*St Joseph’s Doora/Barefield’s Tom McDonald. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

TWO UNSUCCESSFUL outings in the Clare senior hurling championship has strengthened the determination within the ranks of St Joseph’s Doora/Barefield to kick their football campaign off on a winning note.

Defeats to Scariff and Kilmaley have blotted the copybook of Doora/Barefield’s return to the top grade of the Clare SHC fresh from winning the intermediate title last season. The footballers claimed the intermediate crown in 2020 and have made the knockout stages for the past two seasons at the top table.

Clondegad ended their championship aspirations last year in the preliminary quarter-final while it was the actual quarter-final stage where Lissycasey eliminated them in 2021, the losing margins being ten and six points respectively.

For year three back in the Clare SFC, they are aspiring to again emerge from their group for the third year in a row, manager Donagh Vaughan told The Clare Echo, “The aim is quite similar to last year, we’re year three in senior, we’re not the new boys anymore but we’re still developing. We still have a gap in the middle in terms of our age profile, we have one 28 year old and then we’re down to 23 and 24 year olds.

“That said, we have won promotion to the Cusack Cup this year, we were beaten in the Garry Cup final but we still got to the top division which is important for us as a club and also important for the lads to start improving as a group. We got to the final and lost after extra time, it was a great workout prior to championship, Miltown have their act together this year and are taking it very serious so it was very good preparation for us ahead of the championship”.

Vaughan continued, “We want to get out of the group but it is a tough group, we know Corofin quite well, we played them in the league last year and in the intermediate final three years ago and got the better of them. We played each other plenty of times at underage level and the two teams know each other well, they bounced up from the intermediate the year after we beat them and got to the semi-finals of the senior last year, they have definitely improved but the question is how much we have improved”.

To reach the knockout stages is certainly their goal but it doesn’t bring undue pressure, Donagh explained. “We’d love to get out of the group, because two of the teams in the group are seeded that means three teams will get out of the group. It is a tough group but it would be great for us to be one of the three, all eyes are on game one for us, we won’t get carried away or excited, we won’t be looking too far ahead”.

Donagh who is also manager of The Grove in Roslevan outlined that they have been “working fine” in terms of handling dual-players. “The hurlers have had two games but haven’t got over the line yet. Oisin O’Brien is my contact for the hurling management and we are working well together. There are about six to seven starters playing in both codes, it takes managing but it works well. As you go along you worry about player fatigue, we’re used to it at this stage, this week is football week so all the boys concentrating on that”.

Their motivation has not dipped despite two opening defeats in the hurling championship. “We trained at 08:30am on Sunday morning and all dual players were there, the hurlers had played a game the day before. They’re coming with the right attitude and the players want to win this, we want to kick off the season for Doora/Barefield and the attitude is 100 percent right”.

Cian Barron has opted to focus solely on hurling only this year with key man Tom Hannan ruled out due to an anterior cruciate ligament injury, ex county minor Eoin Hanrahan is another gone from last year’s side as the qualified primary school teacher has emigrated. On the plus side, they are able to call on both Darragh O’Shea and Conor O’Brien who missed last year’s campaign due to injury. Fionn Kelleher is continuing his recovery from a groin injury which has kept him out of action since December and he may make a return during the group stages.

One win sufficed for Doora/Barefield to emerge from the group last year, replicating this may be enough to repeat the trick and they’ll certainly target doing just that in the opening round against Corofin.

Management: Donagh Vaughan (manager), Maurice Walsh (selector), Ger ‘Bobby’ Kelly (selector/coach), Davy O’Brien (selector/coach)
Captain: Jack Hannan
Key player: Tom McDonald
One to watch: James Curran
Fresh blood: Tom Curran, Oisin O’Donnell, Odhran O’Connell
Departures gate: Eoin Hanrahan (emigrated), Tom Hannan (ACL injury), Cian Barron
Titles won: 1
Last season’s run: Reached preliminary quarter-final but exited with ten point loss to Clondegad
Schedule:
Round 1 vs Corofin in Shannon on August 5th at 3pm
Round 2 vs St Breckan’s on August 18th/19th/20th
Round 3 vs Kilmurry Ibrickane on September 1st/2nd/3rd

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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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