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Dublin: 6 °C Saturday 15 December, 2018

'It's been a while' - O'Donnell hungry to help Clare back to Croke Park after injury layoff

The 22-year-old wants to get the chance to replicate his 2013 All-Ireland final exploits.

O'Donnell congratulated by fans on Sunday.
O'Donnell congratulated by fans on Sunday.
Image: Ken Sutton/INPHO

SHANE O’DONNELL HAS fond memories of Croke Park and he’s desperate to rediscover his form of three years ago to guide Clare back to HQ this summer.

It’s been a frustrating few months for the forward as he’s battled with an ankle injury but he returned on Sunday to help the Banner see off Waterford in the league decider.

Davy Fitzgerald’s side head into the Munster championship campaign infused with the confidence which comes from a successful spring.

“It’s just about having some sort of momentum but I’d be extremely confident in our players.” O’Donnell says. “I see talent all over the pitch when I look out at the Clare team.

“From a mental point of view as well it’s nice to have had a good league behind you coming into the championship.

“Results are funny. We lost a lot of games by a point last year and we just seem to be winning them this year. You can never really put your finger on it. How different it can be between years.

“You would have thought in the middle of last year that things were going great but then you go out in the game and it just doesn’t happen. Sometimes you can blame a load of things but it can just be something very simple when you’re losing by a point.”

It’s still early days but already Clare have been installed as third-favourites, behind Kilkenny and Tipperary, to lift the Liam McCarthy Cup in September.

But it’s been a while since the Banner ran out at Croke Park at the business end of the season.

“Yeah, it has been a while,” O’Donnell admits. “Everyone’s ambition at the start of the year is to get to Croke Park, so obviously it would be unbelievable to get back here.

“But there’s a lot of matches between now and then and a lot of teams want to get here. You are going to be looking at four teams out of seven or eight teams that could potentially win the All-Ireland.

“So there’s a lot of games to be played and if you asked anyone they’d want to be here.”

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Ryan Bailey

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