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*Aidan McCarthy gets a shot away as Conor Browne of Kilkenny tries to hook. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

AIDAN MCCARTHY is set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines after undergoing an operation before Christmas.

A nominee for Young Hurler of the Year last season, McCarthy sustained a broken bone between his leg and ankle in a workplace accident in December.

He was first called up to the county senior panel by Donal Moloney and Gerry O’Connor having impressed for the Sean Doyle managed minor outfit which reached the All-Ireland quarter-final in 2017 when he was named in the Electric Ireland Minor Hurling Team of the Year at wing-back. Aidan made his senior championship debut in 2019.

Clare boss Brian Lohan is now minus the services of McCarthy and All Star Tony Kelly for the Allianz National Hurling League, while Kelly will feature in this year’s championship all going well, an exact time-frame regarding Aidan is unclear at present. He underwent an operation on December 13th and is now confined to a boot with his recovery period of three months to commence following this.

Lohan’s side have a bye in the opening round of the Munster championship before travelling to Tipperary (April 24th) and hosting Limerick in Cusack Park (May 8th). The prospect of Aidan featuring in the later stages of the provincial campaign will be dependent on his recovery.

During Lohan’s first year in charge, Aidan featured in all championship outings in the half-back line and scored a second half goal in Clare’s All-Ireland quarter-final defeat to Waterford. In the year just gone, he was a central part of their forward line, his displays earned him the Young Hurler of the Year nomination and infamously he was sin-binned in a controversial decision by James Owens which had a big impact on proceedings in their provincial semi-final loss to Tipperary.

At club level, Aidan was to the fore in guiding Inagh/Kilnamona to their first ever Clare SHC final appearance. He was the top scorer for Eugene Cullinan’s side and finished the championship with a tally of 2-58, 0-41 of which came from placed balls.

As well as tasting defeat in the Clare SHC final, Aidan was also left disappointed when Kilmurry Ibrickane lost out to Éire Óg in the Clare SFC decider. For both of the county finals, McCarthy was carrying a hamstring injury, he lined out at midfield for the Bricks but was moved to full-forward for Inamona due to reduced mobility.

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