| 5.5°C Dublin

Rivalries rekindled as qualifiers pair Clare icons and Munster's 'old firm'

Close

To the Banner born: The unravelled friendship of former team-mates Brian Lohan and Davy Fitzgerald (here playing together in 2005) saw the pair forgo the customary post-match handshake in February. Their teams collide again on Saturday. SPORTSFILE

To the Banner born: The unravelled friendship of former team-mates Brian Lohan and Davy Fitzgerald (here playing together in 2005) saw the pair forgo the customary post-match handshake in February. Their teams collide again on Saturday. SPORTSFILE

SPORTSFILE

To the Banner born: The unravelled friendship of former team-mates Brian Lohan and Davy Fitzgerald (here playing together in 2005) saw the pair forgo the customary post-match handshake in February. Their teams collide again on Saturday. SPORTSFILE

With all the inevitability of night following day, the balls denoting Wexford and Clare were pulled out in succession by GAA president John Horan on RTÉ's 'Morning Ireland' yesterday as he conducted the draw for the second round of All-Ireland SHC qualifiers.

Not just Wexford and Clare, of course, but Davy Fitzgerald's Wexford and Brian Lohan's Clare, the feuding '90s icons of Clare hurling. They've met already this year, back on February 3.

Despite plenty of attention in the build-up, there was no drama that day, with Clare winning by three points in Wexford Park.

But, equally, there was no post-match handshake between the man who manned the Clare goal for their landmark All-Ireland wins in 1995 and '97 and the man who stood directly in front, wolfishly guarding his square.

Afterwards, Fitzgerald said: "People can write what they want about me and Brian Lohan.

Grand

"It doesn't bother me in the slightest. He is who he is and I am who I am and that's grand. That will never come into it with me. I am a Clare man, I am a proud Clare man and I will always be a proud Clare man, but I am manager of Wexford and I love what I do down here."

They'll square off for the first time in championship hurling on Saturday in O'Moore Park, a match that can be streamed via GAA Go, with Cork's clash with Tipperary (4.0, the Gaelic Grounds) live on Sky.

Cork are now almost certainly without Alan Cadogan and Darragh Fitzgibbon for that clash with the All-Ireland champions.

Cadogan was subbed against Waterford in the Rebels' disappointing Munster semi-final loss two Saturdays ago and, according to Kieran Kingston, suffered a quad injury in the build-up to last weekend's victory over Dublin in Thurles.

The Cork manager said it was highly unlikely either Alan or Eoin Cadogan (back) would be fit for next weekend, while Fitzgibbon is also on their absentee list due to a hamstring injury.

The game, a first straight knock-out championship meeting of Munster's old firm since the 2014 All-Ireland semi-final, will be Cork's third in just 14 days against a Tipperary side who have had two weeks to repair and recovery from their under-par Munster semi-final loss to Limerick.

Patrick 'Bonner' Maher and Seamus Kennedy missed that game through hip and knee injuries respectively, while Barry Heffernan limped off with a hamstring injury.

Kingston admitted he would "love to have more time" in preparation, having only had access to his full squad since early October, due to the scheduling of the Cork senior hurling championship. He pointed out that "the nature of the county championships in Cork meant we had less than three weeks with the lads before the Waterford game".

Meanwhile, Mattie Kenny was already looking forward to 2021 after Dublin's season ended in Thurles last Saturday. The Galway native has one more year to run on the three-year term he agreed with the Dublin County Board when he was appointed in 2018.

"We're now in early November, the season is over for our guys," he noted. "We're disappointed with that but the New Year isn't too far away."

All-Ireland SHC qualifiers

Saturday: Wexford v Clare, Portlaoise at 2.0 (Live on GAA Go);

Cork v Tipperary, LIT Gaelic Grounds, 4.0 (Sky Sports Mix)


Privacy