By Damian Dolan.
Pat Hoey is back for a third spell as Warwickshire manager and believes the absence of Fullen Gaels is an opportunity for youth to step up to the mark.
Warwickshire welcome Tyrone to Pairc na hEireann on Sunday minus a host of players from the Manchester club, who helped Warwickshire to Lory Meagher Cup success last year, but who will this year form their own Lancashire hurling team.
The absence of Fullen has also deprived Warwickshire of co-manager Stan Murray-Hession, while Steve Ahern has also stepped down, leaving Hoey to step in to fill the breach.
The Clare man, who played for Warwickshire for 20 years and was Nicky Rackard All Star goalkeeper in 2006, will build the core of his panel around the John Mitchels side which reached the county and All Britain finals, supplemented by players from Erin Go Bragh, St Barnabas and Roger Casements.
Despite the absence of Fullen Gaels, Hoey is confident that Warwickshire has the players to be a force again this year.
“We’re going to lose some good players, but there are some good players in Warwickshire,” he said. “I’m a firm believer in building with youth and there are some very good young lads with Mitchels, Casements and Erin Go Bragh, and they’re going to have a chance now to progress.”
For more see this week’s edition of the Irish World