*Sean Doyle. Photograph: ©INPHO/Oisin Keniry
Clare U20 manager Sean Doyle is upbeat for his side’s chances when they meet Tipperary on Monday despite the loss of key man, Aidan McCarthy.
Final touches to preparation received a blow for Clare when Inagh/Kilnamona’s Aidan McCarthy sustained a broken thumb while training for the county seniors.
Despite McCarthy’s loss, team manager Sean Doyle is quite upbeat about the side’s chances. “We have a good young squad ready to go. It includes a lot of last year’s minor team. The squad also includes a number of the players that helped St. Flannan’s to Harty Cup glory and they gained a lot of experience from that campaign. Twenty five of the panel will be available for this grade again next year”, the manager told The Clare Echo this week.
Captain Aaron Moloney will also miss the clash having picked up an injury in the days leading up to the game.
In his second season in charge at this grade, Sean is joined in the backroom team by Evan Kilroy from Oranmore and Val Murnane from Limerick (team coaches) and by selectors Ger Rodgers (Scariff) and Jim McInerney (Tulla).
The manager readily acknowledged, “It’s been a very difficult season to prepare a team because of COVID-19. We had started early in the year and we had done a good few sessions before the lockdown came. We only got to resume five or six weeks ago but we have had a great response from all involved”.
The squad’s preparations were upset again last weekend when challenge games against both Offaly and Wexford were cancelled as a result of COVID-19 restrictions moving to Level 3. “We had already played the Kerry seniors and the Limerick under 20’s and the form was good and we are expecting a big performance on Monday evening”.
Victory on Monday would earn Clare a home semi-final date against Waterford, a match which is scheduled for October Bank Holiday Monday in Sixmilebridge.
Kilmaley’s Bradley Higgins is also ruled out of this year’s championship. He suffered a cruciate knee injury last year and isn’t expected to return to hurling until 2021.
Bodyke’s Doyle is expecting a fierce test from their opponents. “They are the defending champions and their team will include five or six of the players that played in the All-Ireland final last year, players like Andrew Ormond, Conor Bowe, Jack Devanney and Kevin Maher to mention some”.
In his first season in charge of the under 20 side last year, Clare lost out to Cork who went on to contest the final. “We were two points in arrears going into injury time and while Cork eventually won by seven, there really was nothing between the sides”, he explained.
Doyle and his backroom team have a couple of injury concerns ahead of Monday’s fixture. Conner Hegarty is battling a knee injury while Shane Meehan is recovering from a broken nose sustained while playing with his club, Banner, in the Clare junior football semi-final.
Meehan is one of a number of players who are part of the county senior panel at this time. They others are Paddy Donnellan (Broadford), Darragh Lohan (Wolfe Tones), Cian Galvin (Clarecastle), Mark Rodgers (Scariff) and the injured Aidan McCarthy
1: Cian Broderick (Clarecastle)
2: Paddy Donnellan (Broadford)
3: Adam Mungovan (St Josephs Doora/Barefield)
4: Jathan McMahon (Clonlara)
5: Mike Gough (Smith O’Briens)
6: Dylan McMahon (Clonlara)
7: Darragh Lohan (Wolfe Tones na Sionna)
8: Aidan Moriarty (Clonlara)
9: Gearoid Cahill (Corofin)
10: Cian Galvin (Clarecastle)
11: Robin Mounsey (Ruan)
12: William Halpin (Tulla)
13: Diarmuid Cahill (Corofin)
14: Mark Rodgers (Scariff)
15: Shane Meehan (Banner)
16: Cillian O’Brien (Clonlara)
17: Darragh Healy (Clarecastle)
18: Eoghan Wallace (Clarecastle)
19: Conner Hegarty (Inagh/Kilnamona)
20: Colm O’Meara (Clonlara)
21: Cian Mulqueen (Broadford)
22: Kevin Keane (Corofin)
23: Conor Bourke (Clonlara)
24: James Maguire (Kilmaley)