Clare under 20 football manager Michael Neylon believes that his charges face a serious test when they take on Tipperary in the Munster championship at Hennessy Park in Miltown Malbay on Monday evening (7p.m.).

Unlike the other underage championships (minor hurling and football and under 20 hurling), this football championship is a knock out competition so defeat on Monday will mark the end of the road for this squad for this season whereas victory on Monday will see the team progress to a semi-final date with Kerry a week later.

The team boss is not looking beyond Monday’s fixture. “Tipperary have seven of the starting team that faced Cork in last year’s Munster final when Cork struggled to put them away. They are a very strong side and include Cathal Deely who played for Tipperary in the Division 3 league final last week in Croke Park”, Michael told The Clare Echo.

“We will have to improve a lot from our league form. We stepped up in the final of the league and we will need to step up again to take this one. It will take everything we have got to come out on top”, according to the manager who is joined in the backroom by Diarmuid Carroll (Limerick) Eoin Murray (O’Currys), Colm Clancy (Corofin), Sean O’Brien (St Josephs Miltown) who is the goalkeeping coach and Oscar O’Dwyer (S and C)

Apart from goalkeeper Thomas Collins (Lissycasey) who is ruled out due to a knee injury, the manager and his selectors have a full squad from which to select the team for Monday evening

Collins was the team’s first choice goalie throughout the league and his loss is a big blow to the side. Oisin O’Loughlin (St. Breckans) will take over the goalkeeping duties.

Michael Neylon. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

The team has joint captains in Fionn Kelleher (St. Josephs, Doora/Barefield) and Eoin Rouine (Ennistymon).

Kelleher, Fergal Guinnane (Kildysart) and Ciaran McMahon (Ennistymon) are expected to start in the backline while Odhran Cunningham (Killimer), Josh Moloney (Kilmurry Ibrickane), both members of last year’s minor team and Eoin Walsh (Banner) are challenging strongly for inclusion in defence.

Cooraclare’s Brian McNamara, a member of the senior panel and his clubmate Michael Garry could well team up at midfield while up front Brendy Rouine, (Ennistymon), also a member of the senior panel, his cousin Eoin, Lissycasey duo Shane Griffin and Conor Meaney, Thomas Meeneghan (Banner), Joe Raftery (St. Josephs Doora/Barefield) and Sean McNamara (Michael. Cusacks) are all pushing for starting places.

Similar to Clare, the Premier county side has been moving up the rankings at senior level and the under 20 players are keen to put up their hands for promotion to the senior side.

With almost half of last year’s Munster final team available, Tipperary will travel to Hennessy Park confident that they can take the first step towards getting back to the final.

For their part, Clare are determined to win this one and erase some of the disappointment as a result of their defeat in Dungarvan last year when Waterford caused a big shock.

The Banner men will have learned a lot in their recent league campaign which ended with victory over Wicklow in the final and all involved will be hoping that the experience gained in that competition will see them triumph on Monday.

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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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