New Clare hurling bosses must plan without 7 All-Ireland senior winners for start of season

Tony Kelly, Conor McGrath and Colin Ryan are some of those unavailable.

NEW CLARE MANAGEMENT duo Donal Moloney and Gerry O’Connor will get the chance to experiment in the coming weeks as they’ll be without seven All-Ireland senior hurling winners for the start of their 2017 campaign.

Tony Kelly, Paul Flanagan and Conor McGrath all out for the early stages of 2017 for Clare. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

From the triumphant 2013 team Tony Kelly, Patrick O’Connor, Patrick Donnellan, David McInerney, Colin Ryan and Conor McGrath are all currently unavailable, along with Paul Flanagan who was involved in that squad four years ago.

Defensive pair Jack Browne and Gearoid O’Connell are also marked absent for the early stages of the season along with new attacking prospects Niall Deasy and Ian Galvin.

Ballyea’s preparations for an All-Ireland club semi-final against Galway’s St Thomas on 4 February in Semple Stadium rule out Kelly, Flanagan, Browne, O’Connell and Deasy. The latter had been called up on the back of last autumn’s scoring exploits exploits as Ballyea won historic county and Munster senior titles.

Niall Deasy Niall Deasy scored 0-7 in last year's Munster senior club hurling final Source: Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO

McGrath and O’Connor have both undergone shoulder surgeries recently which will most likely sideline them for the majority of the spring.

McInerney is travelling abroad at present and will rejoin the squad when he returns in March.

Ryan is currently on an extended break from the panel, opting to take time out at the end of last summer. He has been focused on playing soccer for his local team Newmarket Celtic and the Clare Oscar Traynor Cup side.

Colin Ryan Clare hurler Colin Ryan Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Both Donnellan and Galvin – a younger brother of midfielder Colm – tore cruciates in 2016 and their rehab is expected to be completed to allow them return to full training in late January.

Moloney and O’Connor have a 40-strong squad of players to pick from for the Munster senior hurling league with Clare’s first game there on 15 January against Kerry.

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Donal Moloney and Gerry O'Connor Clare hurling management duo Donal Moloney and Gerry O'Connor Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Clare’s league panel will be selected after the pre-season competition before they then travel to take on Cork in their first game in the Allianz hurling league on 11 February.

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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