Sunday 26 January 2020

'Thurles has been good for us and we like going there' - Clare joint-manager Donal Moloney

Clare joint manager Donal Moloney. Photo: Sportsfile
Clare joint manager Donal Moloney. Photo: Sportsfile

Jackie Cahill

Clare joint-manager Donal Moloney has admitted that the Banner County are much happier playing Cork at Semple Stadium in the Munster SHC final on July 9.

Had Páirc Uí Chaoimh been ready in time to host the provincial showpiece, Clare would have been faced with the prospect of tackling the Rebels in front of a partisan home crowd at the revamped venue.

But Clare will return to the scene of their semi-final victory over Limerick, as Cork prepare for a third championship appearance of the summer in Thurles.

Moloney said last night: "We'd rather play them in Thurles than Páirc Uí Chaoimh. We like Thurles.

"If we had to go to Páirc Uí Chaoimh, it wouldn't have been an issue either but you've got be practical and say it would have to be an advantage for Cork, if we played them down there. We like playing in Thurles, it's been good for us from an underage perspective over the years. We like going there."

Moloney and sidekick Gerry O'Connor enjoyed a considerable degree of success at Semple Stadium during their years as minor and U-21 managers.

In 2010, they landed the Munster minor crown there, before winning an U-21 provincial decider at the Field of Legends in 2013.

In Thurles, Moloney and O'Connor also presided over three successive All-Ireland U-21 final wins from 2012-2014.

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Ahead of a senior return on Sunday week, Moloney revealed that full-back David McInerney remains a doubt with a hamstring injury.

But he said: "We're hopeful that he's going to make it. He's going through his rehab, working very, very hard. We'll probably know better by the weekend."

Corner-back Oisin O'Brien is also in contention for a starting place after making a quicker-than-expected return to full training after suffering a meniscal knee tear during the Allianz League defeat against Tipperary in March.

Moloney said: "Knowing Oisin, that probably wouldn't be a surprise because he surprised the physios and the specialists in terms of his recovery.

"He behaves off the field in terms of his rehab as he does on the field, he'd be very, very focused. He made a really quick recovery, probably came in six weeks ahead of schedule."

Podge Collins will also be fit for the clash after he damaged his ankle against Limerick on June 4.

Moloney, meanwhile, has delivered a "mixed" reaction to proposals aimed at revamping the All-Ireland championship, including the implementation of home and away round-robin fixtures in Munster.

Moloney insisted that there are "arguments for and against" change - and urged GAA chiefs to consider the risks associated with potentially ending the knockout nature of the storied provincial series.

He said: "I can understand the necessity to increase the number of games in terms of the profile of hurling, I can respect that intent.

"On the other side of that, you have to say, and I wasn't at the Tipp-Cork game but I was at the Waterford-Cork game, and the atmosphere was phenomenal.

"That was like a throwback to maybe 15 years ago in terms of the atmosphere and magic of the Munster Championship.

"Those days have a certain resonance. The trade-off is, would you lose that in order to increase the profile?" he asked

"That's got to be thought through - is what you're getting better than what's been in the past?

"Sometimes we make change for the sake of it, or you make change because you think you're trying to fix a problem, but you might create another one."

Moloney also described the prospect of Clare appearing at the AIG Fenway hurling classic in Boston later this year as "an honour."

Clare will join Tipperary, Galway and Dublin in Boston for a 'Super 11s' double-header in November.

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