*Podge Collins. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

PODGE COLLINS has announced his retirement from inter-county football.

Tributes were extended to Podge at County Convention following confirmation of his plans to retire from the county colours.

News of his retirement was first reported by Clare FM with Podge currently in the United States alongside former teammates David Tubridy and Keelan Sexton.

His speed, skill, workrate and tenacity made the Cratloe player a hero to Clare supporters while his application and perseverance ensured he was used as a reference point by coaches across the country.

An All-Ireland winner in 2013, Collins was nominated for Hurler of the Year following a campaign that saw him become a fan favourite and deliver excellent performances from corner forward when Clare claimed the Liam MacCarthy for only the fourth time.

Podge starred in attack for Clare, he scored 0-3 in the memorable drawn All-Ireland final against Cork and collected an All Star award for his exploits.

Podge Collins. Photo: Martin Connolly

Collins was harshly sent off when Clare drew with Wexford in the 2014 qualifiers in Cusack Park, they were dethroned after losing the replay to Liam Dunne’s side in Wexford Park. For 2015, he had opted to concentrate solely on playing football with Clare and was not part of the hurling squad before suffering a cruciate ligament in injury in May.

He was a dual-player in 2016, winning a National Hurling League medal. His dual commitments saw him line out on successive days on two championship weekends and he will be remembered as one of the last dual players at inter-county level.

In 2017, he committed solely to the county hurlers. Following the conclusion of Donal Moloney and Gerry O’Connor’s term as senior hurling managers in 2019, Podge left the hurling panel and has concentrated solely on football in saffron and blue since.

Initially part of the Clare senior football panel in 2012, he left the squad when Davy Fitzgerald called him onto the hurling panel and thus missed out as Micheál McDermott’s side contested the provincial final against Cork that season.

Success didn’t elude him entirely in 2012, Podge was part of the Clare U21 side to claim All-Ireland and provincial honours, lining out at centre forward. He retained the number eleven jersey when Donal Moloney and Gerry O’Connor’s side secured back to back honours in 2013.

On the football front, Podge was part of the Clare panel to overcome Kildare in the Division 3 National Football League final in 2016, he was introduced as a substitute at half-time and kicked a point in their 2-17 1-19 victory.

Podge Collins. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

His father Colm served as manager of the Clare side and Podge was involved as they contested All-Ireland SFC quarter-finals in 2016 and 2022, losing out to Kerry and Derry.

Having defeated Cork for the first time since 1997, Clare backed this up by overcoming Limerick to reach the Munster final this year but they were comprehensively beaten by Kerry with subsequent defeats to Donegal, Monaghan and Derry ending their campaign and also the decade long stint of Colm as manager.

Podge Collins. Photograph: Ruth Griffin.

With his club Cratloe, Podge is the holder of three senior football titles, the most recent of which was added this year when they defeated St Breckan’s in the county final. He has won two Clare SHC medals following their success in 2009 and 2014.

Thirty one year old Podge got married to Ellen Roche from Kilmurry in April but had to sacrifice the honeymoon on account of the Munster championship. He told The Clare Echo at the time, “I can go on honeymoon when I’m forty but while I’m old enough to play I’ll try keep playing”.

Chairman of Clare GAA, Kieran Keating described Podge as “a great ambassador for Clare GAA” and voiced his hope that he would remain involved with Cratloe and also with the county in a non-playing role. Head of Operations, Deirdre Murphy voiced her best wishes to Collins.

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Subscribe for just €3 per month

If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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