*Tony Kelly. Photograph: Martin Connolly

TONY KELLY is to make his first appearance of the year for Clare’s senior hurlers when they travel to Offaly on Sunday.

Brian Lohan’s charges will be hoping to collect their first National Hurling League win of the season when they face Offaly managed by ex Kilkenny hurler Michael Fennelly in O’Connor Park on Sunday afternoon.

As first reported by The Clare Echo, Kelly returned to action in an internal training match last weekend impressing at centre forward. The Ballyea man underwent surgery to rectify an ankle complaint in October and has met his targeted return date.

Scariff’s Patrick Crotty and Darren O’Brien of Éire Óg will make their first ever League starts for the Clare seniors. Crotty has been introduced as a substitute in Clare’s defeats to Cork and Wexford. He replaces his clubmate, Mark Rodgers who is awaiting results on a scan to determine the extent of a knee injury he sustained while lining out for UL’s Fitzgibbon Cup hurlers.

Rodgers makes way from the starting team alongside Jason McCarthy and Domhnall McMahon, both of whom are included among the substitutes. Ian Galvin, Aidan McCarthy, David Reidy, Patrick O’Connor and David McInerney join Rodgers on the treatment table.

John Conlon makes a return to defence in the team named on Friday evening. The Clonlara man who won an All Star and All-Ireland medals at senior and U21 level lining out in the forwards played centre back in last year’s championship. He is named at number seven for Sunday’s game with David Fitzgerald moving to midfield where he partners Paddy Donnellan of Broadford.

Another All Star from 2018, Peter Duggan is named on the matchday panel, it is the first time since the Clooney/Quin clubman departed for Australia following the 2019 season and the departure of Donal Moloney and Gerry O’Connor as joint managers. Joint captain of the Smith O’Briens team crowned Clare IHC champions last year, Cian Nolan has recovered from injury and is in contention to make his first bow for the county side this year. His clubmate, Mike Gough fresh from playing his part in UL’s glory over NUIG is also available for selection.

Clare:
1: Eibhear Quilligan (Feakle)

2: Rory Hayes (Wolfe Tones)
3: Conor Cleary (St Joseph’s Miltown)
4: Paul Flanagan (Ballyea)

5: Diarmuid Ryan (Cratloe)
6: Jack Browne (Ballyea)
7: John Conlon (Clonlara)

8: David Fitzgerald (Inagh/Kilnamona)
9: Paddy Donnellan (Broadford)

10: Cathal Malone (Sixmilebridge)
11: Tony Kelly (Ballyea)
12: Ryan Taylor (Clooney/Quin)

13: Shane Meehan (Banner)
14: Patrick Crotty (Scariff)
15: Darren O’Brien (Éire Óg)

Subs:
16: Eamonn Foudy (Inagh/Kilnamona)
17: Aron Shanagher (Wolfe Tones)
18: Jason McCarthy (Inagh/Kilnamona)
19: Darragh Lohan (Wolfe Tones)
20: Shane Golden (Sixmilebridge)
21: Mike Gough (Smith O’Briens)
22: Peter Duggan (Clooney/Quin)
23: Robin Mounsey (Ruan)
24: Cian Nolan (Smith O’Briens)
25: Aaron Fitzgerald (Éire Óg)
26: Gary Cooney (O’Callaghans Mills)

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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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