*Kevin Harnett. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill
TWO OF CLARE’S most experienced defenders have called time on their inter-county careers.
With inter county senior squads back in training for the 2023 season which will get underway in early January, there is much speculation as to who will be part of the various panels.
While the Clare senior football management team headed by Colm Collins, now the longest serving inter county manager in the game, has yet to finalise their squad for the new year, they will have to plan without four members of the outgoing panel.
Two of the players who have been key members of the squad throughout the past decade, Kevin Harnett and Sean Collins have both retired from inter county football.
Meelick native Harnett now a member of the Newmarket-on-Fergus club is now lining out with Cratloe’s footballers. He first represented the county’s senior side in 2012 before travelling to the United States in 2013 and returning in 2014 which marked Colm’s first year as manager.
Collins who made his Clare senior football debut in 2008 has also represented his county at senior level in hurling, he was part of the All-Ireland winning senior panel of 2013 and lined out for the U21 side which claimed the county’s first All-Ireland at the grade in 2009.
Both Collins and Harnett missed the entirety of Clare’s National Football League campaign through injury.
Tristan O’Callaghan of St Breckan’s who assumed the goalkeeper’s jersey this year following injury to Stephen Ryan in advance of the Munster SFC will not be part of the 2023 panel as he has emigrated.
Kerry native, Conor Jordan who lines out for Austin Stack’s in Tralee has also confirmed he won’t be involved next year. His father George represented St Senan’s Kilkee in championship winning campaigns and also wore the saffron and blue. Conor first joined the Clare panel in 2021.
While O’Callaghan has already moved to Australia, Jordan is also heading down under.
Coolmeen’s Cathal O’Connor is presently concentrating on his involvement with senior hurling champions Ballyea. He is expected to rejoin the squad early in the New Year.
Another of the squad’s longest serving members and one of the key players in the team’s progress during Collins’ reign as manager, David Tubridy from Doonbeg is currently taking a break. He is expected to make a final decision on whether or not he will continue for another term, early in 2023.
The backroom team is presently monitoring the progress of a number of players and a decision on who will be called up to the squad will be finalised in the coming weeks.
The Clare Echo understands that Liscannor’s Darren Nagle who returned from Australia this year ahead of his club winning the Junior A championship, Shane Griffin of Lissycasey and Cathal Downes from O’Currys caught the eye of management during the respective club campaigns and are set to be added to the panel for 2023.
For his tenth season at the helm, Kilmihil native Collins has made several changes to his management team. Brian Carson who served as coach from 2018 to 2020 returns as head coach with Sligo’s Gerry McGowan stepping away after two years. Down native, Mark Doran is involved as assistant coach.
Lissycasey’s Joe Hayes who called time on his Clare career in 2017 is the side’s new goalkeeper coach, he held the same role for the Tipperary footballers crowned Munster champions in 2020. Two-time All-Ireland winner Declan O’Keeffe had been in the post prior to his fellow Garda.
Rob Mulcahy, the highly rated strength and conditioning coach will not be involved with the senior footballers next season. Filling the void is the capable Micheál Cahill who returns to the fold, the ex Limerick U21 footballer was formerly S&C coach to the Banner’s senior side under Mick O’Dwyer and Micheál McDermott.
Declan Downes and Enda Coughlan are on board to continue as Collins’ selectors.
Clare will again compete in the McGrath Cup and this competition is expected to get underway in the first week of 2023 and will be concluded before the Allianz league gets underway during the last weekend of January.