Mick O’Dwyer believes too much water has passed under the bridge for him to have the inside track on his former team Laois.
The Clare manager faces the county he led to a Leinster crown 13 years ago in Saturday’s second round All-Ireland SFC qualifier (5pm), which forms the second part of a Cusack Park double-header with the counties’ hurlers phase three game (3pm).
While the likes of Ross Munnelly and Padraic Clancy still line out for Laois and Fergal Byron is a selector under Justin McNulty, it’s seven years since O’Dwyer left the county.
“I wouldn’t have much close knowledge, quite a lot of them are new players. I’d know about five or six of the team alright but the rest of them I wouldn’t know too much about.”
Home advantage wasn’t much of a factor for Clare against Cork in their Munster semi-final in Ennis last month but O’Dwyer is hoping the hurling supporters will stay on to cheer on the footballers.
Clare, he appreciates, will need everything going for them against a team playing two divisions above them.
“They played very well against Carlow, they’d a big win and they only came down from Division 1 recently. They’re above us and have plenty of experience playing top level teams but we’re looking forward to it.”
Meanwhile, Offaly’s Brian Gavin has been appointed referee for Saturday’s All-Ireland SHC phase three qualifier between Kilkenny and Tipperary in Nowlan Park.
Gavin took charge of the counties’ 2011 All-Ireland final when Tommy Walsh accidentally nicked him on the nose.
He was also the man in the middle for Tipperary’s Munster semi-final defeat by Limerick last month.
Tipperary’s Johnny Ryan will take charge of Sunday’s Leinster final between Dublin and Galway.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved