Wednesday 22 January 2020

Baker keeps the faith with Offaly panel for Clare test

Cliona Foley

OFFALY'S versatile centre-back Rory Hanniffy will be out of hurling for six to eight weeks with a bad hand injury, but they will not be springing any Coolderry players to replace him for Sunday's vital Division 1B game against Clare.

"We made a firm decision at the start of the league that we would go with the players who were training with us for all of our group games and we're sticking to that," said manager Ollie Baker yesterday.

Hanniffy needed surgery on the broken thumb he suffered against Limerick last weekend and Baker said the unfortunate Birr man's next competitive outing will likely be their championship opener against Wexford on June 2.

If Offaly beat Baker's native Clare on Sunday they are likely to meet the Banner again in the Division 1B final and, only then, is Baker likely to look to Coolderry's players.

Hanniffy's clubmate Barry Harding indirectly replaces him this weekend, coming in on the wing to allow Derek Morkan to move into centre-back.

Ger Healion and Sean Ryan are rewarded for doing well off the bench and Dermot Mooney also comes into the attack. Stephen Wynne, James Mulrooney and Colin Egan lose out.

Given Offaly's superior score difference to Limerick's (+13), a win over Clare would virtually assure them of a place in the Division 1B final against the Banner County.

Offaly (SH v Clare) -- J Dempsey; C McDonald, D Kenny (captain), D Franks; B Harding, D Morkan, J Rigney; D Horan, B Murphy; J Bergin, C Mahon, D Mooney; S Dooley, G Healion, S Ryan.

Irish Independent

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