*Ronan Lanigan brings the ball out of the Clare defence. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

WITHIN THE space of twelve months, Ronan Lanigan has gone from a starting debutant for the Clare senior footballers to one of their main leaders.

When Clare began their 2023 league campaign with a late win over Louth in the first round, Ronan Lanigan made his starting debut for the county at corner back along with David Sexton in goals.

Although Clare suffered relegation, Lanigan that both he and fellow Éire Óg man Manus Doherty were formidable options in the corner.

Following the conclusion of last year’s campaign, the departure of manager Colm Collins and twelve of last year’s panel, it meant Mark Fitzgerald’s first year in charge was certainly going to be fresh.

Such a high turnover has resulted in new leaders coming to the fore in the saffron and blue, Lanigan a physiotherapist with Excel Physio was chief among them. With captain Cillian Brennan ruled out through injury, he also assumed the full-back role.

Reflecting on the league campaign, Ronan said, “I take huge positives out of, I think we’re a new team, lads have really stepped up, you see Brian McNamara is a huge player for us in his first year on the team and everyone else. We’re young, we’re learning the whole time and I think we’re only going to go up from here”.

He maintained there were more positives than negatives to their league run. “We’re looking forward to building on it and going again”.

Though there are optimistic notes to take, Clare did fall short in their bid for promotion after suffering defeats to Westmeath in the second round and a heavy 3-15 1-10 loss to Down on Sunday. “We knew Down were going to be a very good side, they should have been out of Division 3 for the last two years nearly so we knew they were going to be a step up alright but we prepared for them but we need to up our game again for the championship,” the Ennis man stated.

Clare struggled to implement their game-plan as they had set out to do, the two-time Clare SFC winner flagged. “Executing our game plan that didn’t fall for us today but we’re going to go reset, correct it again and move forward for the next game. We’re happy with how we did in the league, people were saying we were going to go down and we love hearing that, we’re going to use that as fuel to keep going in championship”.

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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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