Ian Galvin has returned to contact training giving Clare joint managers Donal Moloney and Gerry O’Connor an extra option in attack for Sunday’s Munster senior hurling championship tie with Tipperary in Cusack Park.
The attacker has been absent since an injury away from the hurling field in April but has returned to training in the last week. The UL student scored the decisive goal in the Munster meeting with Tipperary last year.
However, Cratloe’s Cathal McInerney has a slight hamstring strain and is to undergo a fitness test in the lead-up to the clash. David Conroy of St Josephs Doora/Barefield has been ruled out of the reckoning for Sunday with a broken finger. The 24-year-old has yet to make his championship debut but was included among the substitutes in Clare’s one-point win over Waterford.
Podge Collins has admitted that Clare haven’t fulfilled their potential since bursting through as All-Ireland winners in 2013 but believes that’s partly down to the intense level of competition, writes Paul Keane.
Collins was a key figure in a Clare side that won a breakthrough Championship six years ago with most commentators predicting they’d win at least one more All-Ireland.
But five seasons have passed without them repeating the feat and Cratloe attacker Collins noted that it’s essentially “a completely different team now”.
His sense of the current Clare group is that they’re on the up and positioned nicely to attack though noted how competitive the Championship is with five different winners in the last six seasons.
“I think it’s definitely been progression,” said Collins of Clare. “You’re looking at Championship teams that are consistently at the pitch every year, like Mayo for example in football. They’re always there or thereabouts and you’d obviously like to be in that category but it is very competitive and if you look at who has been contesting the All-Ireland finals, All-Ireland semi-finals, Munster finals over the last six or seven years, there’s not a lot between the sides I feel.
We probably haven’t reached our potential from 2013 but I just think the margins are so fine between the teams, I just think it’s a very competitive competition.
Clare took Galway to a replay in last year’s All-Ireland semi-finals and beat Limerick in Munster, a result that was even more impressive after Limerick’s All-Ireland win.
“I’d never say, ‘That could have been us’ because I felt they deserved to win the All-Ireland last year,” said Collins. “I felt they were probably the most consistent team. Against us they had nothing to play for. But we had to win that game.
“That’s a big dynamic shift in itself and it’s one thing about the Munster games now. Like, in the last game, if a team doesn’t have anything to play for you’d wonder how those games will pan out. We obviously had to go through so that’s why we felt it went so well for us.”