FRANK Healy Park in Doora will be the venue on Saturday evening at 5pm for the opening game in this season’s Oscar Traynor Cup.
Clare will begin the defence of the title, won impressively last year, when they take on Galway with a side that will be drawn from a panel similar to that which won the title.
The sides met last year in Eamonn Deacy Park in Galway, where they played a 1-1 draw.
Clare are again be under the management of Donie Garrihy and his backroom team of David Russell and Denis Hynes.
“There is no talk about defending titles or achieving back-to-back successes. This is a new campaign and we have some new players. This is the first game in a four-team group and Galway will be difficult opponents. There will be an extra bit of pressure on because we are playing at home. Because we are the title holders, all will be wanting to take a bite out of us,” Garrihy said.
“We like to keep our standards in the Oscar Traynor competition. We have work done but we were knocked off track a month ago when we lost one of our stronger players in Enda Craddock from Coole FC, who suffered a double leg break when we played Shannon Town in a friendly. It knocked us off track; knocked the wind out of us,” Garrihy added.
The manager explained that they have named a big panel for this week’s game.
“At this time, Eoin Hayes and Stephen Kelly from Newmarket Celtic will be involved with an Irish junior side in a friendly in Enniskillen on Wednesday. We are keeping our fingers crossed that they will come through without injury but we have named a big panel in case something happens.”
The Clare panel for Saturday’s game is: Eoin O’Brien, Dave McCarthy, Eoin Hayes, Stephen Kelly, Stephen Carroll, Colin Ryan, Ian Collins, Paddy Purcell, Brian Monaghan, Tino Nzvaura (Newmarket Celtic); Barry Ryan, Colin Smyth, Conor Mullen, Mark Roche, Kaylan O’Loughlin (Avenue United); Tommy McKeown, Colin Nelson, Eoin Whelan, Niall Whelan (Tulla United); Darren Murphy, Gavin White (Bridge United); Darren Whelan, Aaron Rudd (Shannon Town); Joe Collins (Ennis Town); Michael Leigh (Sporting Ennistymon) and Yarek Mamala (Coole).