Shane O'Donnell is looking to play as much as possible ahead of the Munster Championship

O'Donnell returned to Clare's starting lineup on Sunday after returning from a foot injury

BY Daniel Kelly 17:55 Tuesday 10 May 2016, 17:55 10 May 2016

Clare’s Shane O’Donnell is congratulated by fans at the end of the game Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Ken Sutton

Despite playing Waterford for the second-time in a week last weekend, Shane O'Donnell wouldn't mind if he had to play them once more before their Munster Championship semi-final.

The Clare star returned to the starting side on Sunday after suffering a foot injury in March. He simply just wants games before their Championship bow in the first weekend of June. 

"I'm just looking for games. I don't care if it's ten Waterford games if we have every second weekend. I'm just looking forward to games. I don't really think about the opposition."

O'Donnell and the Clare side won their first National League title on Sunday afternoon after defeating their Munster rivals in a replay. Despite the win, Clare's first league triumph since 1978, the 21-year-old says the team are already focusing on the summer. "I think what happened on Sunday now is in the past. Everyone has had their couple of days to enjoy it".

The Clare County Championship begins this weekend, as O'Donnell looks to build up his fitness ahead of the Munster Championship. His Eire Óg team meet Tony Kelly's Ballyea on Sunday in Cusack Park and the full-forward cannot wait to get stuck in on Sunday.

"Last year we had seven weeks between the league and championship. You could look at it either way. It would be nice to get a couple of weeks of serious training under your belt, but at the same time it's nice when you can see games around the corner. For me, it's nice to get another 60 or 70 minutes under my belt for the club."

Clare and Waterford have been receiving plaudits in recent weeks and both teams go into the Championship among the favourites for provincial glory. Despite that, O'Donnell knows his side cannot look past the June 5th encounter, without even thinking about Tipperary, Cork and Limerick lurking in the other half of the draw.

Shane O’Donnell in action for Clare. Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Ken Sutton

"There has been a lot of attention on Clare and Waterford in recent weeks, because it's the only game on. You would be a fool to look past those teams in Munster and even outside that. There are plenty of teams like Kilkenny, Galway and Dublin who on their day could make for an extremely close game."

Donal Óg Cusack joined the team as a selector at the start of the year, and has been credited with helping Clare return to the form that won them the All-Ireland title in 2013. O'Donnell has been impressed by what the Cork man has brought to the team.

"He's and incredibly intelligent person. He brings really interesting insights, but at the same time so have all the other guys. We have a couple of new guys in the management and fitness teams. Sometimes it's not a fantastic idea, but it's a new idea that can make a difference."

Although having won the league title for the first time, O'Donnell says that 2016 cannot be judged as successful yet for the team just yet. "I don't think you can turn around in the start of May, and say that it's a successful year. Obviously we are happy we haven't lost a game yet this year so things are going well. We left the league behind us and have moved onto the Championship. We're not going to be looking at the final at all. We are only focusing on our first game will will deal with it after that."

When speaking to O'Donnell, it's impressive how focused he is already on this summer. There is talk in Clare of the team missing a Munster medal, after their All-Ireland and National League triumphs, but it's not phasing O'Donnell. "We have to get there first. There's a couple of games between now and then, but it is the first silverware in our sights now that the league is over".

The final game of the early-season trilogy between Clare and Waterford could be the best episode yet.

Shane was speaking in Croke Park as the Insight Centre for Data Analytics showcased the results of three years of research aimed at capturing and storing European traditional sports techniques for present and future players. The project, known as Replay, involves cutting edge sensor technology and data analytics combined to create, for the first time, a digitised ‘library of movement’ for use by athletes and coaches.


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