*Lissycasey’s Matt O’Shea. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

Back-to-back semi-finalists as recently as 2021, Lissycasey could line out for their latest tilt at the Jack Daly with just a mere third of the team that lined out in that final October penultimate stage clash against Kilmurry Ibrickane.

That’s a remarkable turnover of players in just two years but is the reality that faces new manager Aiden Moloney who ironically successfully plotted Lissycasey’s downfall as manager of the ‘Bricks in those semi-final showdowns in 2020 and ’21.

Fortunately for Lissycasey, there’s an exciting conveyor belt of talent emerging through their burgeoning underage ranks which means that Moloney does have to rebuild but certainly possesses the raw materials to construct a spanking new team.

So while the future in maroon and white does look extremely bright, it’s the present that concerns the vastly experienced manager who has captured seven Clare Senior Football crowns between his playing and managerial exploits as recently as 2020.

“This year there has been a fair turnover of players between emigration and at the other end young players coming into the panel so Lissycasey will have a new-look team. Obviously there’s still a lot of the key soldiers there but a lot of new players will make their senior debuts this year as well,” Moloney told The Clare Echo.

Getting that blend between experience and pacy youthful exuberance will inevitably be a swift learning curve for Lissycasey who haven’t much room for errors in such a difficult group that consists of last year’s finalists and recently crowned Cusack Cup champions Ennistymon, intermediate winners Kildysart and 2020 finalists Cratloe.

“Without a doubt this is a tough group to negotiate as there are two quite established teams and then you have two relatively inexperienced ones. Kildysart are after moving into the senior ranks and are anxious to do well just as much as any other team while Lissycasey have maybe a new-look team.

“Then you have the two experienced teams in Ennistymon who were last year’s finalists and are the up-and-coming team having won the Under 21A and Cusack Cup as well in recent months. Cratloe of course have been there-or-thereabout for the bones of a decade now and have some really good players who know how to win and have been knocking on the door in the senior championship every year”.

That contrast between Cratloe’s old guard and Lissycasey new front presents a fascinating opening tie in Clarecastle on Saturday (4.30pm) but Moloney isn’t buying into any murmurings of Cratloe’s potential demise as a dual force despite their nine point opening defeat to Newmarket-on-Fergus in the hurling equivalent last Friday. “They’re not going to become a bad team overnight. Look, I know they went down in the hurling last Friday, I was listening to it on the radio and a bad five minutes really turned the game for them.

“However, from a purely football point of view, they’re still a force and there’s no doubt that I still think that there are a few more kicks in that team. I mean they have a lot of quality players and up front they have some dangerous players that can hurt you. So they’re definitely going to be a hard nut to crack for us anyway”.

Having already toppled Cratloe in the opening round of the 2020 campaign, Lissycasey won’t fear their opponents but considering the sizeable turnover, Moloney doesn’t feel that much can be read into that extra-time victory during the COVID championship.

“I don’t know if we can look back and judge the present on what happened in the past because we have a lot of new players and we just have to see how thy’ll perform when put into the situation of playing a quality team like Cratloe. We’re confident that they’ll do well but it’s still a big step up for four or five seventeen year olds to step up to senior straight away. Numbers are tight at the moment but we’re not using any excuses as we have a lot of work done with the players we have and we’re confident enough that they do themselves justice”.

Lissycasey

Management: Aiden Moloney (Manager); Jimmy Collins, Pakie Keane, Danny Lynch (Selectors); Keir McNamara (Physio); Danny Pyne (Video Analysis); Seamus Hayes (Stats)
Captain: Conor Finnucane
Key Player: Conor Finnucane
One to Watch: Shane Culligan
Fresh Blood: Cathal Considine, Fionn Cotter, Matthew Culleton, Shane Culligan, Daire Hill, Darren Keane, Darragh Killeen, Michael Meaney, Evan O’Haire, Colin O’Shea
Departure Gate: Seamus Collins, Aaron Griffin, Ryan Griffin (abroad); Niall McCarthy, Cian Meaney (injured)
Titles Won: 1
Last season’s run: Quarter-Finalists
Schedule
Round 1 – v Cratloe at Clarecastle, Saturday 4.30pm
Round 2 – v Ennistymon (Weekend of August 19/20th)
Round 3 – v Kildysart (Weekend of 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.

Subscribe for just €3 per month

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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