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Dublin: 11°C Monday 17 May 2021

Full squad for the Banner ahead of showdown with the Cats

Clare are chasing a second All-Ireland U21 hurling crown in four years next Saturday evening against Kilkenny.

Clare U21 joint managers Gerry O'Connor and Donal Moloney.
Clare U21 joint managers Gerry O'Connor and Donal Moloney.
Image: INPHO/James Crombie

CLARE REPORT NO fresh injury worries ahead of next Saturday’s Bord Gáis Energy All-Ireland U21HC final against Kilkenny in Semple Stadium.

Long-term injury victim Daire Keane, who broke his leg in training with the Clare senior squad at the end of June, is set to be the only absentee for the Banner squad supervised by joint-managers Gerry O’Connor and Donal Moloney.

The Kilmaley youngster has been unable to recover for this game as he has a lack of gametime under his belt in recent weeks.

O’Connor told that Clare have a full squad otherwise to pick from as the Munster champions enter the match on the back of a comfortable All-Ireland semi-final triumph over Antrim by 4-23 to 0-7.

“Daire is the only player we will be without and he’s been a long-term absentee,” confirmed O’Connor. “It’s unfortunate for him as he is an excellent hurler. But since injuring his leg, he just is not yet physically and mentally in a place where he can compete at this level. We’re really just wrapping up our preparations at this stage and getting ready for Saturday.”

O’Connor, who guided the county minor team in 2010 and 2011 along with Moloney, admits that selecting a starting fifteen is an extremely difficult task for the Clare management due to the quality of players at their disposal.

Of the side that overcame Antrim in that All-Ireland semi-final tie, there were five players – Seadna Morey, Colm Galvin, Tony Kelly, Aaron Cunningham and Conor McGrath – who started in the county senior side’s qualifier defeat to Limerick earlier this summer.

In addition the depth of the Clare U21 panel is illustrated by the fact that Munster final goal-scoring hero Niall Arthur and Davy O’Halloran, who struck 1-4 during the provincial semi-final against Waterford, both came on as substitutes against Antrim.

“When the two of us were in charge of the minor team, it was a more straightforward one to pick. But we’ve had more rows in picking this U21 side along with Paul Kinnerk and Jimmy Browne who are also on the management team.

“And that’s a good thing because it reflects how hard it is to pick a starting team and the substitutes. We’ve had to apply a huge amount of time in getting it right. It’s constantly been changing and evolving throughout the year.”

Saturday September 15th
Bord Gáis Energy All-Ireland U21HC final:
Clare v Kilkenny, Semple Stadium, Thurles, 7pm, (Diarmuid Kirwan, Cork), (Live TG4).
Bord Gáis Energy All-Ireland U21BHC final: Kildare v Roscommon, Semple Stadium, Thurles, 5pm, (David Copps, Cork), (Live TG4).

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Fintan O'Toole

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