*Brian McNamara. Photograph: Burren Eye Photography

MARK FITZGERALD has handed a first National Football League start to his midfield pairing of Brian McNamara and Gavin Murray for Sunday’s first round tie with Sligo.

Clare welcome Sligo to Cusack Park for a 2pm start to kick off their run in Division 3 of the Allianz National Football League and the tenure of Tralee native Fitzgerald in the hotseat as Banner boss.

Freshness aplenty surrounds the set-up with the departure of long-serving manager Colm Collins and twelve members of last year’s panel.

Gavin Murray. Photograph: Burren Eye Photography

It has prompted an array of changes including the addition of a new-look midfield pairing. Former Westmeath footballer Gavin Murray will make his first appearance for Clare in the National Football League when he partners fellow debutant Brian McNamara in the centre of the field.

Lissycasey’s Shane Griffin makes his first National Football League start at full-forward, he made his debut in last year’s final round 2-18 0-9 win against Limerick who were ironically managed by Fitzgerald at the time. Aaron Griffin and Mark McInerney join Shane in the full-forward line.

Micheál Garry is handed his second-ever start in the National League, he is down to play at corner back in a line which includes Éire Óg duo Manus Doherty in the opposite corner and Ronan Lanigan at full-back. The team will be captained by goalkeeper, Stephen Ryan.

Having missed out on the McGrath Cup, Emmet McMahon and Ikem Ugwueru take to the field at centre-forward and wing back respectively. Alan Sweeney anchors the side from centre back with Daniel Walsh alongside him.

Dermot Coughlan who nailed down a starting post last season will be looked to as one of the more experienced players in the Clare side and he completes the half-forward line along with Kilmihil’s Ciaran Downes.

Injury keeps Cillian Brennan, Cillian Rouine, Brendy Rouine and Darragh Bohannon out of the Clare panel. Captain Brennan is set to miss the majority of the league while it is hoped Cillian Rouine will be back in contention for the second round.

Clare
1: Stephen Ryan (Kilrush Shamrocks)

2: Manus Doherty (Éire Óg)
3: Ronan Lanigan (Éire Óg)
4: Micheál Garry (Cooraclare)

5: Ikem Ugwueru (Éire Óg)
6: Alan Sweeney (St Breckan’s)
7: Daniel Walsh (Kilmurry Ibrickane)

8: Gavin Murray (Éire Óg)
9: Brian McNamara (Cooraclare)

10: Dermot Coughlan (Kilmurry Ibrickane)
11: Emmet McMahon (Kildysart)
12: Ciaran Downes (Kilmihil)

13: Mark McInerney (Éire Óg)
14: Shane Griffin (Lissycasey)
15: Aaron Griffin (Lissycasey)

Subs:
16: Tristan O’Callaghan (St Breckan’s)
17: Éinne O’Connor (Éire Óg)
18: James Curran (St Joseph’s Doora/Barefield)
19: Cormac Murray (St Joseph’s Miltown)
20: Kieran Malone (St Joseph’s Miltown)
21: Fergal Guinnane (Kildysart)
22: Darren O’Brien (Éire Óg)
23: Tom McDonald (St Joseph’s Doora/Barefield)
24: Josh Guyler (Ennistymon)
25: Diarmuid O’Donnell (Kildsyart)
26: Diarmuid Fahy (Ennistymon)

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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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