Clare welcome Cork to Cusack Park
Munster Senior Hurling League Group B: Clare v Cork (today, Cusack Park, 2pm)
GROUP B of the Munster Hurling League throws in this afternoon as 2018 finalists Clare welcome Cork to Cusack Park.
Last year was tough on the Banner as they lost their All-Ireland semi-final replay to Galway by a single point and there were doubts about whether or not joint managers Donal Maloney and Gerry O'Connor would stay on. However, they agreed to another season back in October and they will now be plotting a way to take at least one more step forward in the coming season.
There's a lot of hurling to be played between now and then though although it's been a busy start to the season for the side.
They were in Boston last month for the Fenway Classic – losing to today's opponents in the semi-final – while they also recently faced Wexford in the Jack Lynch Memorial Challenge.
The management used that match to run their eye over a host of new players although the likes of David McInerney, Seadna Morey, Jamie Shanahan and Peter Duggan were also involved – and it's likely to be another mix of new and experienced faces this afternoon.
Clare have lost goalkeeper Patrick Kelly to retirement recently but the Inagh-Kilnamona man, who was between the posts for their last All-Ireland triumph in 2013, has played second fiddle to Donal Tuohy in recent seasons.
Cork will be glad to get back to on-field matters after a bumpy few weeks for the county off it following the revelation that the redevelopment of Páirc Uí Chaoimh came in almost €25 million over budget.
John Meyler has drafted in a number of new faces while there are recalls for Aidan Walsh, Stephen McDonnell and Cormac Murphy.
Amongst the new players are goalkeeper Ger Collins, Ger Millerick, Conor Cahalane, David Lowney and Michael O'Halloran who were part of the U21 squad that lost to Tipperary in last year's All-Ireland final.