Clare senior hurling manager resigns

Ger 'Sparrow' O'Loughlin has resigned as Clare senior hurling manager, following a two-year spell in charge.

Ger 'Sparrow' O'Loughlin has resigned as Clare senior hurling manager, following a two-year spell in charge.

Local radio station Clare FM reported that O'Loughlin told Clare GAA officials of his decision at a meeting last night.

He is the third high-profile hurling boss to step down in the last nine days, following in the footsteps of Offaly's Joe Dooley and Colm Bonnar of Wexford.

O'Loughlin's final game at Clare's helm was last Saturday's disappointing 17-point qualifier defeat to Galway, which ended their interest in the All-Ireland Championship.

Reflecting after that game, the 43-year-old said: "I'll have a very serious think about it (my position) now. It's like everything else, you give your heart and soul for the two years.

"When I went in, I knew after a couple of weeks we were starting off from a low base with regard to experienced players.

"I think we've made progress. Though the results are poor, we actually have a nucleus built now to go forward.

"We need an injection again now of five or six 18, 19, 20-year-olds in the next year or two. Clare will win something in the next maybe three years."

The Banner men conceded 12 goals in their last three competitive matches, including last month's Munster semi-final loss to Tipperary.

They failed to gain promotion from Allianz Hurling League Division 2, falling to Limerick in April's final, and lost all four of their Championship fixture during O'Loughlin's tenure.

A two-time All-Ireland winner with Clare as a player, 'Sparrow' took on the role in late 2009 after Mike McNamara tendered his resignation.

Before that, he had county title success with his own Clarecastle and Limerick club Adare.

Secretary Pat Fitzgerald released a statement on behalf of the Clare County Board. It said: "We very much regret to announce that Ger O'Loughlin has decided to step down as senior hurling team manager.

"His decision to discontinue as team manager is based on the fact that a new voice and approach is in the best interest of Clare hurling going forward."

The statement conveyed the board's 'deep appreciation' to O'Loughlin for his work, commitment and dedication to the job over the past two seasons and sincerely thanked him and his family for the time and effort he gave during his tenure.

Former Clare players Davy Fitzgerald and Anthony Daly, who are current managers of Waterford and Dublin respectively, have already been linked with the vacant position in their native county.

Outgoing senior selector Danny Chaplin from Sixmilebridge and Clare's Under-21 management team, headed by John Minogue and Cyril Lyons, could also enter the race to replace O'Loughlin.

The Clare County Board are due to hold their July meeting next week, at which they will likely discuss a plan of action for finding the Banner's next hurling supremo.

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