Friday 9 December 2016

All-Ireland hero Domhnall O'Donovan steps down from Clare panel

Published 25/02/2016 | 02:30

Clare manager Davy Fitzgerald celebrates with Domhnall O'Donovan after his sides victory.
Clare manager Davy Fitzgerald celebrates with Domhnall O'Donovan after his sides victory.
Domhnall O'Donovan scoring the equalising point in the 2013 All Ireland SHC final
Clare’s Domhnall O'Donovan, left, is congratulated by team-mate Brendan Bugler after scoring the final point to bring the 2013 All-Ireland Final to a replay

Domhnall O'Donovan, scorer of arguably the most famous point in Clare's Championship history, has retired from inter-county hurling.

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The Irish Independent understands that the Clonlara man made the announcement via a group text to team-mates last night, citing work commitments as his reason for stepping down. A Dublin-based business analyst with global food giant, Kerry Group, O'Donovan (27) has struggled to give the necessary commitment in recent seasons. The decision wasn't prefaced by any falling out with the Clare management team, who have always been cognisant of his work circumstances.

O'Donovan, a corner-back, is best remembered for the equalising point in stoppage time of the first All-Ireland final against Cork in 2013, securing a replay in which Clare then would secure only their fourth senior All-Ireland title.

A high achiever, he scored 530 points in his Leaving Cert and studied Civil Engineering at NUI Galway before completing a Master's in Applied Science.

Domhnall O'Donovan scoring the equalising point in the 2013 All Ireland SHC final
Domhnall O'Donovan scoring the equalising point in the 2013 All Ireland SHC final

Remarkably, his twin brother, Cormac, scored the winning point in the 2009 All-Ireland U-21 final.

Domhnall has struggled to hold down a starting place on the Clare team in recent seasons, seeing competition for places in Davy Fitzgerald's squad relentlessly stiffen with a conveyor belt of talented under-age players coming on stream.

Clare have won all six of their competitive games thus far this season, including National League wins against Offaly and Wexford.

Their All-Ireland hopes looked to have been dashed in 2013 when an injury-time Pat Horgan point eased Cork in front with what many thought might be the last puck of the game. But Clare scrambled a remarkable escape, O'Donovan the hero.

Clare’s Domhnall O'Donovan, left, is congratulated by team-mate Brendan Bugler after scoring the final point to bring the 2013 All-Ireland Final to a replay
Clare’s Domhnall O'Donovan, left, is congratulated by team-mate Brendan Bugler after scoring the final point to bring the 2013 All-Ireland Final to a replay

He recalled of his famous point: "When Pat Kelly had the ball for the puck-out, I said, 'I'm not looking for the ball, but I'll make myself available because my job as a defender is over. I mean, if Cork score again, it doesn't make a difference'.

"It was a bit of hit and hope. I hit it falling over!"

His place in the limelight was usurped three weeks later by a teenage Shane O'Donnell, the Ennis kid scoring 3-3 in Clare's spectacular 5-16 to 3-16 defeat of Cork.

Irish Independent

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