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VOTE: Clare’s Greatest Senior Football Back Line 1990-2020

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Voting for Clare’s greatest senior football team (1990 – 2020) continues with attention now turning to defence.

With three players shortlisted for each position, readers have the option to select AN OTHAIR for every spot and include details of who they think should get the nod. A player nominated in one position can also be voted for in another area of the field by using the other tab.

If you haven’t voted already, you can still vote for who you choose as goalkeeper. Nominees for midfield will be released on Saturday. All voting will close on COB Tuesday.

GOALKEEPER VOTE

Corner back (2):

Corner back on the Munster championship winning side of 1992, Seamus Clancy was rewarded for his displays with an All-Star that year. He made his senior debut in 1983 and captained the side in the mid nineties. The Corofin defender played alongside his brother Colm for both club and county at senior level.

Padraig Gallagher emerged onto the side having helped Doonbeg win two Clare SFC titles in 1995 and 1996. Although his early time as a senior footballer coincided with the Banner remaining in the top tier, as his county career progressed, they fell down through the Divisions.

A member of the county panel for nine years, Lawrence Healy is the final nominee for the number two jersey. The Ennistymon defender lined out in the 2012 Munster Final defeat to Cork and his final year on the county panel was in 2014.

Full-back (3):

Kilkee’s Ger Kelly is the first nominee vying to be named as full-back. He wore number three on the 92 side but struggled with injuries in the subsequent year as John Maughan’s side were unable to retain their provincial title. He is classed as one the sporting greats from the UCD School of Veterinary.

Corner-back on the side which lost the 2000 Munster final to Kerry, it was at full-back that Conor Whelan gave his best displays in the county jersey. He had the distinction of captaining the side in the 2008 championship in the absence of the injured Michael O’Shea. The Doonbeg man last played inter-county football a year later.

Arguably Meelick’s greatest footballer, readers will decide if Kevin Harnett makes the cut on this team. The Florida born defender made his first start for the county senior footballers at the age of 21, he lined out in the 2012 Munster final before heading to the United States and returning to the Clare panel in 2014 where he has remained a constant presence.

Corner-back (4):

First up in the race to become number four is Kieran O’Mahony. He is the last man to manage Doonbeg to Clare SFC glory following their 2010 success over Liscannor. Nine years prior to that he was centre-back on their last team to claim Jack Daly but he was also the club chairman. At county level, his greatest highlight is winning a Munster championship in 1992.

A county debutant in 1994, Alan Malone made his rise to the county ranks having impressed at club level. He got his ultimate reward for Éire Óg when captaining them to Clare SFC glory in 2006 beating Lissycasey in the decider.

Kilmurry Ibrickane’s Martin McMahon spent nine years as a Clare senior footballer. The St Munchins secondary school teacher played bulk of his career playing in Division Four under Frank Doherty, Micheal McDermott, Mick O’Dwyer and Colm Collins but his latter years resulted in promotion to Division 2.

Wing-back (5):

It was Noel Roche’s fifteenth year on the Clare panel when they were crowned Munster champions in 1992, he scored a point from wing forward on that day. The Kilkee man won an All-Ireland B football championship in 1991 when they overcame Longford. Roche is one of a minority from Clare to have represented their country in International Rules and also lined out eight times in the Railway Cup.

Another member of the Class of 92, Frankie Griffin also togged out for Munster in the Railway Cup, his first appearance in 1987 and his last in 1997. The Kilrush Shamrocks defender also tasted defeat on Munster Final day in 1997.

Barry Keating was another to taste provincial final defeat in 1997 and he was there again when Kerry proved too strong in 2000 featuring at wing back. The Éire Óg defender now lives in Lissycasey and is climbing the refereeing ranks.

Centre-back (6)

An unsung hero for many years, JJ Rouine got the ultimate reward by becoming a Munster champion in 1992. Joe Joe made his senior debut in 1987 at the age of 21 and won an All-Ireland B title in 1991. The Rineen native started in attack for the county but is best remembered for his outings at centre-back.

Full-back on the 2000 Munster finalists, Brian Considine was at his best for Clare in the half-back line. He was at centre-back when Clare won the Tommy Murphy Cup (All-Ireland B) in 2004. A five point qualifier defeat to Fermanagh two years later marked the final championship appearance of the Liscannor man.

Of Clare’s current crop, Gordon Kelly is the longest serving panellist. Now lining out at corner-back, Kelly began in the half-back line when bursting onto the scene in 2006. A decade later, the then thirty three year old took to the field in Croke Park for an All-Ireland quarter-final. He holds the unique feat of being the only Clare GAA player suspended for allegedly squirting water at an umpire.

Wing-back (7):

Dual-player, Kieran O’Neill won a Munster SFC title in 1992 and a year later an All-Ireland junior title with the Clare hurlers. Noted as one of the tough men of Clare GAA, he was subsequently given the nickname ‘Nail O’Neill’. He lined out with the Clare junior footballers in the late 1990s and has moved into coaching and management of hurling and football teams since retiring.

Last year, Ronan Slattery lined out for Ireland in the Compromise Rules international series but his senior inter-county career finished over a decade earlier. The Liscannor man was at wing-back when Clare lost the 2000 Munster final and was there four years later when John Kennedy’s side won the Tommy Murphy Cup.

Cian O’Dea made his championship debut as a substitute in Clare’s 2015 twelve point to Cork. Appearances as the years progressed have been in a starting capacity for the Kilfenora utility man. He lined out in the 2016 All-Ireland quarter-final defeat and the qualifier run of that year while he also to the fore last year as Clare narrowly missed out on a place in the Super 8s.

Páraic McMahon is Head of News & Sport with The Clare Echo. The Newmarket-on-Fergus native also writes for national papers including The Irish Examiner, The Irish Independent and The Irish Times along with doing work for RTÉ, Today FM, TheJournal.ie and 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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