Clare hit by injury crisis as six players ruled out for Cork clash

Clare football’s injury crisis has robbed management of six first-team regulars for Sunday’s Munster championship semi-final against Cork.

Clare hit by injury crisis as six players ruled out for Cork clash

Half-forward Shane Brennan sustained a broken collarbone in the victory over Limerick and is joined on the sideline by Shane McGrath (knee), Enda Coughlan (hamstring), David Tubridy (groin) and Martin O’Leary (dislocated shoulder).

An ACL tear incurred two-weeks ago brought the curtain down on talisman Podge Collins’ summer and the hope was that Tubridy, who has not featured since the league defeat to Tipperary on March 7, would return to the edge of the square for their Páirc Uí Rinn assignment.

Coach Ephie Fitzgerald yesterday ruled out Tubridy playing any role on Sunday and attacking options have been further strained with Cathal McInerney suffering a recurrence of a hamstring injury. Management will wait until later in the week to make a call on the hurler-turned-footballer.

Of the six forwards that lined out in last year’s Munster semi-final against Kerry, five are unavailable for the Cork clash. “I’ve never seen anything like it before,” remarked Fitzgerald.

“They are not even minor injuries, they are serious injuries and these guys are going to be out for a while. Cathal McInerney probably has the best chance of making it. You are not looking at anyone else.

“We have to get on with it. Unfortunately, in Clare we don’t have the pool of players you’d have elsewhere. There is not this endless supply of footballers.

“It is just unfortunate they have all come together. Podge [Collins] had been flying it. He was a huge presence on and off the field. He had the big-game experience you need for games like Sunday. It gives an opportunity now to some of the younger fellas to step up.”

Fitzgerald continued: “Has it affected quality, of course it has. Has it affected morale, no it hasn’t. You can’t go into games thinking ‘what if’.”

Tipperary, meanwhile, boast a clean bill of health for their semi-final bout against Kerry. Colin O’Riordan has trained well this week, according to selector Michael O’Loughlin, and will resume his right half-forward berth on Sunday.

“Everyone is raring to go for this weekend. This is the litmus test we have been looking forward to for a while.”

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