Cork defender Colm Spillane retires: I’d love to play on but it’s just not the same

Spillane is not the only change to the Cork hurling panel for 2022. Eoin Cadogan announced his inter-county retirement last week and further changes are expected to be announced later this week
Cork defender Colm Spillane retires: I’d love to play on but it’s just not the same

Pressed for highlights from his inter-county career, Colm Spillane said: “It’s hard to beat making your debut. When we played Tipperary in 2017 they were All-Ireland champions and we were coming off a couple of poor years, that’ll always stand out as special.” Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Cork defender Colm Spillane will not be part of the Rebel panel going forward, the 28-year-old confirming his departure from the inter-county scene on Monday.

Injuries curtailed Spillane’s involvement with Cork in 2021 and on Monday night he said: “I was out a good bit this year with Cork and while I’d love to play on, the injuries have really piled up and it’s just not the same, to be honest.” 

Spillane is not the only change to the Cork hurling panel for 2022. Eoin Cadogan announced his inter-county retirement last week and further changes are expected to be announced later this week.

Spillane said on Monday that he hopes to continue playing with his club, Castelyons, who narrowly lost the Cork Premier IHC final to Courcey Rovers recently.

“I’ll be trying to carry on with Castlelyons if I can.

“I’ll take four or five months off - I’ll look after myself and stay in shape but I won’t be doing running, I’ll find other ways to stay fit - and then I’ll see next April or May how I feel.

“But I definitely intend to try to carry on with Castlelyons, absolutely.” 

Cork's Colm Spillane in action against Pat Ryan of Limerick during the 2018 Munster SHC at Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Picture: INPHO/James Crombie
Cork's Colm Spillane in action against Pat Ryan of Limerick during the 2018 Munster SHC at Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Picture: INPHO/James Crombie

Pressed for highlights from his inter-county career, which included two Munster senior hurling titles in 2017 and 2018, Spillane said: “It’s hard to beat making your debut.

“When we played Tipperary in 2017 they were All-Ireland champions and we were coming off a couple of poor years, that’ll always stand out as special.

“The two Munster championships we won back-to-back in 2017 and 2018 were two great days as well. I’m only 28 and you feel starting off you’ll have 10 years playing intercounty but it wasn’t to be.

“There were disappointing days too, being six up against Limerick in the 2018 All-Ireland semi-final - it was there for us, so that was disappointing.

“Now we might have been slightly fortunate to be six up but at the same time, had we got over that game we would have been playing a Galway team in the final who had a lot of injuries.

“Some people might say they hate training but I loved it, I always gave it 100% - whether it was what I was going to eat or the particular times I’d be training, I’d plan out the entire week. I loved that side of it.

“People think of it as a sacrifice but I enjoyed it, and I thought of it as the routine.” 

Spillane acknowledged opponents who were particularly challenging.

“Marking Aaron Gillane of Limerick was always tough, partly because of the system they play. He’s the point of the attack and you tend to be one-on-one in a lot of space with him.

“He’s definitely up there, maybe because of that system. With other teams and players there could be three inside in the full-forward line with you and there’s less space.

“I marked Seamus Callanan a good few times and you’d be thinking you’re going well and then in five minutes he has 1-1 scored. Very hard to keep him quiet, but concentration would be a big challenge with him.

“With some players you know that on their off-days they’re not going to get into it, but with him even on his off-day he’s capable of winning a man of the match award.

“But that said, there’s no weak links at that level.”

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