Clare goalkeeper Andy Fahy will retain the number one jersey for Sunday’s NHL relegation play-off final against Dublin in Cusack Park.
The Whitegate goalkeeper started his first game of the 2017 league in last weekend’s home defeat to Waterford, which consigned Clare to the play-off.
The 2013 All-Ireland- winning goalkeeper Patrick Kelly started against Tipperary and Dublin while Donal Tuohy played against Cork and Kilkenny.
With each goalkeeper guaranteed two league starts, Fahy will feature from the off against Dublin.
“Jimmy Browne looks after the goalkeepers. He sat down with them and they had a discussion as to what was the fairest way of doing things. We had no preconceived idea as to who was number one,” Clare joint manager Gerry O’Connor explained.
Whoever is going well in training in the lead-up to championship, O’Connor says, will start in the Munster semi-final against Limerick on June 4 in Thurles.
“We felt that the fairest and most transparent way was to give each of them two games.
But how a guy is going in training will probably reflect who gets picked the day of championship.
“We trust Jimmy Browne and his judgement in terms of who he feels is going well. Whoever is in form in the two months coming up to championship is the guy who is going to get the nod. But we had to see how they stood up in the white heat of battle over the past five games,” O’Connor added.
O’Connor knows the 2016 league champions must produce a 70-minute-plus performance on Sunday if they are to beat Dublin for the second time in this year’s league campaign and avoid an immediate return to Division 1B.
“All the league matches that we have played have been borderline championship in terms of intensity and competitiveness.
“The only way this team is going to develop is to continue playing games at that level. If you were to look back at the five games, there were segments in all of those five matches where we played the best hurling that we’ve played in a long time.
“But we couldn’t sustain that level of consistency. We absolutely have to perform.
Our main focus is we protect our Division 1A status. You cannot replicate that level of intensity or scrutiny we have been exposed to, over the past six to eight weeks, in Division 1B.”
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