Sunday 18 February 2018

Where are they now?


(Former Clare hurler)

In 1995, Stephen McNamara became the third generation of his family to win an All-Ireland medal. He is the grandson of famous Limerick dual star Jackie Power and nephew of Kerry football legend Ger Power.

The forward played for Clare during the Ger Loughnane era, winning two All-Irelands and three Munster titles, and counts himself lucky to have been around for his county's greatest moments.

"For anyone who ever played the game it was their dream to win an All-Ireland but to win one with a county who hadn't won one in 81 years was pretty special," says McNamara.

Although winning two All-Irelands with Clare were memorable occasions, McNamara had some standout days with his club éire óg. In 1994, they joined forces with neighbours Doora-Barefield and won the senior county football championship. "We beat Kilrush after a replay, we couldn't believe it. On the day we were major underdogs. There was no football in éire óg at that time, it was great crack, we made it up as we went along."

McNamara works with AIB in Ballsbridge. He was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis last year and had to take a break from training teams. Before last year he spent two years training Dublin side Faughs, and two with Ballinteer St Johns.

Many of his former teammates, like Anthony Daly, Davy Fitzgerald, Ger O'Loughlin and Ollie Baker have gone into senior inter-county management and McNamara isn't surprised.

"We had a lot of leaders in that dressing room, and the education that Ger Loughnane, Mike McNamara and Tony Considine gave was excellent. They were all managers in their own right."

McNamara also thinks the future of Clare hurling is looking bright. He reckons that in three years' time they will be back competing at the top level.

The All-Ireland medal winner has been living in Dublin for several years and would like to see his county back playing in Croke Park on a regular basis. They play Kilkenny today in the National League semi-final and, although McNamara isn't hopeful of a win, he thinks it will be a good test for the Banner.

"I hope they will be competitive. Kilkenny are the top team and what they did to Galway a few weeks ago was awesome. This Clare team is only building and it's their first real competitive game against the big guns in a long time so if nothing else it will show us where we are."

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