Fennessy warns packed schedule making it difficult for players

Theoretically, the postponement of a game can be seen as a help as it allows both sides more time to prepare.

When a large contingent of the players involved are getting ready for the Leaving Certificate, however, a change in schedule is not always for the best. Tonight, Waterford and Clare clash in Fraher Field in Dungarvan (7pm) in an Electric Ireland Munster MHC semi-final play-off, the original fixture having been postponed shortly before throw-in on April 17 due to heavy winds.

Clare manager Eamon Fennessy admits that players’ packed schedules can make things difficult.

“It’s not ideal,” he said, “as you’re hitting into the Leaving Cert oral exams. From that perspective, it is tough, a lot of parents were unhappy when the game was moved and you can see their point, the Munster minor football changed to weekend fixtures this week but they’ve kept the hurling as it was. Obviously there’s no room to change things this year but maybe it might be looked at again for 2014.”

Some positive news for Clare, however, is that Bobby Duggan, who scored 2-8 in the first-round loss to Cork, is able to start, having not been fully fit for the match a fortnight ago.

“Bobby was going to play some part,” Fennessy said. “He probably wouldn’t have been able to start but we’d probably have got a half-hour out of him. He was lucky there was no break in the hand, just heavy bruising, so the extra two weeks have been very beneficial for him.”

Waterford have named the same 15 which had been announced a fortnight ago. That side shows three changes from the first-round defeat by Tipperary. Barry Whelan is named at left corner-back instead of Cian Leamy, who is unavailable through injury, while Cormac Curran and Conor Gleeson, both of whom came on against Tipp, start in attack, with captain Kevin Daly and DJ Foran missing out.

WATERFORD: S Clancy (Clonea); W Hahessy (Clonea), S O’Neill (Erin’s Own), B Whelan (Tramore); T Devine (Modeligo), A Gleeson (Mount Sion), S Bennett (Ballysaggart); M Harney (Bonmahon), M O’Brien (Ferrybank); C Curran (Brickey Rangers), C Roche (Shamrocks), A Farrell (De La Salle); P Curran (Dungarvan), C Gleeson (Fourmilewater), M Kearney (Ballyduff Upper).

CLARE: L Corbett (Corofin); S O’Leary (Cratloe), D McCarthy (Inagh-Kilnamona), N Bolton (Tulla); A McGuane (Kilmaley), E Touhy (Feakle), S Gleeson (Cratloe); D Conroy (St Joseph’s Doora Barefield), C Downey (Clonlara); B Duggan (Clarecastle), C Corbett (Tulla), A Morey (Sixmilebrige); S Ward (Clarecastle), D Begley (Clonlara), C Moloney (Kilmaley).

Verdict: Clare

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