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*David Reidy was a vital component in Éire Óg’s Clare SFC success last season. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

ÉIRE ÓG started the defence of their senior football note with a one point win over St Breckan’s, their manager Paul Madden is confident missing players from the championship winning side will be available for selection as the campaign progresses.

For Saturday’s 0-13 0-12 win against St Breckan’s, Éire Óg were down four starters from the fifteen which lined out for last year’s county final success against Kilmurry Ibrickane. Goalkeeper Nathan Murray has emigrated with Ruan’s Conall Ó hÁiniféin their centre back last season ruled out for the year with an ACL injury.

A hamstring injury kept Aaron Fitzgerald out of action for the footballer’s opening round but he is not expected to be sidelined for too long. David Reidy has not yet linked up with Madden’s charges and while the manager kept tight-lipped on the arrangement in place, it is expected the Clare hurler will be back with their set-up in the next month or so, having been seated among the spectators in Cusack Park as opposed to the panel.

“We were missing our goalie, our full-back, centre-back and centre-forward from our county final team, but we still had a goalie, a full-back, a centre-back and a centre-forward playing today, they did a fine job, it takes more than fifteen to win a game,” Madden stated. When asked if and when Reidy would be rejoining the squad, he responded, “All of them are Éire Óg players, Conall is injured, Nathan is away, the other lads are Éire Óg players”.

Paul Madden. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

Obviously, pleased to begin with a win, the owner of The Temple Gate Hotel was adamant that the Ennis side had a lot of ground to make up over the coming weeks. “The aim is to win every game we play, we made hard work of it, in the first half Breckan’s came to the pitch of it a bit faster than us but a three point gap at half-time wasn’t a huge amount, I’m not saying there was a great gale here but with the elements it was easier to kick into the Aldi end, we saw that with some of the frees and long range shots we took on”.

He added, “It’s a round one victory, I’d be very unhappy with some of the stuff on the video, I thought we butchered a lot, we had 11 turnovers in the first half, six of them were carrying the ball into tackles and three of them were misplaced handpasses, there’s lots to work on but it’s round one and I’m happy to get off the mark”.

St Joseph’s Miltown await in the second round but Madden admitted it is not something that will occupy their thoughts until the weekend. “I’m going to be honest with you, we’ve had no real talk about round two except we’re heading onto round two, the full focus is on Scariff in Sixmilebridge on Sunday”.


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