EVAN TALTY has stepped down as manager of the Clare intermediate ladies football side.

Talty brought his two year term to a conclusion on Thursday last, he initially joined the management as a coach to James Murrihy in 2020.

For the past three seasons, Clare have exited the championship to the eventual winners losing to Meath in the semi-final (2020), Westmeath in the quarter-final (2021) and Laois in the last four (2022).

Business interests and time commitments were among the reasons for the Kilmurry Ibrickane’s man departure. “I made the decision this week but before I went back last year it was always on the cards, win, lose or draw due to time commitments and what’s involved. I never planned to be the manager of the Clare ladies until the gap opened in COVID and they were looking for continuity, I did it for the year and gave it another, it was never my intention to make it a long-term”.

Having kept a diary at stages during the year, Talty admitted that on average an inter-county manager is giving 40 to 50 hours per week to the role. “I would honestly say there’s never more than four to six hours per day that go by when there isn’t something to do for the job,” he stated while referencing the jobs of organising food and pitches on top of meetings with statisticians, coaches, physios and session planning.

“I think the hardest part of my decision to step away was knowing I won’t meet the players or management again, there was no thoughts of we could win an All-Ireland or win promotion from Division 3, there was no thoughts of that, it’s the bond you get on a journey with a group, you miss the camaraderie and the team ethic. We had a great year with the bond built in the group,” the founder of Wild Irish Seaweeds outlined.

When he took on the role, Evan shared his ambition to get the side to Croke Park and contest an All-Ireland final, an objective that Clare ultimately did not achieve. “There was a huge block to win a knockout game mentally for us, we were under performing in some games and you need a bit of luck on any given day. The Laois game was a hard luck story and statistically you could say we should have won by 10 points, you get over the line or you don’t. I would leave the Laois game with no regrets in that we performed, if you’re looking Clare versus Kilkenny in the hurling or the footballers versus Derry this year, you’re coming out saying if we performed we could have come closer, if you gave me the same performance against Laois I’d take it, we had 25 wides to 11”.

He told The Clare Echo, “Even if you get to an All-Ireland final the players get to experience the day and win, lose or draw they have the memories. A semi-final defeat is the worst place to be”.

Reflecting on his tenure, he felt a big success had been the improvement of structures within Clare LGFA. “In the GAA and in Kilmurry Ibrickane especially success is only measured in championships, only one team can win every year. Westmeath won last year and they went back straight down, I think over the last three to four years there is more of a desire from girls to play football for Clare. I’ve listened to Laurie Ryan say before she can remember going to games where there was only 15 to sixteen girls on the bus, we now have 33 girls on the panel”.

He credited the efforts of Chairman Seán Lenihan for lifting the structures which have seen the county side train at Caherlohan. “The structures are in the right place for growth, before we were blessed with the likes of Laurie Ryan and Niamh O’Dea, very good individuals but the structures were not behind them. I’m happy to leave it there with the structures we have, we are now set up at an inter-county standard which we weren’t five or six years ago”.

No issues were experienced during his term when it came to dual clashes, he said. “I do think it was a lot easier than I thought, it worked well, allied to the fact that we didn’t have a lot and they were older players who can tell you how their body is. Even at club level, the dual player is nearly becoming very hard to do, you see the wear and tear on their bodies, a lot of bigger teams in Dublin have none, very few clubs have players doing it”.

A nine-time Clare SFC winner with Kilmurry Ibrickane, his next focus is to expand his latest venture iGaaCoach which represents “a nice change from management. It was never my intention to be a manager, I like being on the field with the whistle and not organising the food and gear. It was a good experience”. Continuity would be worthwhile when it comes to appointing the next management, Talty believed.

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Subscribe for just €3 per month

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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