By Joe Ó Muircheartaigh
CLARE’S footballers must answer their county’s call – that’s the message that has been sounded out loud and clear by newly appointed senior manager Mick O’Dwyer this week after he made his first public appearance since in the county when attending Sunday’s Munster Club epic between Kilmurry Ibrickane and Dr Crokes in Quilty.
The Waterville man has told The Clare People that he will “spreading the net far and wide throughout the county” to get the best players playing for Clare, a process that starts this weekend with the first in a series of trial games that will take place over the next number of weeks.
“It’s all about bringing a bit of fight and a bit of spirit into Clare and if can do that we’ll be going places,” said O’Dwyer. “It’s a sad state of affairs if players don’t want to play for their county. The highest honour you can get is to play for your county. There’s no doubt about it but we’ll do everything to convince these players that this is the place to be for the coming year,” added the Kerry legend.
And, support for the revolution that O’Dwyer hopes to bring about in the fortunes of Clare football has received the ringing endorsement of the kingpins of Clare football Kilmurry Ibrickane, with manager John Kennedy and captain Martin McMahon rowing in with their support for the new regime that was ratified at a special meeting of the Clare County Board on Friday night.
“I wish Micko the best of luck,” said John Kennedy. “Micko is the greatest, without any doubt he is the greatest manager of all time in Gaelic football and he needs to prove nothing to anybody. I have no doubt that he will bring Clare football on and I hope he does.
“I’m always saying that the level of football in the county is not bad. There is a lot of negativity. It’s about time we got positive. We saw what a Clare football team could do out there today and let’s move on from here,” added Kennedy.
“There are great players everywhere in Clare,” said Kilmurry captain Martin McMahon, who has been part of the Clare set-up for the past five years. “It’s just a matter of getting them in and getting them ready to go. It’s going to be hard but the rumblings are good and if you can get 30 dedicated lads who are going to go all the way and give it for each other, I’m sure Clare will be rising up the ranks. I’ve no doubt about that,” he added.
“It will happen because Micko is a great motivator,” continued Kennedy. “He’s infectious with his enthusiasm, he’s been there and done that and people respect that and look up to him. He is the greatest and I hope the players respond to him and the best players will come out and play for him,” added Kennedy who won three All-Irelands under O’Dwyer and served as Clare manager from 2003 to 2005.
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