CLARE football boss Micheal McDermott is confident that the GAA’s Central Council will look favourably this weekend on their request to become eligible for the scheme which allows players to declare for the home county of their parents.
The Banner boss has identified three players based in Dublin and Kildare who are set to be drafted into his squad for the 2011 season but that hinges on Central Council rubber-stamping the county’s application. David O’Connor who plays with St Brigid’s in Dublin, former Kildare junior captain Niall Browne from Two Mile House and Adrian Cahill, who won a Kildare SFC medal with Celbridge in 2008, have all declared their interest in lining out with Clare.
The GAA approved the adoption of the parentage rule in the early 90’s at national level with several weaker counties profiting as a result. Dublin-born duo Declan Darcy and Jason Ward both proved major assets to Leitrim in the Connacht championship while more recently former Dublin underage star John Coughlan played at midfield for Offaly. Clare were not deemed suitable for inclusion when the rule was originally drafted due to the success the county were enjoying at the time, most notably in the form of their historic 1992 Munster title. But given their flagging fortunes in recent years and the shallow pool of players they have to pick from, McDermott feels they are now prime candidates for inclusion in this scheme.
“I think this would be a huge help to us. It was fine when this was originally brought about as Clare were successful at that time.
“But things have changed. Our pick is quite small as we only have 16 senior clubs in the county. Emigration is another problem for us, we’ve lost two players from last year in Declan Callinan and Brian Carrig as they’ve both gone to Australia.
“As a result it can be difficult to get a strong panel together. Given the fact that we’re a Division 4 team, I would hope that the GAA will rule in our favour.”
McDermott insists that O’Connor, Browne and Cahill have a strong affiliation to Clare football and are eager to get involved. The newly-completed Dublin to Limerick motorway is also set to be of major assistance to the trio as it will cut their commute to training in Clare to two hours.
“They’re very much Clare men and would have a strong connection through either their mothers or fathers. They’d have been brought up going to every Clare championship match and hopefully they can get the chance to make a contribution now. The new motorway is a massive help to them in terms of travelling down. All three would have family and friends living in Clare as well, so if it means having to stay a night, they’re also prepared to do that.”
The trio of new recruits will not be involved for Clare’s seasonal bow next Sunday in the McGrath Cup opening round against UCC in Cooraclare but McDermott’s cause has been boosted by the return of defender John Hayes and attacking duo Rory Donnelly and Timmy Ryan, who weren’t involved last season.
Leading marksman David Tubridy will be sidelined for the next couple of weeks due to a groin injury while Dean Ryan (UL) and Kevin Hartnett (IT Tralee) will be lining out for third-level sides during the McGrath Cup.
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