*Mark Rodgers. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

SO FAR, the 2024 hurling season has been relatively successful for Mark Rodgers.

Yes, there was a slight hiccup when the University of Limerick team he captained suffered a narrow defeat to their neighbours Mary Immaculate college in the Fitzgibbon Cup (Third Level Colleges hurling championship) final.

His performances throughout that competition earned him a place on the team of the championship.

For Clare throughout the Allianz National Hurling League, he delivered some man of the match performances and he made an impressive contribution when the Banner men captured the title against Kilkenny, the county’s fifth success in this competition.

Sunday’s championship opener is their big game, the Scariff man stressed. “We are not approaching the game thinking about favourite tags. It’s all about having the bodies right for the game. We are under no illusions that this is our big big game and we are really looking forward to it. We are just going to get the bodies right and make sure we are as fresh as possible. We know the challenge that is ahead of us”.

Mark is among the players competing for a jersey in a very competitive Clare attack. “There is brilliant competition for places, so many players have put their hands up, so many have played considerable game time, it’s brilliant to see, there is a real appetite to training”.

His place in attack has moved from the inside line to starting at centre-forward approaching the closing stages of the league. Whatever his exact role, Rodgers will be of the starting six forwards selected for Sunday’s championship opener against Limerick.

Matches in the league will serve Clare well, the All-Ireland winning handballer believed. “All seven games in the league have been like that Kilkenny are always hard to get over, a tough physical side with some brilliant hurlers, it was great to come out the right side of the result and this should benefit us going forward”.

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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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