WATERFORD goalkeeper Clinton Hennessy has retired from inter-county hurling.
The Ardmore clubman will continue with his club but work and family commitments mean he will not figure for the Déise next year.
“The time is right to go,” Hennessy said yesterday.
“I have a lot of commitments and the fact that the new manager will come in soon is another factor.
“I’ve had my mind made up for a good while and I was going to leave it later but I didn’t want people to think that I was calling it a day because of the new manager.
“That’s not the case so I’m happy with the decision now.”
Hennessy made his senior championship debut for Waterford in the 2005 All-Ireland senior hurling quarter-final against Cork.
“It was a big one, I was lucky enough it went alright for me — if it hadn’t I might never have been heard from again.
“At the same time I didn’t have a lot of time beforehand to think about the fact I was playing, which was good.
“I was thrown in (at the deep end) and it was sink or swim. I’d been in the States for a few years and didn’t come back to Waterford until late 2003.
“I had to try and get my place on the club team in Ardmore first before I could think about playing for Waterford.”
Hennessy picks the 2007 season as a highlight.
“We won the league, beating Kilkenny, and we won the Munster championship as well. Winning a first senior medal with Waterford was great and we beat Limerick in the Munster final not too long afterwards.
“The semi-final win over Tipperary in 2008 was another great day, though the fact that we lost the All-Ireland final so heavily spoiled that.
“Last year’s Munster title was another good one — it was an unusual way to win the Munster final, under lights, late on a Saturday night.”
The ‘keeper picks Eoin Kelly of Tipperary as his top opponent.
“As a goal-threat, as a finisher, I’d go for Eoin. Obviously Henry Shefflin is a great player, and there are plenty of others, but as a goalkeeper looking out at someone who’d threaten a goal, I always thought Kelly was the best finisher in the game.”
Hennessy will continue playing Ardmore next year.
“I always wanted to give the club a few years when I packed in with the county, I didn’t want to go back when I was totally finished, if you like.
“I’m looking forward to that, to having a full year with the club — league games, challenges, the whole thing.
“That’s an exciting prospect for next year.”
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