Two members of Clare’s All-Ireland winning panel from 2013 have left the county squad.
Both Aaron Cunningham and Cathal McInerney have confirmed to The Clare Echo they will not be part of Brian Lohan’s Clare panel in 2021.
Recruited to the senior panel in 2012 by Davy Fitzgerald, Shannon’s Cunningham earned a reputation as a regular goal-scoring threat. This was demonstrated as a member of the attack which won three All-Ireland U21 titles from 2012 to 2014 while at senior level, he memorably bagged two goals in the 2016 National Hurling League semi-final as Clare overcome the Cats before clinching the league title.
His goal scoring prowess was also evident in the 2017 All-Ireland SHC quarter-final where he once again raised two green flags. However on this occasion, it was not sufficient to stop Tipperary in the first year of Donal Moloney and Gerry O’Connor’s senior stint.
After this championship exit, Aaron spent two years travelling and returned to the Clare panel last December when approached by Brian Lohan. To the surprise of Banner supporters, the Wolfe Tones forward did not earn a start during this year’s championship.
A championship debutant in 2011 during Ger ‘Sparrow’ O’Loughlin’s final year over the Clare seniors, Cathal was noted for stepping up on the big day. This was demonstrated in the 2012 All-Ireland U21 final when his tally of 0-04 helped Clare to glory over Kilkenny.
However it is his contribution of the All-Ireland qualifiers of 2013 that the Cratloe sharpshooter will be best remembered. Sprung from the bench, McInerney combined superbly with his teammate Conor McGrath to fire home 2-01 and put Clare’s season back on track, a year that would conclude with Patrick Donnellan climbing the steps of the Hogan Stand to lift the Liam MacCarthy.
McInerney concentrated solely on football with the county in 2015 but returned to the hurling panel under the Moloney and O’Connor era. He told The Clare Echo that hamstring issues have influenced his decision to step away from the Clare squad.
Brian Lohan was informed of their decisions and has welcomed Éire Óg’s Aaron Fitzgerald to the panel. In 2017, he joined the Clare football panel but has opted to switch codes for 2021. Having missed the start of the year with injury, Aaron returned to the centre-back berth for their final two league outings but was dropped for their Munster championship defeat to Tipperary.
Fitzgerald has not previously represented his county in hurling but the Rice College past pupil has impressed for the Ennis club during the Clare SHC in recent years.