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John Conlon and Colin Ryan of Clare embrace following the All-Ireland senior hurling final replay against Cork at Croke Park. Photograph by John Kelly.

Conlon reflects on a dream come true

ONE of five Clonara men to play a part in Clare’s epic 2013 All-Ireland final win, John Conlon has long dreamed of this day. The 24 year old Clonara man, who hurled with ferocity and poise in what was a momentous 70 minutes of hurling, set his sights on hurling in Croke Park, long before he wore a county jersey.

“I remember when I was younger sitting in the Nally Stand and looking out. I was wondering ‘will I be here one day?’ You train, train and train. You have the bad days and these are the amazing days,” Conlon said afterwards. He watched the 1997 All-Ireland final from the Nally Stand and speaking on Saturday evening, he found it hard to comprehend that he was now an All-Ireland winner himself.

“This is the stuff of dreams. I remember being out in the back garden when Limerick played Wexford. (1996) I was looking at the TV inside the window saying ‘I’d love to be up there one day.’ I was pretending to be Ciaran Carey or Jamesie O’Connor. That dream has come through. It’s all down the management and Davy and what they’ve brought to the set up. It’s amazing,” the eloquent school teacher said.

He was satisfied with his own display in the Clare half forward line.

“It was great to go out and get the early score. That sets you up for the day. I caught a ball after that and you’re in the game then. It’s always nice to have the ball early,” he added.

Perhaps John Conlon should be consulted on what he thinks next weeks Lotto numbers might be. He has a good record in prediction terms.

“I remember after we lost to Cork (Munster semi-final). I was concussed at home in bed. I heard the (qualifier) draw on the Monday morning. My father was passing the room and I said ‘we’ll win the All-Ireland. The draw is there for us.’ I said it to Colm Galvin after training the next night on the way home. He laughed at me. He said ‘go way, John. You’re mad.’ I said it to him before the cup was lifted. I said ‘I told you we’d win the All-Ireland,” Conlon said, smiling at the memory.

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