Ex-Waterford star John Mullane believes the best chance Clare have to rescue their season is to persuade Podge Collins and others who chose football to rejoin the hurling squad.
Podge and brother Sean Collins both decided in September to commit only to Clare football for this season - where they would be managed by their father Colm.
Podge Collins chose to play only football at inter-county level this season.
This was seen as a serious blow to Davy Fitzgerald’s aspirations, particularly the loss of Podge - an All Star in 2013 when Clare won the All-Ireland.
Clare lost to Limerick in their Munster SHC quarter-final on Sunday and now face a long road back through the All-Ireland qualifiers.
Mullane, who played under Fitzgerald when he managed Waterford, said the manager needs to coax Podge back to hurling.
“For Davy FitzGerald now, he’s got one massive decision,” Mullane said to RTE last night.
“Does he go knocking on Podge Collins’ door and say to Podge: ‘Look you know we’ll leave a little bit of leeway there for you with regards to football’.
“I think he’s got to get Podge Collins back.”
Davy Fitzgerald watched his side lose to Limerick at Semple Stadium on Sunday.
The Waterford man urged Fitzgerald to move fast to get not only Podge, but brother Sean and others.
"He’s got to go and come to some decision,” he said. “I think he’s got to act fast because I’m looking at the fixtures and Clare footballers won at the weekend [against Limerick] and the latest the Clare footballers could be out of the championship could be mid-July.”
Mullane admitted Fitzgerald would find it difficult to go to the players, but felt he didn’t really have a choice if Clare were to get anything from this season.
“In my dealings with Davy at Waterford for four years, he is set in his ways but he has no option here.”
Mullane continued: “I’d rather have Podge Collins in the panel than not in the panel, so I think Davy is going to be left with no option but to chase down the Clare footballers to see if he can get him back on side”.