Sunday 20 October 2019

'I won't be putting pressure on Podge'

Clare manager Colm Collins (left) insists he will let his son Podge decide whether he wants to concentrate on football or hurling next season. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Clare manager Colm Collins (left) insists he will let his son Podge decide whether he wants to concentrate on football or hurling next season. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Michael Verney

Michael Verney

Clare boss Colm Collins respects the decision of his son Podge to focus on just one code during 2017 and will place no pressure on his shoulders to side with the footballers.

Collins Jnr (24) stopped short of declaring whether he will concentrate on football or hurling next season after outlining the fixture chaos which forced the dual star to play two Championship games on the same weekend.

The 2013 hurling All-Star believes the current structure is "unfair" and "unsustainable" for dual players, a view also held by his father, who had no complaints with his commitment throughout the year but feels managing the two is "very hard to do".

The Banner exited the Munster championship at the semi-final stage in both codes, which sent them down the Qualifier route, a path which Collins Snr feels makes it impossible to juggle dual commitments.

"With the Qualifier system and with games each week you had two occasions this year where Podge had games one day after another. That's very hard to do so it's understandable that he would feel like that," he said.

"Going down the Qualifier route where games are on top of each other it's impossible. . . it's very hard to ask anyone to play two days in a row at the top level so it's is a tough one.

"I'd only speak from my own side of things but we'd have no problem with what he gave us on the football side of things. It's just very hard. In the good old days in the golden era of the dual player you'd have a week to recover between games.

"Being asked to play one day after another is hard and you tend to get judged in a different light from other players because you've played another code the day before."

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With Cratloe in the last four of the Clare SHC and SFC, and chasing another remarkable double like they achieved two years ago, no decision is expected to be made until Collins Jnr's club involvement is over for the year.

And while he'd love to have his all-action son on board, Collins Snr will not attempt to sway his decision and doesn't feel it would work in any case.

"I don't think he's making any decision until we're finished with the club. He knows in his own mind what he wants, just to give him time to make up his mind and we respect whatever decision he makes," he said.

"In Clare we'd love to have everybody that we could get but it's the player's own decision and we'll respect that, whatever it is. There'll be no talk around the kitchen table, doing what I tell him - he's gone a bit past that at this stage."

Collins Jnr played a pivotal part in Clare's All-Ireland hurling success three years ago and was back to his brilliant best this year despite only returning from a ten-month spell on the sidelines after suffering cruciate knee ligament injury, as they claimed league honours.

After mixing the two codes in 2014, the Cratloe flyer chose football in 2015 and Davy Fitzgerald, who looks odds-on to be continue his reign as Clare hurling boss in the coming weeks, will face an anxious wait on his decision.

Colm Collins' future is not rubberstamped just yet either but after guiding the Banner to Division 3 league success and an All-Ireland quarter-final for the first time in their history, it is expected he will be in charge for a fourth year.

"We'll see what the board say to me when we meet them this week, I don't want to pre-empt anything until we meet. I suppose there were a lot of things in the year that we would have been happy with," he said.

"I don't think we performed in the quarter-final, that's the only thing you'd be disappointed with but the lads made great progress and hopefully they can continue along that line and make more progress next year."

Irish Independent

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