MAYBE the goodship Clare County Board just don’t do history and are so consumed with living in the here and now that they forget to acknowledge past glories and achievements that are up there in the pantheon of the county’s still to be written GAA story.
For sure, the here and now is hugely important and the most important thing for any organisation trying to chart its course: the here and now for Clare GAA of things like Caherlohan, even if it’s now a dozen years in the making, as those charting the course try to have a state-of-the-art facility at the much derided Tulla complex that despite an investment of €3m and counting can’t be used for that it was established — prepare Clare teams.
The here and now of making sure that there’s a conveyor belt of talent on the go all the time to eventually filter through to the ranks of the Clare senior hurlers and footballers.
The here and now of doing everything possible from the Clare County Board end to give Gerry O’Connor, Dónal Moloney, Colm Collins and all the management teams the best possible chance of being successful on the field of play.
That’s a lot to be doing here and now, and it doesn’t end there.
Indeed, all of the above and more are part the process that was best explained by Ger Loughnane nearly 20 years ago now when he and others gave their input in the the ‘Clare Hurling Future’ concept that was dreamt up as a blueprint to try and make sure that the storied successes of the 1990s weren’t isolated incidents and freaks of hurling nature made possible by Ger Loughnane, Mike McNamara and Tony Considine off the field and the likes of captain Anthony Daly, Brian Lohan, Jamesie O’Connor et al on the field.
Loughnane’s advice was sage-like and just brilliant in its brevity, with his economy of words crystalizing what needed to be done in a far better way than any ‘White Paper’ on the needs of Clare could do.
“Get to the future,” said Loughnane.
To start with, there weren’t too many at the top table listening, but the Development Squad system eventually produced results, as did the fact that clubs like Cratloe and Clonlara, both of which hadn’t produced Clare players of real note since Jackie O’Gorman (Cratloe), Colm Honan and Tom Crowe (both Clare) were part of the ‘70s glory years, emerged and between them produced nine All-Ireland winners on the field of play in 2013 in Colm Galvin, Nicky O’Connell, Darach Honan, John Conlon and Domhnall O’Donovan (Clonlara) and Cathal McInerney, Padraic Collins, Conor Ryan and Conor McGrath (Cratloe).

Mick Murphy played with Clare and Tipperary; he won an All-Ireland with Tipperary in 1945, before declaring for his native county in ’47 and giving three years service to the saffron and blue.
It was a no-brainer that he should be honoured, especially given that the two counties he represented were about to go into action. After all, he was the oldest living All-Ireland man in the country when he died in his 100th year on New Year’s Day.
A minute’s silence would have meant a lot to the extended Murphy clan, be they in Kilmaley or well beyond.

That as much as any Development Squad helped Clare get to the future and the here and now of having teams that could compete at the very highest level of hurling.
But all the while, in servicing that need to keep the Clare GAA machine chugging along in the right direction, sight shouldn’t be lost of the past, because without it there would be no present and no future.
There have been some advances in recent years, but these have largely been on the back of the crusading efforts of people away from county board level who have taken it upon themselves to honour the county’s past.
Take the efforts of Naoise Jordan for instance.
Without him the team that won Clare’s famous first All-Ireland senior title wouldn’t have been honoured on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of their win over Laois in 1914.
They’re honoured in Cusack Park by a plaque that was Naoise’s labour of love, just as his next project in erecting a statue to Michael Cusack outside the ground was another labour of love.
Naoise isn’t alone — JT Larkin from Kilkee had a mission in 2017 to honour the only Clare football team to reach the All-Ireland final and succeeded in bringing relatives of the squad and backroom team together at a Clare Football Supporters Club function in Tommy Tubridy’s in Doonbeg in December for the launch of a framed print that chronicled the 1917 year of the county’s most successful football team ever.
It’s important that these things are done — a job that should be taken on by someone on the Clare County Board, be it the new PRO Michael O’Connor, or someone else with an appreciation for honouring those who have played their part in Clare’s GAA story.
It’s important because on Sunday when Clare and Tipperary met in the opening round of the National Hurling League, Clare’s lack of appreciation for the past really came home to roost.
Before a ball was pucked and before the Soldier’s Song got its official airing — there were a few trials runs in the warm up to make sure the right CD was in player — Kilmaley’s first All-Ireland hurling man should have been honoured with a minute’s silence.
Mick Murphy played with Clare and Tipperary; he won an All-Ireland with Tipperary in 1945, before declaring for his native county in ’47 and giving three years service to the saffron and blue.
It was a no-brainer that he should be honoured, especially given that the two counties he represented were about to go into action. After all, he was the oldest living All-Ireland man in the country when he died in his 100th year on New Year’s Day.
A minute’s silence would have meant a lot to the extended Murphy clan, be they in Kilmaley or well beyond.
Indeed, when mentioning my gripe to a friend in Cusack Park on Sunday I was told that the great Dan McInerney from Scariff is the last surviving member of the Clare team that won the 1946 National Hurling League title.
It’s time to honour Big Dan, who was the Brian Lohan of his day at full-back. He’s one of life’s and hurling’s gentlemen, after all.
Photo: Founding members of the Banner GAA Club Brid Dilleen, John Dingley, James Costelloe and Thomas Pilkington with current chairman Conall McNulty attending the Banner 40-year anniversary and medal presentation at Hotel Woodstock, Ennis, on Saturday night. Natasha Barton

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Joe Ó Muircheartaigh graduated from University College Dublin in 1989 with a degree in history and politics. After completing a Diploma in Journalism at The College of Commerce, Rathmines in 1991, he embarked on a career in journalism. Joe spent four years with Clare FM from 1992 and was with The Clare Champion from 1996 to 2005. He has won two McNamee Awards for GAA journalism and has published two books. Contact Joe on jomuircheartaigh@clarepeople.ie

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