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Banner need to take a big scalp to progress

All-Ireland Senior Camogie Championship Round 1
Clare v Kilkenny @ O’Garney Park Sixmilebridge, Saturday 2pm

IF NECESSITY is the mother of invention, Clare will need all their powers of innovation this Saturday as they prepare to host All-Ireland champions Kilkenny.
Indeed, with the draw pooling the last two All-ireland winners Kilkenny and Galway with Clare and Westmeath for two knock-out places, the criteria couldn’t be made any simpler for the Banner in that they either take their most significant scalp since returning to the senior grade in 2009 or else face an early exit from the competition.
Only eight months on from reaching the last six of the All-Ireland Senior Championship for the first time in six years, hopes of emulating that feat are hanging by a thread unless Clare can finally step up to the mark.
Optimism stems from their National League opener against Galway which despite defeat, arguably was Clare’s best performance under Ger O’Connell.
However, its antithesis came seven days later when Clare failed to match Limerick’s intensity, pace and movement in Fr. McNamara Park and ended up having to battle for their lives against Dublin in the relegation play-offs.
What Clare will emerge this weekend will determine how their championship will pan out as taking on the All-Ireland champions at home in their first outing will be seen as their best hope of springing a surprise.
Having looked longingly at Kilkenny, Galway, Cork and Tipperary contest the last three All-Ireland Semi-Finals, it’s time for Clare to stop being a tourist and shake up the cosy natives.
Expectations are fixed firmly on the top two easing their way out of the group, with the only question being which side wins the group decider at the end of the month.
Clare have a chance to change the narrative but it will take a near perfect performance, complete with an insatiable hunger and and unflinching self-belief.

Clare Senior Camogie Panel: Clare Hehir (Inagh-Kilnamona) (Captain); Roisin Begley (Truagh-Clonlara), Caoimhe Carmody (Kilmaley), Sinead Conlon (Tulla), Robyn Conway (Feakle-Killanena), Lynda Daly (Scariff-Ogonnelloe), Susan Daly (Scariff-Ogonnelloe), Bridin Dinan (Tulla), Ciara Doyle (Scariff-Ogonnelloe), Ciara Duggan (St Joseph’s Doora/Barefield), Orlaith Duggan (Clooney-Quin), Becky Foley (Truagh-Clonlara), Laura Foley (Truagh-Clonlara), Ciara Grogan (Clooney-Quin), Greta Hickey (Whitegate), Aoife Keane (Inagh-Kilnamona), Caoimhe Kelly (Kilkishen), Eimear Kelly (Truagh-Clonlara), Laura McGrath (Feakle-Killanena), Máire McGrath (Sixmilebridge), Laura McMahon (Newmarket-on-Fergus), Roisin McMahon (Newmarket-on-Fergus), Edel McNamara (Kilkishen), Chloe Morey (Sixmilebridge), Doireann Murphy (Clarecastle), Sarah Ní Ceallaigh (Kilmaley), Siofra Ní Chonaill (St Joseph’s Doora/Barefield), Niamh O’Dea (Kilmaley), Clodagh O’Halloran (Newmarket-on-Fergus), Aine O’Loughlin (Truagh-Clonlara), Aoife Power (Scariff-Ogonnelloe), Alannah Ryan (Kilkishen), Zi Yan Spillane (Feakle-Killanena)

Management: Ger O’Connell (Manager), Conor Dolan (Head Coach), Éanna Mulvihill (Coach), Steven Cusack (Head S&C), Maeve Conneely (S&C), Francie O’Halloran (Coach), Alan Murnane (Goalkeeping Coach), Barry O’Connell (Performance Analysis), Nollaig O’Sullivan (Sports Psychologist), Trish O’Donnell (Physio), Shauna Duffy (Physio)

by Eoin Brennan

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