One more line of the field requires your say to determine who will line on Clare’s greatest senior hurling team of the past three decades.
Plenty of debates have already taken place as attempts were made to figure out who gets to line out from one to twelve (voting for which is still open, if you’ve forgot to vote).
Focus is now on the full-forward line with the task to choose who will be the target men and the main scorers in chief or should we opt for individuals that will suit the first line of defence. The decision is all yours.
Voting closes tomorrow (Tuesday) for all slots with the fifteen to be announced on The Clare Echo’s website on Wednesday.
Cyril Lyons was the oldest member of the Clare senior hurling panel when an eighty one year drought was ended in 1995. Lyons made his senior championship bow in 1983 and remained on the panel until Ciarán Carey dethroned the Banner in 1996. With a tally of 7-75 during his 24 senior appearances, Cyril also managed to spend three years as Ruan secretary while playing senior inter-county hurling.
Goal-scorer in the 1997 Munster Final, David Forde bolted on the Clare senior hurling panel with his burst of pace that was a nightmare for defenders. The Ogonnelloe attacker finished his club hurling career with Crusheen but finished his county career during Anthony Daly’s reign as manager.
Shane O’Donnell repeated the 1914 exploits of Jim Guerin by becoming a hat-trick hero in an All-Ireland final, ninety nine years separating their achievements. That was O’Donnell’s first year on the panel and he has been an ever-present member since. The Éire Óg clubman is unique as the only Clare hurler to have studied at Harvard.
Scorer of 2-03 against Cork in the 1986 Munster Final, Tommy Guilfoyle also captained his county for a brief spell. Two years previous to his provincial decider exploits, Tommy made his championship debut at the age of eighteen and made his final senior appearance in 1994. Guilfoyle continued playing hurling with his beloved Feakle until he was aged 49.
Off the back of Sixmilebridge winning the 1996 All-Ireland club title, Niall Gilligan was added to the county senior side and became an All-Ireland medallist in 1997. He won his second and only provincial medal a year later while collecting an All-Star in 1999. Gilly left the senior panel in January 2010 but won an All-Ireland intermediate medal a year later. He played for The Bridge in the Clare SHC for twenty five years winning seven titles.
Current county captain, John Conlon made his Munster championship debut in 2009 during Mike McNamara’s final season in charge. He has made a total of forty two appearances amassing a tally of 6-81 during his decade long stint playing inter-county championship. The Clonlara attacker won an All-Star off the back of Clare’s 2018 season in which they reached the All-Ireland semi-final, he is the winner of national honours at senior and U21 level.
He had no glory at county level but Gerry McInerney left his mark. A member of sides that lost provincial and National League Finals, the Sixmilebridge attacker last lined out for the county seniors in 1990 and lit up the Munster championship the decade before when he also won two Railway Cup medals. McInerney is the Deputy Editor of The Clare Champion.
A county senior hurler for twelve years, Ger ‘Sparrow’ O’Loughlin’s highlights include winning two All-Ireland titles and three provincial medals. The Clarecastle corner-forward had tasted defeat with Clare including two Munster Finals and two National Leagues before success was captured under Ger Loughnane’s watch. Sparrow retired in 1999 and went on to have a successful club management career over Adare and Kilmallock as well as taking charge of his county plus Toomevara and Newtownshandrum.
Conor McGrath’s class was evident from an early age when he won the National Skills Féile title at fourteen. As a minor, he was recruited onto the county U21 panel that won Clare’s first All-Ireland at the grade. Two years later, he became a Clare senior in 2011. His talent was recognised on a national stage when the All-Ireland title was won in 2013 with him being rewarded with an All-Star, he had a nomination for such an honour the following year. Game-time became scarce for the Cratloe attacker during Donal Moloney and Gerry O’Connor’s stint in charge of the seniors, he has not been part of the panel since 2018.