Fresh from lining out with the Ballyea senior hurlers, Gary Brennan has been included in the Clare team to take on Derry in the opening round of the Allianz National Football League.
There are four new faces to the side from last year, they are John Hayes, Liam Markham, Ciarán Russell and Shane Brennan. All of the quartet have previously featured for their county in the National League but for them and all of the Clare players Sunday’s outing will be their first appearance in Division 2.
Collins has named a lethal inside line of Jamie Malone, Eoin Cleary and Keelan Sexton. Joe Hayes is handed the number one jersey with Dean Ryan, John Hayes and Martin McMahon his main protectors in the full-back line.
Gordon Kelly starts at centre-back flanked by Liam Markham and Cian O’Dea while Gary Brennan partners Ciarán Russell in the middle of the park. David Tubridy is positioned at centre-forward with Sean Collins and Shane Brennan either side of him.
Meelick’s Kevin Hartnett is ruled out with a shoulder injury while Cathal O’Connor is out of action following an operation on his appendix, had the Coolmeen man been available it is likely that Brennan’s role may have been somewhat reduced.
Speaking on Clare FM, following Ballyea’s two point victory over St Thomas’, Gary laughed off the suggestion that their All-Ireland semi-final would take too much out of him for the NFL opener. “Shur I didn’t have to run there at all tonight, I should have no excuses there tomorrow, if it doesn’t go well I might use it as an excuse”.
Derry manager, Damien Barton has also announced his team for the clash. He has made three changes from the outfit that lost 2-13 1-07 to Tyrone in the McKenna Cup Final.
Throw-in at Celtic Park is at 2pm.
Clare: Joe Hayes (Lissycasey); Dean Ryan (Éire Óg), John Hayes (Kilrush Shamrocks), Martin McMahon (Kilmurry Ibrickane); Liam Markham (Cratloe), Gordon Kelly (St Josephs Miltown), Cian O’Dea (Kilfenora); Ciarán Russell (Éire Óg), Gary Brennan (Clondegad); Sean Collins (Cratloe), David Tubridy (Doonbeg), Shane Brennan (Clondegad); Jamie Malone (Corofin), Eoin Cleary (St Josephs Miltown), Keelan Sexton (Kilmurry Ibrickane).
Derry: Thomas Mallon (An Lúb), Niall Keenan (Seanmhullach), Conor Nevin (Baile an Doire), Ronan Murphy (Baile na Scrine); Neil Forester (Baile an Stil), Michael McEvoy (Machaire Fiolta), Mark Craig (Dún Geimhin); Conor McAtamney (Suitreach), James Kielt (Cill Ria); Enda Lynn (Captain) (Grianloch), Niall Loughlin (Grianloch), Carlus McWilliams (Baile na Scrine); Mark Lynch (Beannchar), Emmett McGuckin (Machaire Foilta), Benny Heron (Baile na Scrine).