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07 Dec 2021

Offaly club manager noticed unexpected consequence of Covid shutdown

2020 Offaly IHC final preview

Offaly club manager noticed unexpected consequence of Covid shutdown

The Shinrone panel beaten in the Division 1 HL final last weekend.

SHINRONE intermediate hurling manager, Joe Cleary noticed an unexpected spin off from the Covid-19 shutdown last year.

When training eventually resumed after those long months of inactivity, he found a huge interest in young players getting out on the field and playing.

“A lot of clubs found when they were back after the lockdown that a lot of players wanted to play. There were big turnouts in a lot of clubs,” he said as he talked about Saturday's Intermediate Hurling Championship final against Coolderry.

It didn't happen for Shinrone at senior level in 2020 and asked about the importance of an intermediate title for them, he sort of brushed it aside, saying: “It (second team) is important for any club but the important thing is to give players game time.”

Junior champions three years ago, Shinrone found numbers to be an issue when they went intermediate in 2019 but thanks partly to that renewed interest post lockdown, they have not had a problem this year.

“This year (2020) it is very good. We have a good few up from minor and a few have returned to hurling after a few years away. That has helped. We have good numbers this year which makes a difference. It is very important to give game time to all those players. “

He hopes that some of the younger players will go on to play senior. “A lot of lads are young and just breaking into adult hurling so game time is very imporant. Definitely we have some lads who we are hoping will play senior.”

Some of the Shinrone team do have senior experience – Colin O'Meara, Darragh Crean, Eoin Cleary, Barry McNamara and Brian Loughnane have featured at different stages.

Cleary did agree that an intermediate hurling title could have a huge positive spin off for Shinrone. “Any success, no matter what grade, even a league, helps. It boosts morale in a club and it is important but it is more important that players are playing the game and getting game time.

“Once the lockdown was over, players wanted to be back playing and they knew they would have three quick games in success. It encourages a lot of players to get back playing and it is why clubs are so busy. Only one club can win, only two can reach the final so it's more important to give game time to every player.”

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