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Here’s why Davy Fitz trusted a 19 year-old to be Clare’s hurling hero

An injury to Darach Honan paved the way for O’Donnell to start yesterday.

Clare's manager Davy Fitzgerald and Shane O'Donnell celebrate after the game.
Clare's manager Davy Fitzgerald and Shane O'Donnell celebrate after the game.
Image: INPHO/James Crombie

DAVY FITZGERALD HAS revealed that an injury that attacker Darach Honan has carried for the last few months paved the way for 19 year-old Shane O’Donnell to be Clare’s hero in last night’s All-Ireland hurling final replay.

O’Donnell was only told a couple of hours before throw-in with Honan ruled out for a starting place because of a tear in his quad muscle.

And O’Donnell’s electric form in training in recent weeks convinced Fitzgerald to hand him a starting jersey.

“Shane O’Donnell in training over the last two weeks has been incredible. I only told him at 2.50pm today so he hadn’t too much time to worry about the nerves.

“I rang him the last few days and said ‘you’re probably going to come on at some stage ‘ and we decided just to keep it from him. Now, probably everyone else around the county knew (he would start)!”

O’Donnell was still playing minor hurling last year but Fitzgerald drafted him into his senior panel this season.

“He carried us (in the league). Conor (McGrath) and Darach were missing in the league because they were injured so Shane O’Donnell carried us on his own, 19 years of age, for the league.

“He was only thrown into the panel this year. I saw him at minor last year, he wasn’t on the U21′s last year, and I just saw something I liked about him.

“But the best thing about Shane O’Donnell is he’s such a good young fella. Trust me, he’s a really nice young fella. He’s not cocky or anything like that.”

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Pic: INPHO/Ryan Byrne

And Fitzgerald expressed his delight that Honan came off the bench at the finish to shoot home the goal that clinched victory for Clare.

“Darach Honan, let me make this clear, has been carrying an injury for three months that no-one has known about.

“He has a 16cm tear in his quad muscle. He’s only roughly been training once a week for the last three months. How he has managed to do what he’s done is incredible.

“We decided he just wasn’t getting enough training done. We felt if we could get 15 or 20 minutes out of him and by God what a display he gave when he came on. He got the goal that clinched it for us. I’m very proud of him.”

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