THERE’S no room for All Star hurler and dual star Padraic ‘Podge’ Collins on the Banner County’s starting 15 that has been selected for Sunday’s showdown between Clare and Kilkenny in Cusack Park – the eagerly anticipated clash of the All-Ireland champions of the past two seasons.
Cratloe clubman Collins, who was one of three nominees for the Hurler of the Year award that eventually went to his county colleague Tony Kelly, is one of three changes from the All-Ireland final team of last September.
The others not selected are the hero of the drawn game in the person of Clonlara’s Domhnall O’Donovan who grabbed the last gasp equalising point and Inagh-Kilnamona goalkeeper Patrick Kelly, whose puck-out it was started the move that saved Clare’s All-Ireland ambitions.
Crusheen’s Donal Tuohy, who was a member of the All-Ireland under 21 wide of 2009 comes in for Kelly between the sticks, while Sixmilebridge’s Seadna Morey, a sub late in the All-Ireland replay and two-time All-Ireland under 21 winner in recent seasons is a direct replacement for O’Donovan at right-corner-back.
Up front, Shane Golden is in line for his National League debut, having been selected ahead of Collins who is named among the subs. Golden is an All-Ireland intermediate and under 21 winner from 2011 and ’12 respectively and earned his call-up to the senior squad this season on the back of some impressive displays for Sixmilebridge in their march to a first county title in 11 years.
The rest of the forward line is made up the five All-Ireland final starters, among them three-goal hero Shane O’Donnell, who along with Collins didn’t line out for the county in the Waterford Crystal Cup campaign.
Collins’ omission from the team selected for the high profile opener is a surprise. He did give a master-class for the University of Limerick in their 1-23 to 2-9 win over UCD in the Fitzgibbon Cup and was among the goals when the Brian Lohan managed outfit booked a quarter-final date against Davy Fitzgerald’s Limerick IT thanks to a 2-23 to 0-16 over Mary Immaculate College.
Along with his older brother Sean, Podge has embarked on a dual role for Clare this year and has figured in the opening two rounds of the National Football League, coming on as a sub in the win against Waterford in Dungarvan and then starting against Leitrim in Miltown which ended in a draw.
Donal Tuohy (Crusheen), Seadna Morey (Sixmilebridge), Cian Dillon (Crusheen), David McInerney (Tulla), Brendan Bugler (Whitegate), Patrick Donnellan (O’Callaghan’s Mills), Patrick O’Connor (Tubber), Conor Ryan (Cratloe), Colm Galvin (Clonlara), John Conlon (Clonlara), Tony Kelly (Ballyea), Shane Golden (Sixmilebridge), Shane O’Donnell (Éire Óg), Conor McGrath (Cratloe), Colin Ryan (Newmarket-on-Fergus). Subs Patrick Kelly (Inagh-Kilnamona), Jack Browne (Ballyea), Paul Flanagan (Ballyea), Domhnall O’Donovan (Clonlara), Nicky O’Connell (Clonlara), Liam Markham (Cratloe), Cathal Malone (Ennistymon), Cathal O’Connell (Clonlara), David Reidy (Éire Óg), Padraic Collins (Cratloe) Peter Duggan (Clooney-Quin)