Cooney, last year’s U21 captain, sustained an ankle injury on club duty a fortnight ago and will not be fit in time.
McNamara revealed that Newmarket clubman McInerney will now fill the role which has caused Clare problems since Brian Lohan’s retirement in 2006.
McNamara lamented Cooney’s absence and reflected: “It’s a pity because we thought he could fill the troublesome full back area. Conor’s injury didn’t respond to treatment as well as we hoped, although there is a slight chance he might play a part.’’
McNamara, expected to name his team this evening, is relishing the latest instalment of Tipp and Clare in the championship. The teams met in last year’s final at the Gaelic Grounds and an engaging rivalry will be renewed at the same venue on Sunday.
McNamara said: “We’re a proud county and we want to present ourselves well in Munster. It’s a massive challenge but anybody in Munster can perform on a given day. Last Sunday’s match between Limerick and Waterford was very poor but I would be surprised if those teams don’t come out with all guns blazing in Saturday’s replay. You’ll rarely have two bad matches in-a-row but from our point of view, we’re travelling to Limerick with a young team, looking at the present but with an eye on the future.”
Clare will start against provincial champions Tipperary as 4/1 outsiders but McNamara has warned the Premier County that his team will exploit any chinks in their armour.
The Banner County’s All-Ireland winning selector in 1995 and 1997 said: “Tipp gave a massive performance in the league final against Kilkenny and were unlucky to lose out. They did struggle in the first round of the championship against Cork but that is a warning that Liam Sheedy will have taken heed of.
“If they take their eye off the ball, like they did in last year’s All-Ireland semi-final, they’ll pay a big price.”
Meanwhile Experienced Galway attacker Alan Kerins has been given only a 50-50 chance of being fit for Saturday’s Leinster semi-final with Kilkenny.
Kerins, only recalled to the panel after the national league, suffered an ankle injury in training and faces a battle to be fit.
“It is probably no better than 50-50 at this stage for Alan,” said selector John Moylan. “We will see how he progresses during the week.”
Joe Canning looks like he will recover from a groin injury to take his place but Portumna colleague Andy Smyth is a major doubt with a shin injury. Defender Brian Mahony has been ruled out with a hamstring injury picked up against Offaly in a challenge match last week.
Liam Ryan is a serious injury doubt for Dublin who meet Wexford in the semi final of the Leinster SHC at Nowlan Park, Kilkenny on Sunday.
The experienced Dublin forward is struggling with a calf muscle injury and is in a race against time to be fit as the Dubs seek to qualify for their first provincial final since 1991.
CORK (IH v Clare): A Nash (Kanturk); P Fitzgerald (Erin’s Own), D McSweeney (Blarney), B Murphy (Fr O’Neills); J Carey (Dripsey), R Cashman (Kilbrittain), G O’Leary (Fr O’Neills); E Dillon (Milford), B Coleman (Ballyhea); R Dwyer (Ballymartle), M O’Sullivan (Dripsey), S Moylan (Douglas); M O’Sullivan (Ballyhea), E Collins (Valley Rovers), B Ring (Youghal).
Subs: D McCarthy (Ballymartle), E Clancy (Fermoy), A Mannix (Kilworth), T Cullinane (Douglas), B Lawton (Castlemartyr), P O’Leary (Blarney), L Desmond (Youghal), L McLoughlin (Kanturk), L O’Farrell (Midleton)