MANAGER Davy Fitzgerald has handed a first competitive start this year to star forward Tony Kelly for tonight’s Waterford Crystal hurling final against Tipperary at The Gaelic Grounds in Limerick.
Kelly, selected ‘Hurler of the Year’ following his epic displays for Clare in winning last year’s U-21 and All-Ireland senior titles, will lead the attack. He is flanked by John Conlon and Colin Ryan. The triumvirate make up the half forw3ard line as was the case in the All-Ireland final against Cork.
His Ballyea clubmate, Paul Flanagan, last year’s U-21 winning captain, comes in for his first start in the tournament. Flanagan was introduced as a second half subsitiute in the semi-final win over UCC.
Eight of the starting team for tonight’s game started in last year’s All-Ireland final win over the Rebels.
Podge Collins, Conor Ryan and Jack Browne were ineligible having already played in the Waterford Crystal tournament with University of Limerick while hat-trick hero, Shane 0’Donnell had featured in the UCC team beaten by Clare in the penultimate round.
The Clare teams is : Patrick Kelly, Seadna Morey, Cian Cillon, Paul Flanagan; Conor Cleary, Patrick Donnellan, Patrick O’Connor; Peter Duggan and Shane Golden; John Conlon, Tony Kelly, Colin Ryan; Cathal 0’Connell, Conor McGrath, David Reidy.