*John Callinan. Photograph: Joe Buckley
The decision of Berwick L.P. to become sponsors of the Clare under 21 hurling and football championships won’t surprise any when the identity of the directors of the law practice is revealed.
Clarecastle’s John Callinan, Ennis man Ronan Murphy and Galway’s David Higgins who has Lahinch connections are all keen sportsmen with a particular interest in gaelic games.
Indeed former Clarecastle club chairman John Callinan has a particular affinity to the under 21 grade having represented his beloved Clare in both codes.
He was a member of the Clare under 21 hurling squad for five years during which time he played in three Munster finals. Clare suffered defeats in the finals of 1972 (to Tipperary), 1974 (to Waterford) and 1976 (to Cork).
Speaking to The Clare Echo last week about the decision to sponsor the under 21 club championships, he stressed his “special affinity with this grade. I played under 21 for my club at just fifteen years of age”, he recalled.
During his time studying at UCD he played with the college and won a Dublin championship at under 21 level in 1976. The previous season (1975) he was a member of the Clarecastle team which lost out to Kilmaley in the Clare final at the same grade.
He went on to manage Clarecastle at under 21 level, a team which contested the Clare final and he also served as a Clare under 21 selector in a backroom team which included Seamus Durack, Ger Loughnane, Fr. Willie Walsh and Enda O’Connor in 1991.
“It’s a great grade to play at but it is a nuisance from a fixtures point of view being most problematic due to Harty Cup, Freshers and Fitzgibbon cup hurling. That said it is a grade which is very close to my heart and every effort should be made to keep and facilitate this competition. I have a lot of great memories of playing at this level and its one of the reasons why I was attracted to this sponsorship”.
The draws for this seasons Clare under 21 competitions were made at Clareabbey on Monday evening by Ronan Murphy of Berwick. Ronan is a member of the Éire Óg club.
Full draw – HERE.