*Sean Costelloe will be vying for a place in the Wolfe Tones attack. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill
It’s fifteen years since Wolfe Tones won the second of their two Clare senior hurling titles, that win coming a decade after they made the breakthrough in 1996 after which they went on to win the Munster title before losing out in the All-Ireland final.
Management: Ray Diviney (manager), Barry Keane, Paul O’Shea, Alan Cunningham, Fergal Lawlor (S&C)
Captain: Aaron Cunningham
Key Player: Rory Hayes
One To Watch: Cian O’Rourke
Fresh Blood: Daithi Lohan
Departures Gate: Gary O’Connell
SHC titles won: 2
Most Recent SHC title: 2006
Round 1 v Scariff (August 14th)
Round 2 v Sixmilebridge (September 4th/5th)
Round 3 v Clarecastle (September 18th/19th)
The nineties and the noughties were great times for the Shannon club with numerous underage title wins but a downturn came and the past decade hasn’t seen too many titles come to the club.
They lost their senior status but quickly bounced back to the top flight and they plan on remaining there. They face last year’s intermediate title winners Scariff in this Saturday’s senior championship first round and the East Clare side go into the game with a lot of confidence having come through the recently concluded Division 2 league without suffering a defeat.
Wolfe Tones team manager Ray Divinney is pleased with the team’s run in to the championship. “Unlike last year, we had a league this year and we got five games which helped develop the younger lads and this has proven beneficial. We started the league poorly but we had good results towards the end of the campaign and played better in our last two games against St. Josephs and Whitegate”, he said this week.
With eleven dual players in his squad, Diviney admitted it was an issue that required careful management. “Like all dual clubs we suffer because of this. We have to balance. We have a good rapport with the football manager and both sides are mindful of the work load of the players”.
Alan Cunningham who coached the team which made the breakthrough to win senior honours back in 1996, has joined this year’s management team. The St. Caimins secondary school principal is currently a member of the Limerick senior hurling management under John Kiely.
Scariff are the sole object occupying the minds of the Tones set-up. “Scariff are building strong from last year and with Mark Rodgers in their team, they will be very tough opposition. We struggled against Clarecastle last year while the ‘Bridge are the champions. For now the opening game (v Scariff) is all we are focussed on. We will be taking it round by round,” Diviney told The Clare Echo.
Experience is provided by Barry Loughnane, Jamie Roughan and Daithi O’Connell who are survivors from the 2006 title winning side which was captained by Loughnane. Their squad also includes current senior Clare panellists in Rory Hayes, Aron Shanagher and Darragh Lohan.