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‘You cannot fall out with anyone over COVID’ – Clare Junior boss not pressuring players to return to play

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*Clare joint manager, Ann-Marie McGann

Joint manager of the Clare junior camogie team, Ann-Marie McGann has outlined that members of the panel have departed due to concerns regarding COVID-19.

Clare’s junior side commenced their All-Ireland bid on Saturday last with an eight point win over Offaly and face Wexford where another victory would cement their place in the last four of the competition for the second year in a row.

Since Clare began training at the start of the year and when they recommenced following the club campaign, panellists have departed. “Some of them just decided they didn’t want to play. When you’re playing inter-county for camogie for so long and you get a four or five month break you’re saying to yourself that I love this life of doing nothing. We’ve a couple of players who didn’t play because of COVID issues at home, you cannot fight with anyone over that and you just have to work with it, a few players have dropped off but when they see things getting momentum we might see them back by the end of the year,” McGann explained.

“We picked 26 because we had 30 last year and we found it very hard to give all the girls game time, it is better to keep a small panel and give everyone as small a run as possible. I’m delighted for the girls to get this win, we’re halfway into a semi-final now,” the St Josephs Doora/Barefield clubwoman said.

Managements ordinarily deal with issues such as players under pressure for exams or work-related matters but COVID-19 has presented a new dilemma. “You cannot fight with anyone, you have to accept what someone says to you, if the girls have issues that is fine. If I’m being honest and I may be hypocritical standing on the line, I thought the GAA might have never gone ahead, now that I’m here I’m glad especially because we won. You cannot fall out with anyone over COVID because it is an exceptional year”.

Reflecting on their opening win, the Ennis based secondary school teacher admonished their poor start. “I was irate for the first twenty minutes, we never play like that, we don’t do it in trainings or challenge matches but it must have been COVID cobwebs, they were so nervous for the first twenty minutes, it took a while to get into it but so many of the girls stepped up like Caoimhe Carmody, Louise McDonnell’s goal if anyone got that in hurling everyone would be talking about it all in one movement drifted in caught the ball and put it in the back of the net it was outstanding, Sarah Ní Cheallaigh and Caoimhe Kelly were outstanding”.

Karen Ryan will miss the Wexford clash due to a broken hand while the extent of a shoulder injury for Sixmilebridge’s Fina O’Brien will be known closer to game-time.

Páraic McMahon is Head of News & Sport with The Clare Echo. The Newmarket-on-Fergus native also writes for national papers including The Irish Examiner, The Irish Independent and The Irish Times along with doing work for RTÉ, Today FM, TheJournal.ie and The42.ie. A graduate of Mary Immaculate College, Páraic was previously employed by The Clare Herald and Clare FM. If you have a story, tip or some feedback for him then send an email to - paraic@clareecho.ie

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