Dublin-based Niall Deasy credits being able to line out for capital club Parnells as one of the reasons behind his fine season thus far with Ballyea.
Deasy, who was called into the Clare panel before Christmas, made full use of the rulebook to play for both outfits last season providing he did not play in the championship with Parnells.
“I didn’t find it strange at all because I was always used to playing county and club, it’s the same as playing with two teams. After the first round of the championship, we’d three months with no games coming up and I don’t think there was any league games in Clare.
"So I decided to join Parnells to be able to play league games up in Dublin and I was training with them all year.
“I think it’s a great thing to be able to do in the GAA, to play non-championship games in another county if you’re working there. Clare is a three-and-a-half hour drive home, three-and-a-half hours back up, to be able to train or play league games.”
The 22-year-old lined out for Parnells in a league play-off final a week after helping Ballyea to a famous Munster final win. His native club never pulled rank.
“Yeah, Ballyea have been great for me, they don’t put any pressure on me to do anything really, they just allow me to do my own thing. If you want to go training do, if you don’t don’t bother, there’s no case of ‘you’re here for training twice a week or else you don’t play’.
"They’ve kind of moved on past that stage where some new management will force you to turn up for training or you don’t play. The Ballyea management seem to be understanding.
“The two years previous I think I tore hamstrings, I tore my left and my right probably three or four times each so this is my first full year so it helped me in a big way.
“I could kind of do my own thing without anyone putting pressure on me, I could choose my own training schedule, I wasn’t forced to turn up for trainings at home, I’d do whatever I needed to do to get myself training properly.
“And there was always a choice of fixtures — there was Ballyea games, there was Parnells games to play so it wasn’t just a case of training 10 times to play one game, I was just playing games and it really did work out well for me.”
Ahead of Saturday’s All-Ireland club semi-final against St Thomas, Deasy knows a bit about them having come across a few players during his time in NUIG. Needless to say, the Galway champions will have studied Tony Kelly but that might not be enough to stop him, suggests Deasy.
“I don’t think you can train what he has, to be quite honest. I think it’s more natural ability, the sort of balance and the skill levels he has, the way he’s able to read the game. I don’t think it’s possible to train that into someone, you either have it at a young age, develop it or else you don’t... he was always fairly gifted.
“There’s only so much you can mark him. I remember Colin Ryan did an interview and they were asking about Tony and he just said ‘sometimes you’re wasting a player marking him, you might as well just put him back as a sweeper and let him off by himself because he’s that quick and that fast and well able to read a game that whoever is marking him won’t be able to get close to him’. Hopefully, he stays that way.”