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Frank to fill big brother's boots.

CLARE'S All-Ireland semi-final preparations have hit crisis point as they weigh up the growing list of casualties destined to miss Sunday's clash with Offaly.

Frank Lohan is ready to step into suspended brother Brian's shoes when a Clare team is announced tonight with Mike O'Halloran winning his place back at right corner-back.

O'Halloran was dropped on the morning of the Cork semi-final as he yielded to Brian Quinn and he will relish this opportunity to make a case for himself again.

But Clare are uncertain whether to name Colin Lynch in their side ahead of his appearance before the Munster Council on Friday night.

The likliehood is that they will and adopt a 'wait and see' policy. But if Lynch, who has been cited for wild pulling across Tony Browne on the basis of video evidence, is suspended from Friday night, Fergal Hegarty is ready to resume his old partnership with Ollie Baker at midfield.

Hegarty alternated at midfield in Clare's benchmark '95 with Jamesie O'Connor and that tactic is likely to be adopted again if the authorities come down hard on Lynch.

Liam Doyle's ankle liagment injury is showing signs of recovery and he is expected to jog lightly at training tonight. Doyle will be named in the Clare team tonight but a decision on his fitness will not be made until later in the week.

If Doyle doesn't make it last year's minor captain John Reddan has emerged as a real candidate for the position.

Reddan has been showing fine form in training and is in strong contention if Doyle doesn't recover sufficiently.

Battling

Clare manager Ger Loughnane is battling against a Munster Council recommendation to keep him off the touchline for Sunday's semi-final.

Loughnane is awaiting clarification from Croke Park to determine whether he will have to watch the match from the New Stand or if he will be allowed to patrol the touchline as normal.

The recommendation has called for a complete ban on Loughnane from the touchline.

Meanwhile, Tipperary GAA officials have refused to confirm that Nicky English will be appointed their next hurling manager. English is the hot favourite to take over from Len Gaynor.

He has privately expressed a strong interest in the position since Tipp's defeat by Waterford in the Munster championship earlier this year.

The seven-man committee convened to find a manager are nearing a final decision and it appears that English is ready to be asked to take over.

A decision on the new manager will not be made until next Tuesday, but reports from Tipperary suggest that former goalkeeper Ken Hogan will be assistant to English.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Author:Keys, Colm
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Aug 4, 1998
Words:437
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