*Oisin O’Donnell returns to the training panel. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

FIFTEEN hurlers have been added to Clare’s senior training panel with manager Brian Lohan to finalise his panel at the end of January, prior to the start of the Allianz Natonal Hurling League.

Clare’s senior hurlers resumed preparations on November 24th for the 2024 season. They trained on Christmas Eve before getting a week-long break to enjoy the festive season.

Clonlara’s success in winning a third-ever Clare SHC title has resulted in three of their panel getting the call-up.

Four of the additions – Conner Hegarty, Oisin O’Donnell, Diarmuid Cahill and Killian O’Connor – were part of the St Flannan’s side coached by Brendan Bugler who won the Dr Harty Cup in 2020, the Whitegate man is preparing for his first championship season as coach to Lohan’s seniors.

Páraic O’Loughlin. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

Páraic O’Loughlin a former Clare U21 and minor hurler who shone in the half-back line for Donal Madden’s side has been added to the panel. O’Loughlin first played senior championship for his club in 2015, lining out in numerous positions over the years including the half-forward line and in goals but his best season has certainly been wearing the number seven jersey.

Colm O’Meara. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

O’Loughlin’s clubmate Colm O’Meara also makes the step-up. The Ard Scoil Rís past pupil represented the Clare minors in 2019 when managed by Fergal Lynch as they contested the Munster final and All-Ireland quarter-final. He was wing-forward on the Clonlara championship winning side this season, hitting 1-6 in the county championship, the goal a vital score in their quarter-final win over Éire Óg.

Dylan McMahon. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

At centre back, Dylan McMahon was among the most impressive players on the Clonlara side and his call-up to the county training panel was widely expected. The twenty two year old was centre-back on the Clare minor side in 2018. He was wing-back on the Clare U20 sides in 2019 and 2021 while filling the centre-back berth in 2020.

Oisin O’Donnell. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

Oisin O’Donnell’s showing in the county final sees him rejoin the county panel. The Crusheen man scored 1-4 as they went down to Clonlara. He had been part of the county senior squad last year but was among four players dropped following last year’s Munster final loss. O’Donnell certainly responded by producing a fine campaign for his club, serving as a key player in helping them reach the Clare SHC final for the first time since 2014.

Conner Hegarty. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

Another player making the return to the senior squad is Conner Hegarty. He was previously added to the Clare panel following the conclusion of the Munster U20 championship in 2022 but was let go after Clare exited the All-Ireland semi-final to Kilkenny. An older brother of All-Ireland winning Clare minor centre-back James, Conner who is a student in UL was part of the Inagh/Kilnamona U21 team which reached the county final, losing out to Feakle/Killanena in the decider. His clubmate Sean Rynne remains on the panel, he was added to panel in the fortnight leading up to the Munster final of 2023.

Corofin’s breakthrough in winning the Clare IHC has also been recognised by the county management with two of their players joining the inter-county set-up.

Diarmuid Cahill on the attack for Corofin. Photograph: Burren Eye Photography

Diarmuid Cahill, a former county minor and U20 player is rewarded for his efforts in the Corofin attack. Injuries greatly disrupted his year but when he returned to action, the Mary Immaculate College student added a vibrancy to their forward-line. He scored 0-4 from play in their semi-final win over Ruan. During the course of their Munster club campaign, Diarmuid had a return of 3-5 from play in their three outings in the provincial series.

Killian O’Connor tries to get a strike away. Photograph: Mark Hayes

A member of this year’s Clare U20 panel, Killian O’Connor is also added to the training panel. The Corofin utility man had to settle for just three minutes of action with Terence Fahy’s side this season, coming on as a substitute in their five point fourth round loss to Cork. With his club, O’Connor was a central figure for Joe Cahill’s side as they won the intermediate title for the third time.

Keelan Hartigan. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

Keelan Hartigan was midfield on Fahy’s U20 side which reached the 2023 Munster final. When it came to the club campaign, Keelan was one of the most consistent players for Mark McKenna’s Scariff outfit as they reached the semi-finals of the senior championship for the first time since 2004. Hartigan is currently studying in UL and is part of their Fitzgibbon Cup squad. Injury kept restricted his involvement with Scariff/Ogonnelloe as they unsuccessfully attempted to retain their crown as U21A hurling champions.

William Kavanagh. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

Hartigan’s clubmate William Kavanagh brings the total amount of goalkeepers on the panel to four. During Scariff’s run to the semi-final, Kavanagh kept three clean sheets in the group stage in games against Ballyea, Kilmaley and Inagh/Kilnamona while in the quarter-final he produced a number of saves to deny Clooney/Quin from picking up a second goal. He is a past pupil of Scariff Community College and is the holder of an U21A championship medal.

Daithí Lohan. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

Wolfe Tones’ representation on the senior panel has jumped to four following the addition of Daithí Lohan. He is part of the Mary I Fitzgibbon Cup panel along with Diarmuid Cahill. Daithí gave impressive performances on the Clare U20 side during their run to the Munster final, playing in the half-back line, his showing in their nine-point semi-final win over Tipperary was particularly impressive. On the club scene, the Shannon club were relegated to the intermediate ranks after all four games.

Éanna Crimmins soloes through on goal. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

Éanna Crimmins’ addition to the training panel sees Newmarket-on-Fergus have a representative on Lohan’s squad for the first time in two years. The UL graduate has impressed for the Blues in recent seasons, they have reached three quarter-finals in as many seasons with the pace of Crimmins one of their strong points in attack. A past pupil of St Patrick’s Comprehensive, he has not featured on county panels at minor or U20 despite captaining his club to win a Minor B championship in 2018.

David Tuohy controls the sliotar. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

Intermediate club Clarecastle now have three members on the playing panel with new addition David Tuohy joining Cian Broderick and Cian Galvin while selector Ken Ralph adds to the Magpies involvement. Tuohy has regularly been brought in for training games during Lohan’s tenure and now has a month to try secure his place on the panel for the 2024 campaign. He was corner back on the TUS Midwest Fitzgibbon Cup team last year along with Broderick, Robin Mounsey, Paddy Donnellan and Shane Taylor.

Conn Smyth battles with John Conlon. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

Ex Clare minor and U21 hurler, Conn Smyth joins the senior set-up for the first time. The twenty seven year old has been a consistent figure for his club’s first team for close to a decade. His job in marshalling John Conlon for the Clare SHC semi-final this year is understood to have impressed management along with the physicality he brings to the fold.

Steven Conway gets away from Sean O’Connor. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

Fellow Feakle man Steven Conway is also part of the training panel. Conway has also represented his county at minor and U21 grades. He started on the Clare U21 hurling team who suffered a 3-18 0-13 knockout defeat to Limerick in Cusack Park, scoring 0-1 from wing-forward. He scored 0-10 from play during the 2023 Clare SHC as the East Clare side reached the last four.

Rian Considine. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

Completing the additions to the training panel is Rian Considine. The Cratloe forward is another player with experience of being on the county senior panel before. He was on the Clare squad in 2019 during the final year of Donal Moloney and Gerry O’Connor’s tenure in charge. He played minor with the county in 2017 before representing the U20s in 2019. Noted as a consistent goal-getter with Cratloe, he is also a Harty Cup winner with Ard Scoil Ris in 2018 and he represented UCD in the Fitzgibbon Cup.

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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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