Friday 23 June 2017

Off The Ball: Kelly standard-bearer for Clare's golden crop

Clare hurlers, back row (l-r) Patrick Donnellan, Brendan Bugler, Conor Ryan and David McInerney. Front row: Pádraic Collins, Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year Tony Kelly and Conor McGrath at last week’s All Stars
Clare hurlers, back row (l-r) Patrick Donnellan, Brendan Bugler, Conor Ryan and David McInerney. Front row: Pádraic Collins, Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year Tony Kelly and Conor McGrath at last week’s All Stars

Michael McCarthy

Tony Kelly's triple award night at the All Stars really summed up Clare's amazing 2013. It wasn't just a year that reaped an unexpected All-Ireland but one in which Clare hurling was redefined.

The great Clare team of the 1990s set a pattern for hurling in the county for a generation. It was an era built around once-in-a-lifetime backs like Brian Lohan and Seanie McMahon. Of the forwards, only Jamesie O'Connor was truly in that class above.

Now Clare have all the class players. Kelly's performance against Limerick made us Clare fans jump out of our seats. The buzz in the ground whenever he gets the ball is palpable. He's the country's most exciting player and we can't believe he's ours.

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