CLARE hurling boss Davy Fitzgerald has been praised for his open-minded approach which will see senior attacker Cathal McInerney available to line out for the Banner U21 footballers next Wednesday night in the Gaelic Grounds as they face a Munster quarter-final against Limerick.
McInerney, who featured forLimerick IT in the Fitzgibbon Cup semi-final last Friday, scored 0-2 in Clare’s opening Division 1B league tie against Limerick last month and will be part of Fitzgerald’s set-up that face Antrim in Ennis next Sunday andtravel to play Laois in Portlaoise Sunday week. But the Cratloe player is also a highly-rated footballer and struck 0-6 last March in the Munster U21FC against Limerick. Clare U21 boss Colm Collins is delighted to havesecured his services for next week’s game and with the accommodating attitude displayed by Fitzgerald.
“Davy’s a very genuine Clare man and he’s good to talk to and deal with. He has to look after his own team but he does his best for us in the U21football set-up.
“We’re delighted to have Cathal next week. He hasn’t done much with us because obviously his time is taken up with the Clare senior hurlers but he’s been available for challenge games.
“Cathal really is a top class footballer and he’s a special talent. He’s doing very well in the hurling at the moment and long may it continue.’’
McInerney is a clubmate of Collins in Cratloe and one of a number of players from the South-East Clare club who have lined out on county teams in both hurling and football.
Collins’ son Sean and Liam Markham are currently involved with the Clare senior hurlers after previously playing for the county senior football team, while Collins younger son Pádraig featured in the Clare team in the 2010 All-Ireland MHC final and is now a part of Micheal McDermott’s Banner senior football panel.
The Clare U21 football managerbelieves this bunch of players are capable of fulfilling a dual senior mandate once their underage and college commitments have ceased.
He also reckons the lack of ego in managers who are calling on those players has facilitated their ability to play both codes.
“It’s a manic time but luckily enough the managers of the different teams are very good. Brian Lohan in UL, Davy Fitz with LIT and Clare and Micheal McDermott with Clare are very good people to deal with. These men put the welfare of a player first. When that happens you can reach a compromise. The problem arises when a manager puts his ego first. It’s the players that suffer then.
“It’s very difficult to play both but down the road I can see a situation where they could play both. There’s probably too much going on at the moment between county senior and underage teams and colleges teams. I don’t see why they can’t in years to come.
“The physical strength and conditioning side of things is exactly the same. In a county like Clare, dual players would be such an addition. We’ve so few clubs, about 50 odd clubs in comparison to over 260 in Cork. It would be big for Clare football to have those players.”
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