Claffey announces retirement

July 09, 2003

Vinny Claffey gees up his team
Veteran Offaly forward Vinny Claffey has announced his retirement from the inter-county scene. The 38-year-old farmer from Doon was one of the longest serving players in inter-county football, having been a part of the Offaly senior set-up for the past 17 years. His announcement comes in the wake of the Faithful County's All-Ireland qualifier defeat to Roscommon. Claffey was introduced as a second half substitute but was unable to save Offaly from defeat after extra-time. Regarded as one of the best corner forwards Offaly has ever produced, Claffey had to wait until 1997 to gain national recognition when he played a starring role in the Faithful County's unexpected Leinster title success. He was a key figure in Offaly's capture of the National League title the following year. During Tommy Lyons' reign as Offaly manager, Claffey formed a lethal full forward line along with Peter Brady and Roy Malone. To the surprise of many, he failed to win an All-Star award during what was a glorious era for Offaly football. Injury had dogged Claffey in recent years, but he remained totally committed to the Offaly jersey and was never lacking in enthusiasm. The emergence of young Niall McNamee in this year's championship saw Claffey's role reduced to that of an impact substitute. Perhaps his biggest single contribution to this year's campaign was winning the '45' which Ciaran McManus subsequently converted to earn Offaly a draw with Laois in the Leinster quarter-final.

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