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After breaking two vertebrae, Clare champs hope team-mate can attend Munster semi-final

Eoghan Donnellan will be sidelined for up to four months after sustaining the injury in training.

Ballyea manager Robbie Hogan.
Ballyea manager Robbie Hogan.
Image: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

BALLYEA MANAGER ROBBIE Hogan is hopeful Eoghan Donnellan will be well enough to attend next Sunday’s AIB Munster club hurling semi-final against Thurles Sarsfields after the player was diagnosed with two broken vertebrae following a training ground collision.

Donnellan was injured on the Friday evening after the drawn Clare county final with Clonlara, and ruled out of last Sunday’s subsequent replay victory, when Ballyea were crowned Banner champions for the first time.

Donnellan, who plays club football for Clondegad, spent a week in hospital in Limerick before being transferred to Dublin’s Mater Hospital, where he was due to be fitted with a protective head brace yesterday.

But Hogan revealed that Donnellan did not have to undergo surgery, as was originally feared, and will be sent home to rest and recuperate.

The player is expected to be ruled out of action for up to four months and Hogan remarked that his absence was a huge motivating factor in last Sunday’s historic win.

Hogan said: “I was talking to him this morning. He was brought to the Mater in Dublin where they were to operate but [now] they’re not operating.

“He’ll be out of action for definitely the bones of three or four months and he’s in a specific head brace which restricts all kind of movement.

“We were training, playing a bit of a game and he went down low for a ball.

“His head hit straight into one of the lads’ legs and [he] suffered two fractured vertebrae.

“They were to put in a plate but they have decided against that.

“We’re hoping he will be there on Sunday but we’ll see.

“The brace was being fitted today. In the trauma unit in Dublin, there are only eight beds there so you get in, get the work done and you’re gone.

“He’ll either be back to Limerick or home. We hope he’s home.”

Hogan added: “He’s in good spirits. It was our motivation to get over the line for Eoghan.”

Ballyea’s next assignment is a daunting one, against Tipperary champions Thurles Sarsfields in next Sunday’s provincial semi-final at Cusack Park, Ennis.

And Hogan revealed that he has spoken to a number of Clonlara players who regret not pushing on in the Munster championship after winning their one and only county title in 2008.

Hogan said: “At this stage, you have that box (county) ticked. You’re not just representing your parish now, you’re representing your county.

I met with John Conlon and a few of the Clonlara players and when they won it in 2008, the big regret they had was that they had a week between games and fellas just didn’t go at it.

But Hogan acknowledges the scale of the task that lies in store for Ballyea, adding: “They (Sarsfields) are a serious outfit, with All-Ireland winners and All-Stars.

“They have massive momentum and it’s a huge ask but we have to back ourselves now.

“Instead of marking a name, mark a jersey. That’s the way we’ll approach it.”

Bar Donnellan, Hogan has reported an otherwise clean bill of health ahead of Sunday’s tie.

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