Injured Clare attacker Conor McGrath. INPHO/Donall Farmer.

Clare suffer McGrath and Dillon injury setbacks

The Banner’s hurling side will have to plan without some key players for the opening rounds of their Allianz Hurling League Division 1A campaign.

CLARE WILL HAVE to plan without last year’s All-Ireland U21 winning captain Conor McGrath and key defender Cian Dillon for the opening rounds of the Allianz Hurling League.

Hip injuries are set to sideline both players as Davy Fitzgerald’s side get set to compete in Division 1A following promotion last year.

McGrath underwent a hip operation before Christmas after struggling with the injury last year while Dillon is likely to undergo surgery shortly to also rectify a hip problem.

It is believed the pair will be targeting a mid-March comeback date which would ensure they definitely miss Clare’s opening two games in the top tier against Waterford on February 24th and Galway on March 10th.

Cratloe player McGrath was captain of the county U21 team that claimed success against Kilkenny last September while he was also part of a team that featured Dillon in 2009 when the Banner first won an All-Ireland crown in that grade. The duo have become established members of the senior side in recent seasons.

In addition Clonlara attacker Darach Honan has been struck down by injury again after missing out on the majority of last season. A hip problem affected Honan’s participation last year but he is presently recovering from a knee cartilage operation that he had before Christmas.

The prognosis is brighter on this occasion for Honan and it is hoped that he will be back in full training with the squad by the end of February.

Clare continued their pre-season preparations last weekend with a challenge match against Offaly played in Limerick IT’s grounds.

Clare triumphed by 2-22 to 0-15 with both Aaron Cunningham and Tony Kelly, who are both still eligible for the U21 ranks this year, featuring prominently in the scoring stakes.

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