Thursday 23 November 2017

O'Donnell the only concern as Banner look to silence Rebel yell

Cliona Foley

Cliona Foley

TEEN tyro Shane O'Donnell is Clare's only fitness worry for Sunday's Munster hurling semi-final against Cork.

A chest infection forced the 18-year-old from Ennis to miss all of Clare's training sessions last week and, while he has since returned to action, there are doubts about his match fitness.

O'Donnell started at full-forward when Clare beat Cork 0-31 to 2-23 in this year's epic Division 1A relegation play-off and also scored a pivotal goal on his senior championship debut against Waterford.

Another inexperienced teenager, who was also one of last year's county minors, could be given a starting spot for the Banner after impressing in a cameo off the bench against Waterford.

There is speculation that Peter Duggan, the strapping 19-year-old who was thrown into the heat of the fray against the Deise and helped Clare turn things around after a poor start, could get his first Munster start against the Rebels.

Duggan replaced Seadna Morey after a half-hour against Waterford and, though he was called ashore in the dying minutes, his ball-winning abilities made a huge difference to Clare's half-forward line and his form for his club Clooney-Quinn has also been good this summer.

changes

Manager Davy Fitzgerald is not expected to unveil his team until late tonight and, while he is not expected to make any changes in defence, All Star wing-back Brendan Bugler could be switched to the centre in a swap with Pat Donnellan.

Changes are expected in midfield, with Morey tipped to lose out and, if Colin Ryan is switched from half-forward to partner Colm Galvin, that would create a vacancy at half-forward, which Duggan could fill.

Another alternative is that Nicky O'Connell could come into midfield and that would likely see Duggan held for another useful impact role off the bench.

If O'Donnell does not start, it is expected that Paudge Collins, who replaced him against Waterford, will take his place.

LATER THROW-IN FOR DUBLIN V KILKENNY

SUNDAY'S Leinster senior hurling semi-final between Dublin and Kilkenny in Portlaoise has been moved to a later throw-in time of 3.50.

The Leinster Council have decided to delay the original throw-in by 20 minutes to facilitate the possibility of extra-time in the Leinster MHC showdown between Laois and Wexford that precedes it.

Irish Independent

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