Clare v Wexford at Cusack Park Ennis, Sunday 2pm (Shane Curley, Galway)
Realistically, with away trips to senior sides Meath and Kerry to come in the coming weeks, this is Clare’s best chance to grab an early positive result and set their stall out for what could legitimately be a lucrative season ahead.
Clare have been embroiled in some compelling battles with Wexford in recent seasons, most notably the 2018 group decider in Cahir that saw Fidelma Marrinan (3) and Laurie Ryan (2) raid for goals to power the Banner into the All-Ireland Quarter-Finals and the subsequent revenge mission twelve months later in the opening round when Wexford stunned their hosts with their own goalfest in Doonbeg.
However, while Wexford failed to reach the business end of last year’s All-ireland Intermediate Championship for the first time since re-emerging to the grade as Junior champions in 2014, on the flip side, Clare were on the up after contesting a first semi-final since 2016.
It all adds to the intrigue of a first outing in Cusack Park since hosting Limerick in the 2019 Munster Championship. Clare won the game that day but failed to sparkle at Clare headquarters so they’ll be eager to make amends this time around albeit that the lack of an attendance rather takes from the occasion.
With experimentation necessary for manager Evan Talty, it should make for a tight contest that could go either way. However, with no senior team relegated to the All-Ireland Intermediate Championship for 2021, a determined Clare will be gunning to make the most of this golden opportunity to finally bring back the Mary Quinn Cup to the Banner for the first time in 12 years. And that means starting as they mean to go on this Sunday.
Clare Panel: Caoimhe Harvey (West Clare Gaels) (Captain); Cliodhna Blake (Doonbeg), Catriona Callinan (Kilmihil), Katie Connole (Burren Gaels), Roisin Considine (Liscannor), Sinead Considine (Liscannor), Aoibhin Cunningham (Kilrush), Orla Devitt (Éire Óg), Joanna Doohan (Kilmurry Ibrickane), Rebecca Doohan (Kilmurry Ibrickane), Micaela Glynn (Kilmihil), Laura Griffey (Burren Gaels), Lauren Griffin (Fergus Rovers), Grainne Harvey (West Clare Gaels), Aine Keane (Miltown Malbay), Eimear Keane (Miltown Malbay), Tara Kelly (Cúil Gaels), Ailish Kenny (Cúil Gaels), Roisin Looney (Cooraclare), Fidelman Marrinan (West Clare Gaels), Ciara McCarthy (Kilmurry Ibrickane), Clodagh McMahon (Kilrush), Chloe Moloney (Kilmurry Ibrickane), Aisling Morrissey (Cooraclare), Siofra Ní Chonaill (Doora/Barefield), Grainne Nolan (Banner Ladies), Niamh O’Dea (Banner Ladies), Ellie O’Gorman (Kilmihil), Sinead O’Keeffe (Banner Ladies), Carol O’Leary (Newmarket-on-Fergus), Aisling Reidy (Doora/Barefield), Lizzy Roche (Burren Gaels), Amy Sexton (Kilmurry Ibrickane), Hannah Shannon (Miltown Malbay), Siobhan Talty (Miltown Malbay) Chloe Towey (Doora/Barefield)
Management: Evan Talty (Manager), John O’Grady, Mark O’Donnell, Conor Shannon (Coaches), Odharnaith McKenna (Performance Analyst), Michael Frawley (S&C Coach), Donal ‘Doc’ Hughes (Goalkeeping Coach), Sarah Cunningham (FLO), Gerry Clarke (Kitman), Caoimhe McMahon (Covid Officer), Caroline Hughes (Sports Psychologist), Shane Lorrigan (Video Analyst), Paul Hickey (GPS Analyst), Andrew O’Neill (Physio)