by Paddy Hickey
Clare football has received a massive boost with the news that Colm Collins has decided to remain at the helm of the Banner County for yet another campaign.
In the wake of last year’s first round championship defeat by Tipperary, a degree of doubt understandably existed about the willingness of Collins to once more put his shoulder to the wheel.
But after giving the matter a significant degree of consideration, the Cratloe clubman has informed the Clare Board of his desire to oversee the fortunes of his native county for a remarkable eighth year.
“I suppose they’ll eventually have to put me down,” he joked about the longevity of his occupancy of the hot seat in his native county.
“But anyway the County Board are aware that I’m willing to give it a go for another year, and they’ll be ratifying my position in the near future.
“However, due to the uncertainty about the Covid-19 pandemic, and the fact that we went out in the first round of last year’s championship, meant that my decision to stay on wasn’t a foregone conclusion by any means.
“Because of the Covid-19, we’re facing into a very difficult year once more, and while the first round of the league was due to be played on February 28 that certainly won’t be the case now.
“First of all, the numbers of people contracting the disease has to come under control before the league can be started, but it’s a major worry that the new strain is more contagious than the previous strains.
“As well, we can’t take chances with the health of our players, and it’s very important that all people obey the guidelines that have been put in place by the government,” added the Clare boss, who in 2016 steered his charges to the All-Ireland quarter-final against Kerry.
On his side’s 2-11 to 1-11 loss to the Premier County, on November 1, Collins remarked: “Of course, it was very disappointing to go out in the first round of the championship, and it was additionally disappointing that we failed to take advantage of a number of scoring chances that we created in the match.
“But, as everyone knows, Tipperary subsequently went on to do very well by beating Cork in the Munster final.
“And indeed it was great to see themselves and Cavan come in from the cold to feature so prominently in last year’s championship.
“However, when it came down to making a decision about my position for this year, I was strongly swayed by two factors.
“First of all, we have a brilliant bunch of players in the Clare squad, and I also have a great group of people involved in the management of the entire set-up.”
But for this year’s campaign, the Kilmihill native will have to plan without outstanding defender Gordon Kelly, who last month announced his retirement from inter-county action.
“Gordon was a fantastic player and he’ll badly missed by the team,” remarked Collins on the 37-year-old Miltown-Malbay man, who made his Banner County senior debut back in December 2005, and who remarkably never played minor or under-21 for his county.
“As well as his tremendous ability as a player, Gordon had a very positive influence on the other players, and he was a great man to have in the dressing-room.”
On whether Kelly’s fellow veterans, midfielder Gary Brennan and forward David Tubridy, will continue for another year, the Clare boss is as yet unsure.Tweet