The honeymoon period is over before it started for Donal Óg Cusack, as the Clare senior hurling management have been dealt a hammer blow with the news that Pat Donnellan could miss the whole season.
Donnellan, 30, captained the Banner to All-Ireland success in 2013, and was named as an All-Star that same year.
However, it appears that he may have torn his cruciate, which would ensure that he will not feature in the 2016 season.
This is a major setback for Clare, who are looking to bounce back from disappointment in 2014 and 2015, a period in which they were relegated from Division 1A in the league and only recorded one championship win.
For Davy Fitzgerald’s side to hit the heights of 2013 once more, they will need leaders, and in that regard Donnellan’s injury is an undoubted blow.
The centre-back suffered the injury while playing for Clare in a challenge match with Na Piarsaigh of Limerick on Saturday.
Hoping Pat Donnellan makes a speedy recovery after getting injured in a challenge today. #upthebanner
— UpDeBanner (@UpDeBanner) January 16, 2016
It is not all doom and gloom for the Clare faithful however, as it has been confirmed today that All-Ireland winning coach Paul Kinnerk has rejoined the management. Kinnerk left after 2013, but has returned as Fitzgerald and company look to prove a point to the rest of the country in the coming months.