*Donal Moloney issues an instruction to Tony Kelly. Photograph: Martin Connolly
Gerry O’Connor’s departure may impact on whether his co-manager Donal Moloney is kept on as Clare senior hurling manager.
The Clare Echo revealed last week that O’Connor was departing the setup after three seasons involved. The Killanena man in his parting statement to this paper urged the County Board to keep faith in Moloney by offering an extended period in charge.
In the days following his departure, County Board Chairman Joe Cooney stated, “We are keeping our options open”. A meeting was due to take place in recent days between Moloney, Cooney and Pat Fitzgerald according to the Chairman.
“Donal has said he was interested in staying on but that was before Gerry decided to walk away. Whether that changes the picture now or not, we are not sure. We will meet Donal and talk to him and we will be leaving our options open going forward after that.”
Two time All-Ireland winner, Ger ‘Sparrow’ O’Loughlin admitted the news of O’Connor’s exit came as a shock. “I was a little surprised that there was only one departing, I thought that seeing as they came in together that they would go out together”.
Sparrow who also managed the county seniors between 2009 and 2011 felt changes were required if Donal was to return. “It’s a delicate enough one. When you’re around a team or a panel for three years, he had been there previously with the U21s and before that with the same group of players you’ve to question will the players respond to him for another year, he’s obviously decided that he wants to stay.
“I’d have the utmost respect for him because he’s a guy that has given a tremendous amount of time to the setup and by all accounts has been very thorough in everything he does with the team and has only the best interests of Clare hurling and the players. I don’t see it as an issue but if he wanted to freshen up things going forward, that’s the only question mark I have. I’m sure he has different ideas if he goes in again as to who he would bring, that’s the important part”.