*Jason Linnane of Doonbeg. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

DOONBEG had the edge on St Joseph’s Miltown when they met in last year’s relegation semi-final and the Magpies are determined to maintain the upperhand when it comes to their first round tie this Friday.

Facing Miltown in the opening round of the Clare senior football championship is going to be a tough challenge according to Magpies manager John Keane.

In his second season as team manager, Keane is adamant that Doonbeg are not looking beyond Miltown whom they will take on this Friday evening in Cooraclare at 7pm.

“When the league finished we took a week off and since then we have been fully focused on the championship and it will be one game at a time. For now, the whole focus is on Miltown who seem to have a bit of form at the minute. They have already won the Garry Cup (division 2 league) and just last week they captured the O’Gorman cup”, noted the Doonbeg boss.

“All the groups will be tough and with the exception of champions Éire Óg who are the favourites, there appears to be little between the teams”, he continued. “No one wants to be in the relegation. We were unfortunate in the league. We had a lot of injuries, more than usual, and when you have a small panel that takes its toll and results went against us at the end of the day”, Keane added.

Despite winning their closing games in the league, Doonbeg were relegated and will compete in the Gary Cup next season

Mention of injuries, Doonbeg will be without Tadhg Lillis for this campaign. He suffered a cruciate injury recently which has put him out for the season and his loss is a big blow to the team which has also lost last year’s captain Paraic Ahearne to retirement.

The manager has an experienced backroom team with him in former Kilkee and Clare midfielder David Russell who is the team coach, while selectors Kieran O’Mahoney, Padraig Gallagher and Conor Whelan have all won championships with the club and they have all worn the saffron and blue of Clare.

It’s been thirteen years since the Jack Daly cup last spent the winter in Doonbeg and for a club with eighteen titles to their name since their first success in 1955, that is a long wait.

Their meeting with Miltown last year was in a relegation play off which the Magpies won after extra time.

Former inter-county star David Tubridy is the Doonbeg’s best-known player and he has been their top scorer in league and championship for some time.

Goalkeeper Eamonn Tubridy is another of the team’s more experienced players while they will also be looking to Cian O’Mahoney, Mikie Tubridy and Kevin McInerney to lead their challenge for victory on Friday evening.

Doonbeg teams have always been difficult to overcome, particularly when it comes to championship. “Yes, the championship is the target. We have prepared well and we will give it our best shot. It’s going to be a tough challenge but you have to be ready”, concluded manager Keane.

Incidentally Keane’s brother Pakie is part of the management team in his adopted Lissycasey where he has been actively involved over the past twenty years filling a variety of roles including that of chairman which he held when the club won the championship in 2007.

Doonbeg
Management: John Keane (Manager), David Russell (coach); Kieran O’Mahoney, Padraig Gallagher, Conor Whelan (Selectors) Megan Downes (S and C), Aine Moloney (physio) Ashling O’Mahoney and Ava Keane (Stats); John Killeen (kitman)
Captain: Cian O’Mahoney
Vice-captain: Kevin McInerney
Key Player: David Tubridy
One to Watch: Darragh Burns
Fresh Blood: Gavin O’Shea, Rory Walsh, Shane Bermingham, Conor Linnane
Departure Gate: Tadhg Lillis (Long term injury) Paraic Ahearne (Retired), Brian Egan (retired).
Titles won: 18
Last season’s run: Finished bottom of their group but survived relegation when beating St Joseph’s Miltown after extra time.
Schedule:
Round 1 v St Joseph’s Miltown
Round 2 v Clondegad
Round 3 v Éire Óg

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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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