Former Limerick defender Tom Condon has backed Clare’s “daring” decision to take the Munster final to the TUS Gaelic Grounds.
After Pairc Ui Chaoimh and FBD Semple Stadium were proposed as potential venues for the 11 June clash, Munster Council fixed the game for Limerick home after Clare agreed.
Clare inflicted Limerick’s first Championship hurling defeat in almost four years in the round-robin stage on April 29 at the Ennis Road venue, which is a much more convenient destination for their supporters than Cork or Thurles.
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And Condon doesn’t think it backfires on them.
“No, and fair play to the Clare County Board too for introducing him, it was a bold move!” he smiled.
“From my point of view, the Gaelic Grounds is also almost a home game for Clare.
“Clare, I know they haven’t won against Limerick in the Championship in so many years, but now they have that monkey on their back and Clare loves playing on the Gaelic Grounds. They have always played well on the Gaelic Grounds.
“And also for the fans, it was the right decision. No mass travel or massive traffic jams and the like, and there will be some excitement on Ennis Road on Sunday of the week.
“It was the right decision and fair play for Clare, I don’t think it would have a big influence on the outcome of the game.
“It’s a course like any other and I think it will be a great occasion.”
He added: “What a Munster final for Clare to win if they can beat Limerick in their own backyard. It would be one for the ages.
“You can argue about it until the cows come home. I guess the Clare fans will be a bit upset that it’s in Limerick but, at the end of the day, what a way for Clare to win if they’re going to win.”
It remains to be seen if two-time bowler of the year Cian Lynch starts when Limerick bids for a fifth provincial title in the twist.
After missing most of last year’s Championship with hamstring and ankle injuries, Lynch has been out of shape of late and did not start last Sunday’s win over Cork, although that decision is believed to have been influenced, at least in part, by injury.
Condon played alongside Lynch until his retirement after the 2020 season and is married to his cousin, former Limerick camo player Sarah Carey.
“The only thing about him is that you don’t get much change from Cian or anyone in camp; they keep things to themselves, which is a good sign of a team, so you don’t know until game day what’s going to happen.
“From my point of view, Cian suffered a horrible injury last year; it had the potential to be a career-ending injury in my book and he was lucky, he recovered and came back, but he still suffered these injuries that have cut him short and you can’t beat the intensity of the game and the practice of the game. no matter how hard you train when you’re not playing.
“He has not had the opportunity to recover the level of intensity that he has had.
“He’s just trying to find form a bit, but I think on the last day, he got a vital ball and retained possession for us at the forward-half line, which was critical for us at the time.”
Condon, however, says he would be wrong to bench Lynch yet again on Sunday of the week.
“It’s a dilemma now for John Kiely, what does he do because, to be fair, Cathal O’Neill has been very good in the couple of games he’s been in.
“It’s a headache for John Kiely. Do you stay with what you have already tried or do you go for it and give the youngsters a chance?
“He stuck with Gearoid on the last day, and to be fair, Gearoid came out on top. He clung to him, another guy who was struggling to find his way back to the heights from where he was.
“Personally, maybe, I’d probably start with Cathal and bring in Cian later, to come in and finish the job and take care of the life balls and things like that, see how things go.
“It’s a chance for John now because you still know you’re in the All-Ireland series, so I’d almost risk leaving Cathal there and see how he fares.”
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