Nicky O'Connell returns to Banner squad after apology
Nicky O'Connell last night returned to the Clare hurling panel almost exactly a month after leaving it in controversial circumstances.
The Irish Independent understands he was welcomed back after a recovery session at The Inn in Dromoland and subsequently apologised to the squad after team manager Davy Fitzgerald made it clear that he had no objection to O'Connell's return.
Clare's management and players previously issued a statement questioning the detail of a newspaper interview given by another player, Davy O'Halloran, in which he outlined the reasons for his and O'Connell's departure from the squad.
In the statement, they reiterated the unity of the group and their decision to welcome O'Connell back will surely be seen as a confident gesture by the 2013 All-Ireland champions.
Clare suffered relegation in the National League, but hurled well enough in the final play-off against Kilkenny to suggest they can be a force in the forthcoming championship.
O'Connell has been on the Clare panel since 2010 and it is understood the Clonlara man has now chosen to distance himself from O'Halloran's allegations about being exposed to "humiliating" treatment as part of a disciplining process for going on a night out two days before a league game.
Clare begin their championship campaign with a Munster quarter-final against Limerick on May 24.