In his first year as Clare Minor Hurling manager, Kenny Morrissey is sixty minutes away from guiding his side to a first Munster final since 2012.
Having been a regular at all club games this year, Morrissey has been very impressed by his charges during the adult hurling championships. “All the lads have stood up in the games I’ve been to which has been very pleasing that our training has been coming through and the work we’ve done with them you can see it in club level and I’d say a lot of club officials would agree that any of the lads training with County Minors that they’re a different class”.
Clarecastle man, Kenny Morrissey points to Clare’s physicality as one of their strong points while he believes that this year’s panel is as good as those that have preceded them. “I think we’re well up there with them, there are a lot of men there and I’d say men at Minor level so there are some serious players there”.
Ten of last year’s Clare panel are expected to feature in Wednesday’s clash and Kenny is hopeful these players will stand up on the big day. “I certainly think they will, I think the defeat of last year made the lads realise you only get one shot at it and this is their last shot at Minor so I think they’ll definitely stand up and be counted”.
Having watched the quarter-final tie between Tipperary and Waterford, the two time All-Ireland medallist feels Clare need to be very disciplined in order to limit the influence of Darragh Carey from placed balls. “We don’t want to make any All-Star out of a freetaker because that’s what been happening at every level now is the freetaker seems to be the main name on the scoresheet the whole time so we’re going to curb that hopefully”.
Wednesday’s clash will be Clare’s first taste of championship action having received an automatic bye to the semi-finals. Some managers may point to the lack of game-time as a cause for concern but Morrissey is relishing do or die nature of the fixture. “For the last few years we’ve had games and we haven’t been able to manage to get through only once in three years. We’ve hoped that we’d get one chance at it now we have our chance at it so its real championship and the lads are ready”.
Throw-in for Wednesday’s semi-final is 19:30 in Semple Stadium, Thurles. Éire Óg’s Éinne O’Connor looks set to miss out through injury while Páraic McNamara has recovered from a knee injury and is tipped to start in the middle of the pitch.