Clare’s Munster and All-Ireland hurling ambitions have been significantly compromised by the loss of a trio of players for what appears to be the entirety of the championship season.
Jamie Shanahan had an operation on his back two weeks ago, Ian Galvin is harbouring an arm problem, and Conor McGrath is still in the process of recovery after undergoing an operation on his shoulder after Christmas.
Shanahan was a key player for the Banner in 2018 when they made it all the way to an All-Ireland semi-final replay before finally bowing out and Galvin was a key contributor off the bench.
“I wouldn’t say we’ll see them this year, definitely not,” said Clare’s co-manager Gerry O’Connor. “They are all gone so that’s a significant loss, but it has given a chance to the likes of Diarmuid Ryan and Shane Golden.
We probably wouldn’t have got as much game-time into Diarmuid Ryan, Aidan McCarthy and Shane Golden if those guys were around. That’s the nature of team sport.
Another plus is the news that Aron Shanagher is “not far off 100%” while Shane O’Donnell’s return from his studies in Harvard is an obvious fillip with O’Connor highlighting the physical work the forward has done in his absence and the chance to mentally recharge batteries.
“He’s such an intelligent and completely unique guy that very few people would be able to come back and do what he did. And very few people in the first place would have been asked to go and do what he did. But from our perspective, he has added a great leadership quality.
“At the same time he came back, John Conlon came back from injury too. John hurt his calf and ankle against Limerick in the league and those two guys have tested our corner-backs anyway but given us a new dimension in terms of attacking threat that we wouldn’t have seen in the latter stages of the league.”