’t come around too often. Hurling is in a good place in Clare at the moment, it’s great to see all teams competing at advanced stages in their championships”, the St. Flannans College student stated.

This is the centre back’s first season with the county minors. Earlier this season he played with St Flannan’s College in the Dean Ryan cup which was won by Nenagh CBS who knocked the Ennis school out of the competition.

Responding to the suggestion that Clare will carry the favourites tag into Monday’s final having beaten the other four counties in the Munster competition, he said, “you never know with Tipp. They can turn it on in a flash. Their colleges teams have done well this year and they will provide a lot of the players to the county team. We would know some of them such as Eoin Doughan from Nenagh CBS and Hugh Murray from Thurles CBS. We know we are facing a tough challenge”.

Cullinan added, “it’s a big game that brings pressure but that is good. We aim to go out and play our own game. It was good to get one over them a few weeks ago but what matters now is Monday’s game. A second successive Munster title would be massive and hopefully we will achieve that”.

Managing school commitments with training on the county minor panel hasn’t been too taxing for the teenager. “I’m in TY this year so it’s not too difficult. Hurling is great, it takes your mind off things”.

Ruan’s only representative on the panel added, “we have a great squad with players, drawn from different clubs and there is a nice scatter of clubs represented. There is a great bond between the players”. James is thrilled to be “getting great support from my club and it’s great to represent them”

A star performer in many of the team’s games to date he said, “we did a lot of work on fitness early in the year and it really has shown towards the end of our games in recent weeks. Our ball handling has really picked up as well”.

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Subscribe for just €3 per month

If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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