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Cassidy ruled out but Slaughtneil keep their focus on place in All Ireland final

By John Campbell

Slaughtneil manager Michael McShane is resigned to being without wing-forward Séan Cassidy for tomorrow's All-Ireland Club Hurling Championship semi-final against Limerick and Munster champions Na Piarsaigh at Parnell Park (2pm).

McShane had been hopeful that Cassidy might have recovered from two broken fingers but he has failed in his race against the clock.

"Séan is obviously very disappointed to be ruled out of consideration but we are hopeful that he will soon be back in action," states McShane. "We are fortunate in that we have a clean bill of health otherwise. Our preparations have been going well but we know that we are facing into a massive challenge."

McShane is certainly not exaggerating. Na Piarsaigh have won four Munster Championship titles within the last seven years, they have several established Limerick players in their line-up and boast an enviable tradition.

While Slaughtneil have been the dominant force in Ulster hurling of late, they have encountered difficulty in achieving All-Ireland honours.

Their team includes a number of dual players and McShane will look to Brendan Rodgers, Chrissy McKaigue, Meehaul McGrath, Karl McKaigue, Sé McGuigan, Shane McGuigan and Cormac O'Doherty to set the tone for his team's performance.

McShane is particularly relieved that O'Doherty is back to full fitness after incurring a hamstring injury while helping Slaughtneil retain their Ulster club football title last November.

"We thought at the outset that it might be touch and go for him but he has made a very good recovery. Cormac is a very skilful forward who can take scores," states McShane.

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