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Aaron Cunningham of Clare is denied a goal chance by the Tipperary defence during their Waterford Crystal Cup game at Sixmilebridge. Photograph by John Kelly.

All will become crystal clear in Mallow

Both Clare and Cork are expected to name a mixture of regulars and newcomers on their panels, when they clash at 1pm in the Waterford Crystal semi-final on Saturday in Mallow.

Both management teams will be availing of the opportunity to give some of the fringe panel members a chance to impress, as the opening round of the national league approaches.

Cork play titleholders Kilkenny in the opening round of the league on Saturday, February 14, while Clare face an away trip to neighbours Galway the following day.

In round two, Cork are due to entertain Clare at Pairc Uí Rinn on Saturday, February 21, a fixture that is sure to add to the interest to this weekend’s meeting.

In their win over Kerry last week, Cork boss, Jimmy Barry Murphy included regulars, Christopher Joyce, Lorcan McLoughlin, Aidan Walsh, Stephen Moylan and Paudie O’Sullivan from the start, while Daniel Kearney, Patrick Cronin and Seamus Harnady were introduced during the game.

Clare are unlikely to make too many changes from the team that saw duty last week. The majority of the college players are unavailable, as they have played with University of Limerick, Mary Immaculate College and Limerick IT in the competition. Those players include, Tony Kelly, Jack Browne, David McInerney and David Reidy.

Sixmilebridge pair, Séadna Morey and Jamie Shanahan returned to action following injury last weekend and they may see more game time this week. Shanahan was introduced late in the win over Tipperary and he, together with other subs last Sunday, John Conlon, Colin Ryan and Paul Flanagan, could well feature this week.

Whatever the line-ups are, a competitive contest is expected, as both battle for a place in the final against Limerick or UCC, who play their semi-final on Saturday at 2pm in Kilmallock.

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