*Gearoid Sheedy is among the players to have made the panel. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

CLARE’s senior hurling panel has been finalised ahead of the Allianz National Hurling League.

Ten players have been dropped and ten retained from the training panel which was introduced in November when Brian Lohan’s charges commenced preparations for the coming season.

Full-back in the 2023 Munster final, Cian Nolan informed management prior to this that he would be exiting the panel. His appearance in the provincial final was the first time in the championship that he was giving a starting berth by the Clare management. The Killaloe man is to spend time travelling instead of inter-county commitments.

Cian Nolan tackles Aaron Gillane. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

Nolan received his call-up to the county squad from Lohan in March 2021, following an impressive campaign for Smith O’Briens in the Clare IHC. Later that year, he captained his club to win the intermediate title. An All-Ireland U21 winner, he previously lined out for LIT at corner back in the Fitzgibbon Cup. He made his first senior championship start in May 2022 when Clare had a 3-31 2-22 win over Waterford.

Aaron Fitzgerald. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

Aaron Fitzgerald has also opted to leave the hurling panel. The Éire Óg defender joined the senior panel in December 2020 having made the decision to leave the Clare senior football squad, he didn’t feature in that year’s championship for Colm Collins’ side having made the centre back spot his own the previous year.

Fitzgerald made his senior championship bow for the hurlers in 2021 when coming on as a substitute for John Conlon in the sixty fifth minute of Clare’s three point win over Wexford, who were then managed by Davy Fitzgerald. He received his first start in May 2022 for that twelve point over the Déise. The Ennis man informed management of his decision to step away following the conclusion of the club championship.

Dylan McMahon. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill.

Clonlara’s representation on the senior panel is up by three with Lohan and his management opting to keep Páraic O’Loughlin, Colm O’Meara and Dylan McMahon on the squad. McMahon and O’Meara played in both Munster hurling league games. The trio shone as Clonlara won the Clare SHC for the first time since 2008 last year, O’Loughlin at wing-back, McMahon at centre back and O’Meara in an industrious wing-forward role.

Conn Smyth’s presence on the panel is now a permanent one. The Feakle man played fifty minutes of the January 10th game against Limerick and was introduced as a half-time substitute four days later versus Cork. He was the only player able to keep John Conlon scoreless in last year’s club campaign, a fact that was not lost on the senior management.

Ross Hayes. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

For the second time, Ross Hayes has been re-added to the county panel during Lohan’s tenure. He was dropped prior to the 2020 championship but rejoined the panel in March 2021. He was a member of the county minor side managed by Sean Doyle that lost out in the 2017 provincial final and also played U20 for the county. He was centre-back and one of the pivotal influences on the Crusheen side which contested last year’s county final.

Daithí Lohan joins his brother Darragh on the county senior hurling panel and keeps the representation of intermediate dual-club Wolfe Tones to four. He was brought on as a substitute at corner back for Mary Immaculate College in their impressive Fitzgibbon Cup win over University College Cork. Lohan was one of the most consistent players for Terence Fahy’s Clare U20s in reaching last year’s Munster final.

Ogonnelloe’s Gearoid Sheedy was also part of the U20 side last season and now becomes a senior panellist. He started at wing-forward when Clare lost out to Cork a fortnight ago and was introduced at half-time for the Limerick game. Sheedy also featured in a recent challenge game against Tipperary held in Nenagh.

Newmarket-on-Fergus have a representative on the Clare senior hurling panel for the first time since 2020 after Éanna Crimmins made the cut. He played the second half in Clare’s recent tie with Cork before also getting game time in the challenge game against Tipperary. The pacy attacker scored 5-2 for the Blues in last year’s senior championship.

Killian O’Connor. Photograph: Mark Hayes

Harty Cup winner Killian O’Connor has also cemented his place on the squad. O’Connor was part of the 2023 U20 panel but had to settle for only three minutes of championship action. He lined out in several positions for Corofin on their way to winning promotion to the senior ranks last season.

St Joseph’s Doora/Barefield’s numbers on the senior panel have doubled. Cian Barron has been kept on to join Davy Conroy in keeping the Parish’s flag flying. He scored 0-2 in the Munster league match away to Cork and is the holder of two intermediate championships. Had he not made the hurling panel, it is likely Barron could be fielding a call from Mark Fitzgerald given how well he fared for St Joseph’s Doora/Barefield in the Clare SFC last season.

Cian Barron tries to shake off the challenge of Alan O’Flanagan. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

Physicality has been an area Lohan and his management have put strong emphasis on and it remains the case. Some of the players let go were informed that they would need to be stronger physically in order to cut it in the heat of Munster championship at inter-county level.

Oran Cahill is the only member of the panel in 2023 to have been dropped by management. The Éire Óg defender operated mainly as a sweeper for the Clare U20s last year and impressed in this capacity along with producing consistent performances for his club. Injuries have disrupted the level of impression he could make when it came to senior trainings over the past two years. The Ennis man’s time away from county panels may be short as senior football manager Mark Fitzgerald may be tempted to recruit Oran.

Oran Cahill on his Clare debut against Wexford in February 2023. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

Inagh/Kilnamona’s Conner Hegarty will be sidelined for the next six months due to a shoulder injury. The former Clare minor and U20 hurler had been added back to the fold as part of the extended training panel but this blow has ruled the UL student out of the equation and prompted management to let him go from the panel to focus on his recovery.

For the second time in the space of seven months, Crusheen’s Oisin O’Donnell has been dropped from the county senior panel. O’Donnell was one of four members let go from the Clare panel in the aftermath of last year’s Munster final. The setback saw him respond with a fine club campaign which included scoring 1-4 in the county final. However his return to the Clare panel has proved to be a brief one, he didn’t feature in either of the county’s outings in the Munster senior hurling league.

Oisin O’Donnell is unable to get past David Fitzgerald. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

O’Donnell’s clubmate Tadhg Dean is also making way. He started at corner back in Clare’s Munster hurling league clash with Cork where three points separated the sides at the final whistle. He was substituted at half-time in this clash.

Midfield on the Clonlara side crowned Clare SHC champions in October, Aidan Moriarty was the only addition from Donal Madden’s side not to be kept on heading into the league. It is his second time getting let go from the county senior panel. He partnered Cathal Malone at midfield in the opening half of the Munster league tie with Cork.

Having been part of the Clare squad in 2019, Rian Considine’s return has proved to be short-lived. The Cratloe forward did not line out in either of Clare’s Munster league ties. Always one of the consistent goal-scorers in the club campaign, he won a Harty Cup medal with Ard Scoil Ris in 2018.

Management’s decision to keep the same goalkeeping trio of Eibhear Quilligan, Eamonn Foudy and Cian Broderick means Scariff’s William Kavanagh misses out on a place on the panel. Kavanagh kept three clean sheets during Scariff’s run to the Clare SHC semi-finals last year.

Keelan Hartigan. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill.

Kavanagh’s clubmate Keelan Hartigan has also been cut from the squad. He is currently part of the UL Fitzgibbon Cup squad and featured in their win over TUS on Wednesday last. He was midfield for Terence Fahy’s Clare U20s in 2023 as they reached the Munster final. He was introduced as a substitute in Clare’s two Munster hurling league outings, getting twenty two minutes against Limerick and twelve minutes versus Cork, scoring 0-1 in the Limerick game.

Corofin’s Diarmuid Cahill who recently sustained a broken hand in training has also been omitted from the National League panel, the injury also kept him out of Jamie Wall’s plans for Mary Immaculate College’s clash with UCC in the Fitzgibbon Cup. Cahill scored 0-1 in the opening half of Clare’s five point Munster League loss to Limerick prior to his half-time substitution. He was a key figure in Corofin’s intermediate success and had represented Clare at both minor and U20 grades.

Feakle’s Steven Conway bows out of the county panel. He was introduced as a substitute at half-time in the full-forward line for the Limerick loss. Prior to this, Conway played minor and U21 for Clare while in last year’s club championship he scored 0-10 from play and was effective at wing-forward for the East Clare club as they reached the semi-finals.

Corner back David Tuohy exits the squad. He was brought on for Paul Flanagan with fifty seven minutes for the Limerick game and started the Cork game at corner back where he had the job of marshalling Robbie Cotter. The Clarecastle defender held a corner back spot for TUS Midwest in last year’s Fitzgibbon Cup.

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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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