Three Clare hurlers ruled out of 2019 Championship
By John Harrington
Clare are resigned to being without Ian Galvin, Jamie Shanahan, and Conor McGrath for the duration of the 2019 Hurling Championship.
All three have been important players for the Banner in recent years, but joint-manager Gerry O’Connor is hopeful their loss can present an opportunity for other panellists.
“They’re all gone," said O'Connor yesterday at the launch of the Munster Senior Championships in Dungarvan. “Jamie had an operation on his back two weeks ago so he is definitely out."
“Conor McGrath had a operation on his shoulder after Christmas and he’s definitely…Ian Galvin had an injury on his arm a couple of weeks ago so he’s out.
“I wouldn’t say we’ll see them this year, definitely not. They are all gone so that’s a significant loss but is has given a chance to the likes of Diarmuid Ryan and Shane Golden.
“We probably wouldn’t have got as much game time into Diarmuid Ryan, Aidan McCarthy and Shane Golden if those guys were around.
“That’s the nature of team sport. One guy gets injured and another get the chance to show what he can do.”
One big boost for Clare ahead of the Championship is the return to the panel of Shane O’Donnell.
He didn’t feature in the League because he was studying microbiology in Harvard after being awarded a Fulbright scholarship to the prestigious US University.
According to O’Connor, the hero of Clare’s 2013 All-Ireland Final win returned to the panel in great shape.
“It was probably his first year putting in a decent pre-season,” said O’Connor.
“He would have linked up with Kelvin (Harold) our strength and conditioning guy and they would have been in constant contact in terms of the gym program he was expected to follow and he came back in great shape.
“Shane is one of these where he’s such an intelligent and completely unique guy that very few people would be able to come back and do what he did and very few people in the first place would have been asked to go and do what he did but from our perspective he has added a great leadership quality to the dressing room.
“At the same time he came back John Conlon came back from injury too.
“John hurt his calf and ankle against Limerick in the league in Cusack Park and those two guys have tested our corner backs anyway and given us a new dimension in terms of attacking threat that we wouldn’t have seen in the latter stages of the national league.”
Meanwhile, Waterford, who Clare play in the first round of the Munster SHC on May 12, should soon have a clean bill of health, according to manager Paraic Fanning. That makes a nice change from earlier in the season when they had an epidemic of injuries.
"There was about 15 of them out at one stage," said Fanning.
"The Fives, Shane is back. Most of our players are nearly back. We have one or two tweaks that some lads have that may or may not get over the line. But in the overall context I think everyone is back.
"Shane Fives is back, Darragh still has a little bit of an injury at the moment. Conor Gleeson is very close. But again we’ve just got to gauge. This week will tell a lot for us. They’re only coming back from the club games now. So we’re only really getting back into the full swing, two weeks out from the championship."