Rebel livewire Clancy on red alert as Limerick prepare for champions

You’d have to wonder where the Tom Clancys of this world find their energy.

In fact, he’s the very type of fella who’ll be referenced in papers, discussions and debates when the word “burnout” crops up.

Club U21, club senior, Sigerson with UL, inter-county U21, senior inter-county. Big games, bigger schedule. Where does a fella in college, trying to study for a teaching degree in technical graphics and metalwork find the time, and energy, for such a demanding schedule?

“Ah it’s not a bad complaint to have,” explains the Clonakilty man. “It’s not too bad now, because a lot of the U21 training (sessions) are in Mallow. I’m closer to it than a lot of the fellas from home... but we’re only out once a week with the U21s, and with the seniors we were Tuesdays and Thursdays for January and February. But once the U21s got going, we were let go from the seniors and told concentrate on the U21s.”

It’s a reasonable defence too he puts forward, but with a packed college timetable, it must be hard to stay fresh, physically as well as mentally?

“The start of January alright was pretty hectic with Sigerson, the Duhallow Invitational U20 competition with Clon, the Cork seniors and the U21s as well. At one stage there for about three weeks I was out nearly four nights a week but [U21 manager] John Cleary has been very good. He’d know if you’re doing too much and would only give you 20 minutes here and there if you were having an overload of training. Since the start of last month then it’s quietened down a bit, and we got to focus on just the U21s and Kerry in the first round so I’ve been able to mind myself a bit more.”

For Clancy, it’s his third year in the Cork U21 set up and tonight he’s aiming to make it to a third provincial final in a row. He’s got loftier goals than that too, having won the last two Munster titles. But in his final year, is an All-Ireland now more important?

“There’s a couple of us now who’ve been playing U21 with the past two years and we’ve lost All-Ireland semi-finals. But our only focus for now is Limerick. We know Tipp are good, they’d be every bit, if not better than Kerry, but we’ll have to take it one step at a time. And hopefully if we do get to another final, the experience will stand to us and we can kick on.”

But in their opening joust with the Kingdom, a Cork side backboned by eight of last year’s team struggled, relying on an injury-time point by Sean Kiely to haul themselves over the line. But Clancy reasons that people perhaps underestimated Kerry.

“We weren’t nervous really, we’d heard Kerry were doing a lot under Darragh Ó Sé and that they’d catch us this year because they were putting in a big effort but we’ve been putting in a big effort for the past three or four years. We didn’t perform on the night and were lucky to get over them but the first round is always a tough one to get right,” he reasoned.

Tonight, he starts at midfield against a side making their bow in this year’s campaign.

“They’ll probably go as hard as they can for the first 20 minutes and see how it goes but if we can take what they offer, then hopefully we can break away. We know very little of them because they haven’t played so it’s a dangerous one for us. They’ll probably have watched us against Kerry and have some sort of game plan for us so we must be ready.”

Verdict: Cork

CORK (U21FC v Limerick): D Hanrahan (Douglas); B O’Driscoll (Tadhg MacCarthaigh), C Dorman (Bishopstown), A Cronin (Nemo Rangers); TJ Brosnan (Newmarket), D Cahalane (Castlehaven), J Wall (Kilbrittain); T Clancy (Clonakilty), I Maguire (St Finbarrs); A Cadogan (Douglas), M Sugrue (Bandon), J O’Rourke (Carbery Rangers); D Mac Eoin (Ilen Rovers), B Hurley (Castlehaven), L Connolly (Nemo Rangers).

Subs: P Kirby (Tadhg Mac Carthaigh), C O’Sullivan (Clyda Rovers), K Crowley (Millstreet), K Fulignati (Nemo Rangers), S Kiely (Ballincollig), J Burns (St. Finbarrs), K Hallissey (Eire Óg), C Vaughan (Iveleary), T Hegarty (O’Donovan Rossa).

LIMERICK (U21 FC v Cork): J Brudair (Mountcollins); S Cahill (Mountcollins), J O’Meara (Ballysteen), B McCarthy (St Kierans); P White (St Marys Sean Finns, Rathkeale), I Corbett (Newcastle West), S Barrett (Kilmallock); D Treacy (St Kierans), P O’Donnell (Galbally); S Sheahan (St Marys Sean Finns, Rathkeale), M Brosnan (Dromcollogher-Broadford), D Frewen (Ballylanders); D Neville (Ballysteen), F O’Riordan (St Senans), P Nash (Kildimo-Pallaskenery).


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