Clare U21 hurling captain Conor Cleary has been ruled out for the next five to six weeks at least with a fractured ankle sustained in the Clare SHC.
It comes as a big blow to Kilmaley who had six points to spare over Inagh/Kilnamona in Round Three of the Clare SHC and are now preparing to take on Ballyea in the quarter-finals. St Josephs Miltown will also be without the Clare Senior hurling panellist for their upcoming Clare SFC quarter-final.
Cleary sustained the injury after turning awkwardly on the ankle in Saturday’s win over Inagh/Kilnamona.
Play was stopped when it was noticed that Conor was in agony. A stretcher was not used to help Cleary from the pitch and this move has been widely criticised by members of the public and the Kilmaley management in recent days.
Speaking on Clare FM’s Morning Focus, Kilmaley manager PJ Kennedy outlined his disgust with what happened. “It was very unsavoury. We carted him off the field as if he was a dog, it wasn’t good enough”. He added “There were stewards standing there looking at each other and nobody knew anything”.
Clare GAA has since responded to the criticism with Public Relations Officer, Sean O’Halloran releasing a statement on behalf of the Clare County Board.
It reads in full; “It is regrettable that Conor Cleary was injured while playing for Kimaley in Cusack Park on Saturday. Conor is an outstanding Clare hurler and footballer and all in Clare GAA wish him a speedy recovery.
Subsequent to his injury, Conor was moved from the pitch with the assistance of the Kilmaley physiotherapist. Contrary to reports, a stretcher was available in Cusack Park on Saturday evening. However, upon the advice of the relevant emergency medical services, it was deemed unnecessary for use in this particular case.
Clare GAA would like to record its appreciation and gratitude to the Ambulance services and HSE for their very prompt attention and professional service they provided”.
A release from Kilmaley GAA has paid tribute to opponents Inagh/Kilnamona for their assistance in helping to treat Conor.
“Everyone in Kilmaley GAA would like to thank all involved with Inagh-Kilnamona GAA for their help on Saturday last with Conor Cleary especially their First Aid Man Alan Meere for helping Keir McNamara assess Conor on & off the field and for all the well wishes we have received for Conor from the Club since. We as a club want to wish Conor the speediest of recoveries and hopefully have him back on the field of play as soon as possible”.
In Crusheen’s four point win over Éire Óg on Sunday, a stretcher was used to remove Cathal Dillon from the County Grounds following medical consultation.