Shane O’Donnell has rejoined the Clare senior hurling panel following his return from Harvard University last week.
O’Donnell, the hat-trick hero in the Banner’s All-Ireland final replay victory over Cork in 2013, has been studying at the prestigious Ivy League college since September on a Fullbright Scholarship. He is pursuing a PhD in microbiology at University College Cork, where he gained a BSc in genetics.
The Éire Óg man missed the entire Allianz National Hurling League, but has resumed inter-county training, linking up for recent sessions at the Limerick Institute of Technology and at Clareabbey.
On Sunday, the 24-year-old lined out in his first competitive game of the year, as Éire Óg, Ennis, recorded a 1-23 to 2-14 victory over St Joseph’s Doora/Barefield. O’Donnell featured for 42 minutes and scored two points in their Clare Cup victory
Clare joint manager Gerry O’Connor said:
We are delighted to welcome Shane back into our squad, as we continue our preparations for the 2019 Munster championship. Shane played a major role in our campaign last year and is a great addition to our panel.
O’Donnell’s return is a huge boost ahead of Clare’s Munster championship campaign, which begins against Waterford on May 12 in Walsh Park.
Conor Cleary is ruled out of that game, as his appeal against a red card received in the quarter-final defeat to Waterford was rejected by Croke Park chiefs. Cratloe’s Diarmuid Ryan is sidelined with a broken knuckle, while Sixmilebridge’s Shane Golden is recovering from a hamstring injury. Management are confident the latter duo can return to action in the next fortnight, along with John Conlon, who has been ruled out with an ankle injury sustained against Wexford in February.
However, it is unlikely that O’Donnell’s clubmate, David Reidy, will return to the intercounty fold this season. The two-time, All-Ireland U21 winner took a break from the panel in January as he wished to focus on a masters degree at Limerick IT and his soccer commitments with Newmarket Celtic.
O’Donnell was one of five Clare hurlers nominated for an All-Star last season on the back of their run to the All-Ireland semi-final. He joined Colm Galvin and David McInerney as nominees, while John Conlon and Peter Duggan collected awards.
Meanwhile, Corofin duo Gary Sice and Kieran Molloy, along with Gaoth Dobhair star Kevin Cassidy, are on the shortlist for the AIB GAA Club Footballer of the Year award. The trio are also on the team of the year, which will be honoured at a banquet in Croke Park on Saturday.
AIB GAA Club Players’ Awards – Football 2019:
B Power (Corofin); L Silke (Corofin), P Fox (Mullinalaghta), O McFadden-Ferry (Gaoth Dobhair); K Molloy (Corofin), G White (Dr. Crokes), D McElligott (Mullinalaghta); D Burke (Corofin), O MacNiallais (Gaoth Dobhair); G Sice (Corofin), K O’Leary (Dr Crokes), J Leonard (Corofin); T Brosnan (Dr Crokes), K Cassidy (Gaoth Dobhair), M Farragher (Corofin).