THE Clare football squad has defied some public disquiet in the county by embarking on a training week in the Catskill Mountains outside New York.
After a very disappointing league campaign, the footballers jetted out to the USA on Monday last.
The seven-day trip will cost the County Board ?40,000 and there has been some scepticism locally about the merits of such a venture.
The resort in Catskill was visited by the Mayo squad last year after their opening Connacht championship match in New York.
Clare manager John Kennedy made contact with John Maughan to evaluate the place. Mayo were rich in their praise of a venue that really kick-started their impressive championship in 2004.
But Clare have embarked on this trip on the back of just one league win over London, hardly an impressive record.
Kennedy has defended the trip, stating that it is a great opportunity for all the squad to get together before the championship.
Aware of opposition to the New York venture, he has stressed that the idea was first proposed last November and agreed then by the County Board.
A number of the Clare players did a sponsored Burren walk to raise funds for the trip.
Ironically, the Clare footballers were rewarded with a trip to North America last autumn for winning the much maligned Tommy Murphy Cup.