Fifth column

Is Davy Fitz the enemy within? Looking at his selection for Monday’s match, you’d instinctively think he might be. No Prendergast of either type, no Aidan Kearney and – gasp! – no Ken McGrath. Is he trying to win it for Clare?

Of course he’s not. A fully match-fit Ken would surely be playing, so ipso facto he can’t be match fit. The phrase ‘impact sub’ comes easily to mind. Aidan Kearney hasn’t been pulling up trees for a while so it’s not a great leap to leave him out. Seamus Prendergast can consider himself hard done by, and personally I wouldn’t contemplate having Big Dan in ahead of him. But Kevin Moran would had have more reason to feel aggrieved had he been dropped after a productive League campaign and there would be plenty of outrage had Dan been omitted. Hopefully he can repay Davy’s faith in him.

The big call has to be Liam Lawlor at full back. He didn’t suggest during the League campaign that he was the solution to this never-ending problem, but as with playing Ken McGrath at full back as we staggered through the qualifiers in 2008 it’s a question of having to try something. Whether it was Albert Einstein or Bertie Ahern who said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, it wouldn’t make it any less true. Declan Prendergast must have very broad shoulders to be able to stay in a panel where he is viewed as the patsy we turn to when we’ve exhausted all the other options, but the hiding that Aisake Ó hAilpín gave Pádraic Maher has to have focused minds. Better to be hung for a sheep than a lamb and all that. But remember: the players don’t react well to losing to Clare. Just saying . . .

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