Clare 'by a couple', says pundit Henry
HENRY SHEFFLIN will make his 'Sunday Game' debut - as rookie pundit, not main player - this weekend but he is struggling with the task of calling a winner in Thurles.
"It's very hard to call. I would have thought last week that this is a massive game for Clare but actually, when I think about it a bit, it's a massive game for Limerick as well," the retired Kilkenny talisman pointed out.
"They had two very good years and they have had two very good minor teams as well. I think it is very important for Limerick to stay at this top level - the last time they won three U21s they went back again and never really had a chance to come back. If they stay at the top level, particularly with these minors coming on, it will be a massive boost for them.
"I think Clare might do it by a couple of scores - but whoever gets a couple of goals will probably be the difference."
Another possible tie-breaker could be the injury-enforced absence of Limerick netminder Nickie Quaid. "It all depends on the quality of the sub goalie," according to Shefflin, "but I think he's going to be a massive loss because he's a very good 'keeper.
"The way Clare play, they put a lot of players out and there's long balls so if the 'keeper has confidence coming off his line - like Nickie Quaid - he can sweep up a lot of the play that goes in behind the full-back line.
"It's not an easy thing being thrown into a big match like that, but I suppose that's what you do all the training for."
As for whether relegation and the washing of internal disciplinary issues in public will have brought the Clare squad closer together, Shefflin surmised: "It all depends on what goes on within the camp, and no one knows that, from the outside looking it.
"Definitely if they're all on the one sheet, it can motivate you, pull you together. Because all teams are at a high level, and everyone is looking for that extra two or three per cent. So how do you find it? If it's something like that, then great."