*Donal Moloney. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

CLARE’S current situation on the hurling landscape is “pleasing” according to Donal Moloney, one of the key men involved for creating such a scenario.

Moloney is a member of the Clare minor hurling management but was also one of the driving forces behind the setting up of the development squad system in Clare hurling, the fruits of this set up are evident this week with the county’s minor, under 20 and senior hurlers involved in major championship games.

Speaking at the end of a training session with the minor hurlers on Monday evening ahead of next Monday’s Munster final date with Tipperary, he agreed that the current situation “is pleasing” before crediting Kieran McDermott, Micheál Duffy and Peter Casey with bringing about the setting up of the development squad system which now exists in Clare.

“At the end of 2018 that trio changed the scripts and were quite unpopular for doing so, pulling out of the Forristal (inter county under 14 hurling) at the time. People probably didn’t understand where it was going to go because results at
under 14, under 15 and under 16 were important. Kieran, to be fair, had a belief that the current system wasn’t working and let’s do something different and massive work has gone into it”, Moloney reflected.

Donal jointly managed Clare with Gerry O’Connor to three Munster and All-Ireland under 20 titles before going on to take charge of the county senior side for three seasons.

Hard work behind the scenes is paying off in Clare. “The first year we compete is at minor and in the Celtic challenge and obviously the under 20’s are doing phenomenally and it’s good to see. It’s reward for the families who have invested hugely, you are talking about seventy kids each year at each level and the Mams and Dads have invested massive. The clubs have as well because you are taking a lot of players away from club training while the coaches have been rewarded as well. We have been blessed as you are talking about thirty coaches in the system between strength and conditioning and hurling. The work they do has been excellent and they get a huge lift from seeing a guy they had at fourteen and fifteen and who may have been down the ranks and not rated very highly, suddenly come through and blossom when he comes to seventeen or eighteen, that’s what this is all about”.

Looking to the future Donal says, “Kieran McDermott is always thinking ahead. What we have done is now five years old and how can we make it better. Not every player will go on to play senior for Clare. Being involved with Scariff when I see these eighteen and nineteen year olds pop up with various clubs, I have a huge interest to see how they progress. One of the things we are trying to foster along with providing Clare seniors is to see lads who really love the game and who are proficient and comfortable with it. Of the 70 or 75 players who go through the system if 40 or 50 of them made it to adult level that would be a tremendous outcome”.

Commenting on the development of players for the next level which is under 20, The Scariff man said “Terence (Fahy) has done a hell of a job and he also put out an under 19 squad as well. That was a huge workload for one management team. It’s all about keeping guys going, keeping them in the system, telling them they are important and long may it continue. We need the right people and we are very fortunate at the moment that we have great people at every level”.

Looking to Monday’s final against Tipperary Donal says “it will be a good game, Clare were quite fortunate to win on the night in Thurles, Tipp played some great hurling while we got goals at the right time. If you ask the lads which was their toughest game, they will say the Tipp game. This will be hugely competitive”, he concluded.

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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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