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Collins to take time before deciding on Clare future

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*Colm Collins. Photograph: Martin Connolly

Clare senior football manager Colm Collins is to take time out before deciding if he will seek to remain in charge for a seventh year.

On Sunday, Collins watched as Clare came agonisingly close to qualifying for the Super 8s, coming up short against Andy McEntee’s Meath who became only the fifth team to lose a Leinster Final and win their next game in the same year and also the first this decade to lose the provincial final and still qualify for the quarter-finals.

In the twenty seven games he has been manager of the senior side for, Clare have won fourteen, lost twelve and drew one.

He confirmed on Sunday he will set time aside over the coming weeks to see if he will continue in the position for another campaign. “What we’re going to do now is keep our powder dry. I don’t think that making decisions on the back of a Championship defeat is the right thing to do. I’ll just see, we’ll give it a bit of time.”

Since succeeding Mick O’Dwyer, the Cratloe clubman has oversaw Clare’s promotion from Division 4 and later Division 3 of the Allianz National Football League. They have maintained their status in Division 2 since 2017, despite a relegation scare earlier this year.

This year was not the first in which they strung together multiple wins in the qualifiers, their 2016 run of wins brought them to Croke Park where Kerry proved too strong in the All-Ireland quarter-finals.

Although Collins has been ever-present, there have been several alterations to the make-up of his management. Ger Keane provided some continuity from O’Dwyer’s year in charge, staying on as a selector for two years, ex Cork footballer Paudie Kissane was coach in 2014 and succeeded by fellow Rebel, Ephie Fitzgerald.

Mick Bohan as coach was key to Clare’s progression in 2016 but only had a one year involvement with the senior squad, David O’Brien replaced Keane as selector that year and also spent two years in the post.

New additions were made to the 2017 selection team, Galway coach Alan Flynn came on board in Bohan’s absence with Evan Shanahan and Declan Downes joining as selectors, all remained in situ for 2018 but Flynn later departed having been snapped up by Kildare boss Cian O’Neill, Downes would also step down last year with Shanahan still a part of the setup.

A senior player from 2004 until 2016, Enda Coughlan joined the management following O’Brien’s departure and has now done two seasons.

UL lecturer Brian Carson became the fifth coach in Collins’ six years, Coughlan and Shanahan would complete the management alongside goalkeeper coach Declan O’Keeffe who took on the role in 2019, a role held by former Clare captain James Hanrahan.

Newmarket-on-Fergus native, Páraic McMahon is a freelance journalist and broadcaster currently working for numerous national and local publications including The Clare Echo, The Irish Examiner, The Irish Independent, The Irish Times, RTÉ, TheJournal.ie, The42.ie. A graduate of Mary Immaculate College, Páraic was previously employed by The Clare Herald and Clare FM. If you have a story, tip or some feedback for him then send an email to - paraic@clareecho.ie

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