Clare captain Laurie Ryan has insisted that risking the fitness of three key players in a camogie club fixture was potentially a “really dangerous” situation, just a week before Sunday’s TG4 All-Ireland ladies intermediate football final.
Instead, the Kilmaley camogie club had a walkover awarded against them after refusing to fulfil last Sunday’s scheduled clash with Clooney-Quin, a decision that has been appealed to Munster Council.
Niamh O’Dea, Emma O’Driscoll, and Ailish Considine are noted players for Kilmaley, but are also key members of the Clare football panel gearing up for their Croke Park date with Kildare.
Ryan, full-back on the Clare team, said: “We were just lucky that the girls didn’t risk themselves, because we have such a small panel and it would have been really dangerous if they had played.
“We had a bit of trouble with the camogie fixtures alright, but the girls are great, they kept their heads down and tried to keep focused on the football. At the end of the day, they all want to be in Croke Park playing... It was brilliant that they had the full backing of their camogie club.”
Ryan has also expressed disappointment with confirmation that the county’s men’s SFC semi-finals are both fixed for next Sunday. At midday, holders St Joseph’s, Miltown, play Cratloe at Cusack Park before Kilmurry-Ibrickane face Cooraclare in Doonbeg at 4.30pm.
In between, the Clare ladies face Kildare at 1.45pm, which will enable supporters to tune in on TV.
However, Ryan believes some valuable potential support for her team at Croke Park has now been lost and she’s disappointed that the All-Ireland final wasn’t taken into account by local fixtures-makers.
“Yeah, it would have been nice. I know that some of the lads might have travelled, even people that are supporting them,” said Ryan.
“That would have been nice for them to have the opportunity to come, but we can’t do anything about that now. We just have to leave it.
“There’s only a few days left. Sixty minutes is all we have when we get here and whatever’s going on around that will probably still be talked about when it’s over. We need to keep our eye on what we want to do and try to keep the head down and go with that.”
Clare’s panel for next Sunday will include four survivors from their last All-Ireland intermediate success in 2009: Louise Henchy, Niamh Keane, O’Driscoll, and Sarah Bohannon.
Ryan joined the squad a year later and Clare progressed to an All-Ireland senior quarter-final against Dublin, where they lost to the eventual champions.
Clare can secure a return to the senior ranks with victory against Kildare, but Ryan admits it’s a major step-up to the elite grade.
She said: “No matter how much you think you’re ready, it’s a different level altogether.”
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