A SIZEABLE Clare contingent will travel to Dangan, the home of NUI Galway this Friday for the Fitzgibbon Cup semi-final clash between the hosts and Limerick IT at 12 noon.
Whatever the outcome of the weekend’s games, there will be at least one Fitzgibbon Cup medal in Clare next week as all four semi-finalists have Clare involvement.
The first semi-final on Friday is the fixture all followers of the prestigious third-level colleges hurling championship have been looking forward to. It materialised last Thursday when Limerick IT scored a hard earned three-point win over UCD in the last of the quarter finals.
At least 12 Clare men will line out in this fixture and there could be up to 16 or 17 players from the county playing in this attractive fixture.
Clare players that started for LIT last week are James Gunning, James McInerney, Cathal Chaplin, Nicky O’Connell, Seán Collins and Bernard Gaffney while Conor Cooney and Eamonn Glynn weren’t included due to injury. Both hope to be pressing for places in the starting line-up this week.
Newmarket’s Martin O’Hanlon and Clooney’s Enda Harrisson played part of recent games for the Davy Fitzgerald-trained outfit.
Certain to be in the starting line-up for NUI Galway are Donal Tuohy (Crusheen), Diarmuid Nash (Scariff), Noel Casey (Kilmaley), Patrick Kelly (Clarecastle), David Barrett (Newmarket), Domhnaill O’Donovan and John Conlon (Clonlara). Clonlara’s Paul Nihill was a regular until picking up an injury some weeks ago and he is expected to challenge for a starting position this week. Cormac O’Donovan (Clonlara) and Caimin Morey (Sixmilebridge) have both missed most of the campaign due to injury and followers of the side are hoping that they will be available for this week’s eagerly awaited tie.
While most of the Clare interest will be in this semi-final, the clash of Waterford IT and University of Limerick in the second semi-final will also have Clare involvement. Newmarket’s Enda Barrett will line out at centre-back for the Waterford side while Tulla’s Andrew Quinn is a member of the UL forward line.
The final is set for Saturday afternoon in Pearse Stadium and will be broadcast live by TG4.
There are three Clare players in the IT Tralee squad for their Ryan Cup semi-final clash with Carlow IT this Friday. Fergus Kennedy (Crusheen), Stephen Guilfoyle (Éire Óg) and Cooraclare’s Thomas Downes who plays his hurling with Éire Óg, will be part of the Kerry side’s panel.