*Clare manager, Brian Lohan. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill
There is mixed news on the injury front for the Clare senior hurlers as they put the finishing touches on preparations for Sunday’s Munster SHC quarter-final.
Hat-trick hero from the 2013 All-Ireland replay, Shane O’Donnell has been ruled out of the tie. The Clare Echo understands that the Éire Óg clubman sustained a concussion injury in the lead-up to Clare’s final National Hurling League clash with Kilkenny.
O’Donnell’s absence from the forward-line will come as a major blow. It is expected to the lead to the championship debut of Scariff’s Mark Rodgers who as a result of featuring in the matchday twenty six will be unable to line out in the U20 hurling championship later this year. The same could potentially apply to Shane Meehan (Banner), Paddy Donnellan (Broadford) Cian Galvin (Clarecastle).
Former captain Patrick O’Connor is to miss the entire championship after sustaining a cruciate ligament injury three weeks ago in a challenge match defeat to Limerick. The Tubber man had yet to feature in competitive action this year before picking up the injury.
Aaron Fitzgerald will have to wait a bit longer to make his senior hurling championship debut. The former county football centre back joined Lohan’s panel following last year’s campaign and had lined out at corner back in games against Laois, Dublin and Kilkenny. The Éire Óg broke ribs in the win over Kilkenny while making a vital block to deny the Cats from scoring a goal. He is expected to be out for the next month. Ballyea duo Paul Flanagan and Jack Browne are vying for the jersey left behind by Fitzgerald.
In what is seen as a massive lift, All Star David McInerney is said to be in the mix for a starting jersey. The Tulla man only got thirty minutes of action in the NHL due to persistent injuries including damage to his quad.
Since leaving the field during their four point win over Brian Cody’s Kilkenny, McInerney has participated in training and is in contention for a starting jersey.
Eibhear Quilligan is set for his second championship season between the posts while All Star nominee Rory Hayes, Diarmuid Ryan, Conor Cleary and John Conlon are tipped to be named in defence. Colm Galvin and Tony Kelly are likely to form the midfield partnership with the attack including Aron Shanagher, Aidan McCarthy and David Reidy.
Waterford manager, Liam Cahill has confirmed that captain Conor Prunty and vice captain Jamie Barron remain doubtful for the fixture. A final decision on their fitness won’t be made until the weekend.
Austin Gleeson and Shane Fives have recovered from injury and will be included in the starting team.