Shane O’Donnell claims disciplinary row brought Clare squad closer together

‘We were all fairly content with the way everything was dealt with’

Clare’s Shane O’Donnell: “We’re very close. We’ve always been very close.” Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho.

Clare’s Shane O’Donnell: “We’re very close. We’ve always been very close.” Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho.

 

Not that O’Donnell is the sort of player who gets easily upset about anything: five days before Clare’s Munster championship opener against Limerick at Semple Stadium, he’s the picture of calmness – against the suitable picturesque backdrop of Glendalough, in the heart of the Wicklow Mountains.

“Everyone has forgotten about that [the disciplinary row] at this stage,” says O’Donnell, speaking at the launch of the All-Ireland Under-21 hurling championship, for which he’s still eligible. “We were all fairly content with the way everything was dealt with. We didn’t get involved, and everybody was fairly happy with it.

“And maybe it has brought us more together. A small bit, maybe. Although we’re an extremely tight-knit group, anyway, as any inter-county squad is. So it’s difficult to say. We’re very close. We’ve always been very close.”

Indeed it’s now over two months since the Davy O’Halloran-Nicky O’Connell row. The two players left the Clare panel due to what they claimed was “humiliating” disciplinary treatment from manager Davy Fitzgerald but O’Connell has since rejoined the panel, while O’Halloran has linked up with the Clare footballers (along with other former hurlers such as Podge Collins).

Encouragement

Yet the closeness of that game – plus Clare’s desire to shake-off that one-season wonder tag from 2013 – has given O’Donnell and the rest of the panel plenty of encouragement as they prepare to face Limerick, who they beat in the 2013 All-Ireland semi-final.

“We were disappointed with the league campaign, obviously, especially to get relegated. But towards the end, it started to come together alright, and we seemed to be going well. That Kilkenny game was very much championship pace, and while we still lost ultimately, it was very close to where we wanted to get.”

Clare have won only one competitive game since the beginning of April 2013 (against Dublin, in this year’s league), losing eight championship and league games in the meantime.

“It’s hard to say what was missing,” says O’Donnell. “I don’t think too much was missing.”

Sunday will reveal exactly how much Clare have got back – and got back together.

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