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John Duggan: Brian Lohan has t...

Hurling

John Duggan: Brian Lohan has the leadership qualities to revive Clare


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The managerial saga in Clare has drawn to a close, with Brian Lohan appointed as the new boss of the senior hurlers for an initial two-year term.

Lohan was ratified by the county board in the Banner last night and will have the option of a third year.

Hurler of the year when Clare made the All-Ireland breakthrough in 1995, Lohan was a brilliant full-back, picking up a second Celtic Cross in 1997. He was a four-time All-Star as a player as Clare captured the nation's hearts in hurling's revolution years.

Following a protracted appointment process that drew criticism from the players and a backlash from the county board over social media abuse, Lohan was the only name that went forward after Louis Mulqueen withdrew at the eleventh hour. The Wolfe Tones club man has named Ken Ralph and Limerick's James Moran as his selectors.

Clare's hurlers have arguably under-delivered since Davy Fitzgerald guided a young Saffron and Blue brigade to the Liam McCarthy Cup in 2013. The nucleus of players that won three All-Ireland Under 21 titles in a row has yet to return to a final. Gerry O'Connor decided to walk away and Donal Moloney didn't put his name forward again.

Lohan brought UL to Fitzgibbon Cup glory in 2015 and has coached in the county with Cratloe.

As a player, he was a brilliant leader, the last line of a Clare defence that was the platform for their victories. As a supporter in those magical days, every time Lohan, vivid on the canvas in his red helmet, cleared the ball down the field, it lifted everyone. It was as if Clare scored a point every time he did that.

One thing Lohan will immediately earn is the respect of the players. If Clare are to return to the top table and ruffle the Tipperary and Limerick feathers, Lohan's leadership and coaching qualities will be pivotal. There may not be that many takers with Clare on their uppers right now, but it seems like a shrewd appointment.

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