Sports Digest GAA: Clare manager Mick O'Dwyer is back in the game
All-Ireland winning former Kerry manager is keen to develop Clare football
Mick O’Dwyer is back in management and ready to turn the Clare footballers into a force to be reckoned with – at 76 years of age.
The Kerry hero was appointed as Clare’s new boss last Friday night and has already got down to business with the beaten Munster finalists.
Having brought success to Wicklow, Laois and Kildare in the recent past, the All-Ireland winning former Kerry manager is keen to develop Clare football.
After agreeing a two-year term in office, O’Dwyer said, “Clare have been knocking on the door for a few years now, but, like Wicklow, my primary goal is to lift the profile of football in the county from underage up.
“Hurling has always been the number one game in Clare, but there’s a big football catchment area and I’ll be in the heart of it.”
Clare legend Francis McInerney, who captained the county in their historic 1992 Munster SFC final win over Kerry, believes O’Dwyer can lift the fortunes of the Banner and doesn’t see his age as a problem.
McInerney told the Irish Sun, “If the players don’t come out for Mick O’Dwyer, then who will they come out for?
“Nobody knows football in Ireland like O’Dwyer and he seems to be coming into the job full of enthusiasm.
“It was a bit of a surprise when his name was mentioned first of all. But he does seem enthusiastic and his age shouldn’t be an issue, all teams have strength and conditioning trainers and so on now, so I don’t see that as a problem.
“If Micko can use his experience to get into the minds of the Clare footballers and get all the players involved who might not have been playing, that can only be a good thing.”
O’Dwyer has already targeted promotion from Division Four of the National League as his priority, and McInerney says that is essential.
He said, “If Clare want to make progress then they have to get out of Division 4, they have to get up to Division 3, maybe Division 2. It is important to be playing a higher level of league football.
“Micko knows a lot about Division 4. Getting promotion has to be the priority.
“People see the Clare club teams doing well in the Munster club championship, the players are there, they train as hard as anyone else and maybe Micko can just bring that something extra.
“You look at what is needed and if it takes something different, so be it.”
Clare county board chairman Michael O’Neill believes O’Dwyer can make a major contribution to football in the county.
O’Neill said, “I’m confident that the appointment will be good, not just for the county’s senior team but for football in the entire county.”
Sean Og Calls it Quits
TRIBUTES have poured in after Cork hurling legend Sean Og O hAilpin announced his retirement from the county game for the second – and final – time.
The former All-Ireland winning captain confirmed his decision over the weekend after 16 years in the red jersey over two spells as an inter-county star.
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