Seven members of the Waterford U21 hurling team to face Clare in this evening’s Munster semi-final featured in Sunday’s senior final loss to Tipperary — four started (Austin Gleeson, Stephen Bennett, Tadhg De Búrca and Colin Dunford), the remaining three (Patrick Curran, Shane Bennett and Tom Devine) sprung from the bench.
And while Lyons accepts they haven’t been afforded a massive amount of time by the way of recovery, he expects every one of them to come out fighting at Cusack Park.
“We got together Monday night and while they were a bit sore after Thurles, they were in very good spirits,” said Lyons.
“One of the difficulties we have here in Waterford, more so than any other county, is that there is a high volume of players going between the senior and U21 camps. At any one time I could have up to 13 U21’s training with the seniors.
“I can say hand on heart, however, that all those lads came into our training environment on Monday night already focused on the next job, focused on the job of Wednesday evening. They have been very professional in their approach.
“They came out of a disappointing day on Sunday, but Monday was a different day and they are looking forward to the challenge of Wednesday.”
Chatting with the senior panellists at training on Monday, Lyons said they are delighted at the opportunity to return to action so soon after the Thurles defeat.
Redemption, however, does not feature on their agenda.
“They are going to temporarily park the Munster final because they will be thinking about it in the run up to the Dublin quarter-final, but in the context of this game, certainly even a couple of lads referenced at training how they can’t wait to get going again. I don’t know will they see it as a chance at redemption. They know the task in hand. We are playing the triple Munster and All-Ireland champions in their back yard. The challenge is enormous.
“The players won’t lose sight of that and if we get into a situation where we are talking about redemption or the loss on Sunday, we know we have lost our focus completely. Our focus is trying to get over a very good Clare team.”
Clare features just two members of Davy Fitzgerald’s senior squad — Shane O’Donnell and Bobby Duggan, with the Banner last tasting defeat at this grade back in July of 2011.
“Their remarkable run will breed confidence and reinforces the magnitude of the challenge. It is a challenge we are looking forward to taking on.
“We went down and beat Cork last month and that was our first time winning at U21 level in Páirc Uí Rinn. That put us into the semi-final and gave us the chance to test ourselves against the standard-bearers at U21 level over the past number of years. We’ll know where we stand late on Wednesday evening.”
K Hogan (Clooney Quin); E Quirke (Whitegate), D Fitzgerald (Inagh/Kilnamona), S O’Brien (Clonlara); A McGuane (Kilmaley), C Cleary (St Joseph’s Miltown Malbay), B O’Gorman (Wolfe Tones); D Conroy (St Joseph’s Doora-Barefield), K Hehir (Inagh/Kilnamona); B Duggan (Clarecastle), S Gleeson (Cratloe), I Galvin (Clonlara); S O’Donnell (Éire Óg), S Ward (Clarecastle), R Taylor (Clooney-Quin).
D McCarthy (Glenroe), M O’Callaghan (Knockaderry), R English (Doon), M Casey (Na Piarsaigh), D Byrnes (Patrickswell)(Captain), B O’Connell (Kildimo/Pallaskenry), G Hegarty (St Patrick’s), D O’Donovan (Doon), P Ryan (Doon), R Hanley (Kilmallock), R Lynch (Na Piarsaigh), D Dempsey (Na Piarsaigh), K O’Brien (Patrickswell), T Morrissey (Ahane), C Lynch (Patrickswell).