by Seamus Hayes
Clarecastle’s Jonathan Clancy has called time on his inter-county hurling career. A member of the squad since 2005 when he was included by the then manager, Anthony Daly, the midfielder was retained by subsequent managers, Tony Considine, Mike McNamara, Ger O’Loughlin and Fitzgerald.
He is the second member of the All-Ireland winning squad to retire from inter-county hurling. Fergal Lynch from Clooney-Quin, who is now part of the backroom team, having been appointed by manager Davy Fitzgerald as a forwards’ coach, announced his retirement the week after the All-Ireland final.
That success last September was “the highlight” of Clancy’s eight-year inter-county career he told The Clare Champion this week.
“Prior to that, there wasn’t much silverware but I wouldn’t change anything. They were great times but very tough, particularly when one was trying to work also,” Clancy added, confirming that he will continue to play with his club.
Clancy played two years with the Clare minors and spent four years on the county U-21 panel before graduating to the senior squad.
Prior to last year’s All-Ireland success, he played in the Munster final of 2008 and, a year later, was at midfield when Clare won the Waterford Crystal title for the first time. He also played in two All-Ireland semi-finals when Clare qualified through the backdoor system.
“The commitment nowadays is huge and this has been particularly the case for the past two or three years. It has gone semi-professional in an amateur way. There is an awful lot expected of players who have to be available around the clock. People don’t really realise what is involved. In addition to attending collective training sessions, players have to follow their own individual programme of training and when they are not doing that, they are down at the ball alley or the hurling wall working on their game. Inter-county players are always practicising,” he said.
A winner of county senior championships with the Magpies in 2003 and 2005, Clancy hopes to help Clarecastle “get back to challenging for a county title. The first target will be to get out of the group. There is a good crop of young players coming through, the Magpies contested the last two Minor A Championship finals, winning in 2013 and, hopefully, we can do something,” he said.
The Magpies have a new management team for the year ahead comprising Roger McMahon, Fergie O’Loughlin (trainer), Tony Kelly and John Casey and, no doubt, Clancy will be one of their key players.
Incidentally, Clancy is also a leading light in Clarecastle football and played a key role in helping them to win the Clare Junior A title in 2012.