*Doora/Barefield’s Kevin Meaney misses out on Sunday’s final due to a hamstring injury. Photograph: Natasha Barton

Both St Josephs Doora/Barefield and Smith O’Briens are dealing with injury worries ahead of Sunday’s intermediate hurling final.

Cusack Park will host the meeting of the sides with Éire Óg’s Niall Malone to take charge of proceedings. Smith O’Briens are vying to win the Paddy Browne Cup for the first time since 2004 while Doora/Barefield last prevailed at the grade in 2016 while they lost out in the 2019 decider against Broadford.

Centre-back Darragh O’Shea and corner back Kevin Meaney are ruled out for St Josephs while experienced defender Kevin Dilleen remains a long-term injury. On the plus side, former Clare minor and U21 midfielder David Conroy returned to action in the semi-finals having missed the entire championship with a collarbone injury.

Manager Michael Guilfoyle told The Clare Echo that midfielder Mossy Hehir and fellow dual player Eoghan Thynne are “very much touch and go” on whether they will be fit enough for selection. “We have numbers so we’re going to be able to pick a strong team for the day,” he outlined.

In the Smith O’Briens camp, there are major injury concerns over centre back Cathal Stritch, midfielder Micheál Ryan and long-serving forward John Cusack.

Physical encounters with Tulla and Tubber have taken its toll on the Killaloe side, manager Tony Gleeson noted. “We’ve been in two battles the last three games with Tulla in the last game of the group then Tubber and Tulla again in the semi-final, conditions have started to get so bad, the last two games we played were real battles in the mud almost, it’s taken its toll on our bodies”.

Gleeson confirmed that the trio will undergo fitness tests closer to game-time to determine if they will see action. “We’ve been unlucky, we haven’t had an injury all year, we were blessed up until the last three weeks, the two heavy games have taken their toll on the bodies”.

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