Brian Lohan's jersey `retired' for semi clash
BRIAN LOHAN'S No 3 jersey has been temporarily `retired' for Sunday's Guinness All-Ireland hurling semi-final against Offaly at Croke Park.
On the day when Clare boss Ger Loughnane let loose with both barrels against a host of targets primarily the Munster Council the Banner team as released to the media last night contains a very pointed message.
Lohan, of course, will be absent next Sunday, serving a one-month suspension imposed for his sending-off against Waterford in the Munster final replay. But his jersey will also be missing in action.
The full-back line reads, from right to left: newcomer John Reddan wearing No 17, Brian's brother Frank Lohan at No 2, and Brian Quinn at No 4.
A Clare spokesperson insisted that the absence of No 3 from the team list did not signify a protest from the county management.
``Brian Lohan was dealt with. We have no argument about the Brian Lohan situation,'' the spokesperson said.
``He has done so much for Clare and it's more or less in solidarity with him. There won't be any No 3 jersey, it's as simple as that.''
Lohan and Waterford forward Michael White received their marching orders from match referee Willie Barrett minutes into the Munster Final replay at Thurles last Sunday two weeks.
In a highly charged match which had seen several earlier altercations, the dismissal of the pair signalled the end of the rough stuff as both sides then settled down.
The versatile Reddan captained the Clare minors to All-Ireland glory last September but is better known as a half-back.
The 19-year-old plays for Sixmilebridge and is currently studying at Tralee Institute of Technology.
The other major talking points centre on the inclusion of injury doubt Liam Doyle at right half-back, Colin Lynch (despite the threat of suspension) at midfield, and PJ O'Connell (back from suspension) at right half-forward.
Doyle damaged ankle ligaments in the Waterford replay and was no crutches last week.
Even yesterday, during his Clare FM broadside, Loughnane said the Bodyke man was ``extremely doubtful with a very, very poor chance of playing.''
But according to the Clare spokesperson, Doyle came through last night's workout with flying colours.
``It wouldn't have been the hardest training session of all time, but Liam did everything that was asked of him tonight,'' he said.
However, there is still some speculation within the county that Doyle will struggle to start. In that scenario, one possibility would see Reddan switching to wing-back with Michael O'Halloran returning to the team in the corner.
Lynch, as expected, is listed at midfield even though he will appear before the Munster Council on Friday night to explain his actions during the opening minutes of the provincial final replay.
The only personnel change in the forward line sees O'Connell come in at wing-forward at the expense of Conor Clancy. The attack is reshuffled as a result, with Fergus Tuohy switching to centre-forward, Alan Markham to corner-forward and Niall Gilligan to full-forward.
This, it must be stressed, is the Wednesday night team. How Clare actually start on Sunday, given their predeliction for naming `dummy' teams (remember Tipp '97, and Cork and Waterford this summer) is anyone's guess all the more so given the doubts about Doyle and Lynch.
Meanwhile, Kilkenny are keeping their fingers crossed hoping for a minor miracle that would leave them with the services of their crack forward for the All Ireland Hurling Semi-final against Waterford.
Dazzling attacker Charlie Carter, who has been the Cats best forward by a mile all season, is a serious doubt for the big game at Croke Park on Sunday week.
CLARE (SH v Offaly) D Fitzgerald; J Reddan, F Lohan, B Quinn; L Doyle, S McMahon, A Daly; O Baker, C Lynch; PJ O'Connell, F Tuohy, J O'Connor; A Markham, N Gilligan, D Forde.
Subs: J O'Brien, C Chaplin, B Scanlan, R Woods, C Clancy, G O'Loughlin, F Hegarty, E Taaffe, M O'Halloran, D Hegarty, D Scanlan, B Murphy.