The Limerick man, the Donegal man, and the Clare final

At this stage of his career, John Galvin could be forgiven for taking it easy. Instead, the 36-year-old legendary Limerick midfielder, who played inter-county football for 15 years, is preparing for his second Clare county final. 

The Limerick man, the Donegal man, and the Clare final

Cratloe face Kilmurry Ibrickane in tomorrow’s showpiece, with the clubs having won six of the last eight titles. However, they have never met in a decider.

Galvin will be joined on the Cratloe starting 15 by 26-year-old Donegal man Anton McFadden, who was part of the 2011 U21 Ulster championship winning squad and a senior panellist from 2012 to 2014. For a man who never played a minute of senior football with his native Croom, Galvin is enjoying his time in Cratloe even if the legs don’t move quite as freely as they did at his peak.

“I wouldn’t get out of breath but the legs just stop going. Especially when you are trying to chase after young fellas and you’re pumping as hard as you can but he’s still getting away from you. Over the last couple of years, I’ve laid back on attacking and concentrated more on defensive duties. I wouldn’t be able for the workrate of a couple of years ago,” the Cratloe midfielder conceded.

Still farming in Croom, Galvin has lived in Cratloe with his wife Leanne, since 2010.

“There’s something about Cratloe people, they hate to leave the place and she wants to stay close to mammy as well! When I moved here first the house was opposite the entrance to the field. I was watching these lads for a couple of years, going up and down,” Galvin explained.

He joined the club in 2014 and within months won a senior championship medal. However he badly wants a second one.

“I’m not playing for fun, I’m playing to win.”

Meanwhile, Donegal man Antoin McFadden’s native club, St Michael’s, is located in the Creeslough/Dunfanaghy area of North West Donegal. His arrival in Cratloe was more by accident than design.

“I came down here to do a sports performance masters in UL. I was in the Limerick area first of all and then I got to know Paul Gallagher, who is a Donegal man living in Cratloe. I stayed with him and that’s what got me into the Cratloe parish.

“I then got chatting to Colm Collins and one thing led to another,” McFadden explained.

The centre-back only started playing with Cratloe last June. Prior to that he coached and managed Newcastle West in Limerick for two seasons.

“In April 2015, I started coaching Newcastle West. They went on to win the county title and this year I was joint-manager.

“We won the West championship and we won the league but we got beaten by Drom-Broadford in the championship. I also got offered an opportunity with Limerick under John Bruadair. I was head of strength and conditioning and it was a great opportunity. Overall, the past year and a half has been an unbelievable experience. But it was brilliant to get back playing. I have to give credit to Colm Collins. I got a very good feeling when I spoke to him and I have no regrets.”

Adjusting to the schedule of a dual club has opened his eyes.

“It’s something that I’ve never experienced before, especially coming from a Donegal background. It’s enlightening to see down here the way that the hurling and the football work so well and at the same time, they can be so successful in both,” he observed.

He didn’t dismiss the possibility of playing for Clare if he is offered the opportunity but feels that he has to play more football first.

“I’ll take it one step at a time. I’m not long back playing Gaelic football properly. I wouldn’t even call it a full season. I only came in half way through this. I couldn’t really play until that stage because I was so busy with work.”

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