Tipp unhappy with déjà vu clash with Clare

TIPPERARY senior football coach Tom McGlinchey is none too pleased at having to play Clare in the McGrath Cup final next Sunday.

“It’s only seven days before the counties meet in the opening round of the National League, and playing the same county on successive Sundays isn’t an ideal situation,” said McGlinchey.

Defending champions Clare will have home advantage for Sunday’s final. The game has been fixed for Milltown-Malbay with a 2 pm throw-in. Ger Haugh (Limerick) is the referee.

The Tipperary coach, who has agreed to stay on for at least another season, will use the game to test a few newcomers who did very well in the semi-final win over Waterford at the weekend.

“We’ll be going for the win”, said Tom. “A trophy is a trophy, and winning breeds confidence, but at the same time my priority this year will be the league.

“We need to get out of the group we are in and play in a higher grade. It would be my intention to use the McGrath Cup to blood a few new players and see what they are capable of.

“In the semi-final, against Waterford, newcomers Shane Maher, Declan Fanning, Aidan Fitzgerald, Pat Lally (he was a minor last year), David Byrne and Tony Doyle all did very well and they’ll be given another chance to make their mark.

“Sean Collum and Paul Cahill continue to be absentees, and while Declan Browne is expected home from a well deserved All-Star trip on Thursday/Friday, it’s unlikely he’ll start on Sunday”.

McGlinchey steered Tipperary to the Munster final last year which they should have won at the first attempt, and signified his intention to step down following the defeat by Mayo in the All-Ireland qualifier.

However, he has agreed to stay on for another season. “It wasn’t an easy decision. There were other offers in the pipeline but I’ve had two great years with Tipp and it would have been very hard to walk away.”

New Clare boss John Kennedy is of the same view as McGlinchey. “We’ll be going all out for the win on Sunday. Winning becomes a habit and players benefit from it”, he said.

“The panel has been boosted by the return of Odran O’Dwyer, Ger Keane, Conor Whelan and Padraigh Gallagher who missed out last year through, and with Joe Considine concentrating all his energies on football this year, we’ll give a good account of ourselves.”

Meanwhile, new Tyrone boss Nicky Harte finds himself in the horns of dilemma. He is also coach with county champions Errigal Ciaran, who will play Nemo Rangers in the All-Ireland Club semi-final on February 23 in Portlaoise.

Tyrone will play Cavan in the McKenna Cup semi-final on Sunday at Breffni Park in a repeat of last year’s NFL final and with seven Errigal Ciarain players on the county panel, Harte finds himself torn between loyalty to both club and county.

“Having discussed the problem with all concerned, we’ve agreed that half of the club players will play on Sunday. A decision on who those players will be, won’t be made until later in the week,” said Harte.

“Provided they don’t pick up any injuries, the game against Cavan should be very beneficial to the players who will play. We will be without Brian Dooher and Declan McCrossan who are injured.”

Peter Canavan, Stephen O’Neill and Chris Lawn are away with the All-Star team, but will be included on the team to play on Sunday. Canavan’s twin brother Pascal, who broke his jaw in a club game before Christmas, is still unavailable for club and county.

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