GERRY Quinn has accepted an invitation from the new Clare senior hurling manager to return to the panel and will begin training with them on Monday.
Former manager Mike McNamara dropped the Corofin hurler early in 2009. Quinn stated publicly that he would never hurl for Clare again while McNamara was in charge.
However, former All-Star Tony Griffin is sticking with his decision to retire from inter-county hurling despite receiving an invite from Ger O’Loughlin to be part of the 2010 panel. The Ballyea man has informed the new management team that he will not be returning due to work commitments.
As the recent dispute between players and management raged, Griffin’s decision to retire from inter-county hurling came as a surprise. The Ballyea man texted fellow players with news of his decision before releasing a detailed statement in which he said that a lack of confidence in the then management, together with increasing demands on his time due to business commitments led to his decision.
New boss Ger O’Loughlin and his selectors, Danny Chaplin and Liam Doyle, met with the players for the first time on Tuesday afternoon.
Following a meeting of the new selection committee over the weekend, almost 40 players were invited to a meeting in Clareabbey on Tuesday.
O’Loughlin acknowledged the changes from the panel that was in place when the 2009 season ended.
“We will be constantly reviewing the panel and it is our aim to be fair to everybody. We are looking for the best and we want the best for Clare. We will be keeping a close eye on club form and lads that are not part of the panel right now will be called in if we feel they merit a call,” the Clarecastle man told The Clare Champion.
In the manager’s view, players of inter-county standard should be standing out in Clare Cup games.
He added that, within reason, “we will be making sure that the players will be available for club games. In most cases, if a guy has a cup game he will be allowed to play and that will be a chance for us to see him in action. Wherever possible we will be flexible”.
This will be welcome news for club officials as the club versus county issue was a big debating point in dealing with fixtures in recent years.
Sixmilebridge native Danny Chaplin this week promised to give 110% to his new position as Clare selector.
“It’s a huge honour to be asked and I am delighted to be involved. I hope that everything will go well. We won’t be found wanting with regard to our efforts and I hope that it will be the same as far as the players are concerned. They will have to give the commitment and I want to see all the talking done on the hurling field. We are coming in with a clean slate, starting afresh,” he said.
Chaplin has been manager of Broadford for the past five years during which time he led the East Clare club to the intermediate title and to the quarter final of the senior championship last year. Prior to that, he spent two years as part of the senior management team with his native Sixmilebridge.
He played at all levels for Clare, winning a Munster minor medal in 1981 and Munster and All-Ireland junior medals in 1993 when he was part of a squad that also included his fellow selector Liam Doyle. He played Munster U-21 championship with Clare and lined out in a full-forward line that also included new manager Ger O’Loughlin in 1985 when Clare lost to Tipperary in the provincial final. He played in the Munster senior championship against Waterford in Thurles in 1984 and as a substitute in the replay against Tipperary in Killarney in 1987.
“We have the players, it’s just to get them working together,” said Chaplin, who firmly believes that players should be playing with their clubs.
“You can’t beat matches and we intend looking at lads in competitive action with their clubs,” he concluded.
Bodyke’s Liam Doyle is looking forward to the big challenges that await him as part of the county’s senior hurling management.
“I was delighted to be asked to be part of the management team. I thought about it for a day or two and hopefully I have something to offer,” he told The Clare Champion.
Like the other two members of the management team, Doyle believes there is sufficient talent in the county to challenge for the sport’s highest honours.
“Last year’s U-21 success was great and hopefully some of the players involved in that win will come through. But there are no guarantees. We will take one game at a time. I don’t want to see lads wearing the jersey for the sake of wearing it. We want 100% for everybody involved,” he said.
A member of Clare’s All-Ireland winning sides from 1995 and 1997, he is also the holder of three Munster senior medals as well as Munster and All-Ireland junior medals. While a back injury curtailed his hurling in recent years, he continued to represent his club whenever possible and played some games in 2009.
In recent years, he has been busy coaching Sixmilebridge and Smith O’Brien’s at senior level as well as helping with the preparation of some Bodyke teams.
Cratloe’s Fiach O’Loughlin shot to prominence as a team trainer when his club won the Clare senior hurling championship title for the first time in 2009.
He played hurling and football for the club up to U-21 level. He was also playing rugby at the time “and at that stage I had to choose and I opted for rugby,” he told The Clare Champion after seeing Cratloe reach the Clare senior hurling final for the first time.
“You can bring a lot from rugby to hurling,” the Shannon RFC member said. And having seen his training methods prove so successful at club level, he is sure to continue with the same mix in his new role.
He is currently in Australia where he spent Christmas and he is due to return to Clare next week.