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Dublin: 6 °C Saturday 15 December, 2018

'I’d rate him up there as one of the best coaches or trainers I’ve ever worked with'

The return of Paul Kinnerk has been hailed by Clare hurler Tony Kelly.

THE RETURN OF coach Paul Kinnerk to the Clare hurling setup has been hailed by star player Tony Kelly.

Paul Kinnerk Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Kinnerk has returned to the Clare management team after taking a break from their setup in 2015.

Kelly has worked with the Limerick native since his minor days in 2010 and the 2013 Hurler of the Year.

Allied to the additions of Donal Óg Cusack and Aonghus O’Brien o the Banner coaching ticket, there is a renewed enthusiasm in a Clare squad that are unbeaten to date this year.

“It’s a massive boost, I’d rate him up there as one of the best coaches or trainers I’ve ever worked with,” says Kelly.

“And if you asked any of the lads they’d tell you the same. I think the appointment of bringing him back, Aonghus O’Brien in as well as another coach and Donal Og, have been good moves.

Adam Cahill, Niall Kelly, Andrew McClay, Tony Kelly and William Northey Tony Kelly was at Croke Park yesterday as part of the GAA's 1916 commemorative event. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

“It has been a positive and fresh move from the panel’s point of view as well. Donal is not that long out of playing as well and I suppose he’s a players’ coach.

“Paul is from the same school of thinking as well – he has fresh and new ideas. I think Davy is after shaking it up a bit.

“You need to come up with new things and adapt and change as you go along and I think he has done that with those appointments.

“The structures are there in place and it’s up to the players to use it to the best of our ability.”

Tony Kelly and Cian Dillon lift the cup Tony Kelly (left) after Clare's Munster senior hurling league final win in January Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Kelly himself is currently sidelined after tearing his ankle ligaments in training. He has resigned to missing Clare’s league campaign but is targeting a return in time for their Munster championship opener against Waterford on 5 June.

“It was just a training injury, something simple, rolled the ankle. I’ve had a lot worse rolls of the ankle. This one was just a bit higher up and a tear on it. The ligament between the two shin bones.

“I avoided surgery thank God. If you’re going to pick up an injury, you want it the start of the year rather than the middle of June or July when championship games are coming thick and fast.

“I was kind of lucky with the time of year as well. I’ll hopefully try to put a positive spin on it and come back fresher and better from it.”

Irish wolfhounds, armed Volunteers and inter-county GAA stars gather in Croke Park

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Fintan O'Toole

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