Stadium and commercial director Peter McKenna explained it will be business as usual for the game. “What happened in Paris was an absolute tragedy and obviously our thoughts and prayers are with everyone involved. There hasn’t been any suggestion of issues like what happened there (Stade de France) to be concerned about here on Saturday.
“The way we set ourselves up, we’re always cognisant of bags and things left in obscure places and we have good protocols for that. We have to put things into context. This weekend, many games will be held all over Europe and many concerts will be held at venues across the continent. People in Paris would say it’s very important that life must go on.”
Meanwhile, Clare midfielder Gary Brennan is aiming to make the most of his International Rules debut having narrowly missed out on making the squad five years ago when he was an unused player on the standby list. Brennan was part of the panel up until the final weekend when he was let go by then manager Anthony Tohill. “It was a disappointment at the time,” recalled the Clondegad man.
“I remember the same week we were in the intermediate final at home and lost it when we would have been favourites to win it, so it wasn’t the best week. You learn from these things. Obviously I didn’t deserve to be on it at the time, whether I felt I did or didn’t. These things come around and lucky enough I got the chance again and I’m just delighted now to get my foot in the door this time and hopefully make the most of it.”
Brennan is the first Clare man to line out for Ireland since Odhran O’Dwyer in 2003, following in the footsteps of fellow Bannermen Martin Daly and Noel Roche. The “unbelievable” reaction at home to his inclusion in Joe Kernan’s squad flies in the face of those who suggest the hybrid game means little to GAA supporters. His is an underdog’s story but then there are others like Kildare pair Paul Cribben and Eoin Doyle and Tipperary’s Ciaran McDonald who are also on the panel.
“There are several other players there from Division 3 as well. I don’t feel like I am on any sort of a crusade or anything like that. I suppose all of us that are there, it’s special for all of us and we all want to try and show what we are capable of.”
A Munster title with Clare also remains on Brennan’s radar. “If I didn’t think it was achievable, would I be mad to be training and playing with Clare for the last nine years? You think it’s achievable every year. The scale of the task is different when you’re up against Kerry and Cork but I’ll always believe in my own county.”