GAA

15 For 30: Vote Now For Your Best Clare Team Of The Last 30 Years

15 For 30: Vote Now For Your Best Clare Team Of The Last 30 Years

After a short break, it's time for the seventh installment of our GAA series here on Balls.ie - 15 for 30.

Each week, we want you to choose a different county's best football and/or hurling team for the last 30 years (from 1990 - 2019). Just pick your favourite team from 1-15 and we'll tally the votes over the course of a week and reveal your county's final XV, as voted by you.

So far, there's been plenty of drama and more than a few surprises in our Donegal football, Waterford hurling, Meath football, Tipperary hurling, Armagh and Mayo football teams.

This week, we're moving back to hurling and a county that emerged from the doldrums over the last 30 years to become established as one of the major forces in the game - Clare.

Clare

By 1995, it had been 63 years since Clare had even won a Munster title. It had been 81 since Liam MacCarthy had been to Ennis. After winning two National Leagues and coming up just short against a great Cork team in the late 1970s, the 80s and early 90s were a disaster for Clare.

In 11 Munster Championships between 1982 and 1992, Clare won just four matches. By 1993, they hadn't won a game since 1988. In 1990, they scored 1-5 in a Munster quarter-final defeat to Limerick. Clare hurling was in the doldrums.

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Things picked up over the next two years with wins over Limerick, Cork and Tipperary. But that's when they were met with another familiar problem; Clare couldn't win a Munster final. Since 1932, the Banner had lost nine Munster finals. That became 11 by 1994 following successive hammerings to Tipperary and Limerick.

It made the story of Ger Loughnane's team of 1995 all the more historic and famous when they did break through. One of the GAA's great stories, Clare got the Munster monkey off their back against Limerick and ended a 63 years wait before beating Offaly in the All-Ireland final a couple of months later.

Over the next few years, Clare were a dominant team in the game, winning two more Munster titles and the All-Ireland in 1997 before eventually slipping off in the early 2000s.

The Loughnane Clare team will go down in history as one of the most famous hurling teams ever but there were also some exceptional players all over the field from Davy Fitzgerald in goals to The Sparrow, Ger O'Loughlin at left corner-forward.

While Clare fell away in the early 2000s, they were never a fully spent force as in the days before '95 breakthrough. In 2009, an Under 21 All-Ireland title was the catalyst for another run at the top, this time under Davy Fitzgerald. When the once in a lifetime three time All-Ireland winning Under 21 team of 2012-2014 blended in, Clare became a major force again, and won a surprise All-Ireland in 2013 with an innovative short passing game that was met with a mixed reception, and some of the most skillful players the county has ever seen.

Since then, they've often flattered to deceive, but won a National League in 2016, and reached two Munster finals in a row in 2017 and 2018. In 2018, they were a width of the post away from beating All-Ireland Champions Galway in an All-Ireland semi-final replay.

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Throughout it all, Clare have been blessed with many fine hurlers over the last 30 years. In a period of unprecedented success for the county, it will be very difficult for voters to keep the selection to 15. Will loyalty to the breakthrough team win out or will the innovations and skills of the new generation be considered?

Clare players have been awarded 38 All-Stars in the last 30 years. Hurler of the Year awards also went to Brian Lohan, Jamesie O'Connor and Tony Kelly, while Kelly was also Young Player of the Year.

Clare

You can read the rules, such as they are, here, but suffice to say, just pick your favourite team from 1-15 and we'll make sure we get the most popular team together by the end of the voting.

You can vote by emailing your team to [email protected]balls.ie, by sending a message to any of our social channels, or by simply filling out your team in the box below.

Let your friends know about it and let the debates begin!

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VOTE HERE:

(Remember to pick your team from 1-15 the way you'd want them to line out. If you don't want The Sparrow in goals, don't put him at number 1!)


Voting ends this Saturday the 18th July and the full team will be revealed that evening.

In case you're in need of some assistance, we've broken down some key achievements by Clare teams and individuals over the last 30 years.

 

Clare Silverware Since 1990: 

All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship x3 - 1995, 1997, 2013

Munster Senior Hurling Championships x3 - 1995, 1997, 1998

National Football League: 2016

All-Ireland Under-21 Hurling Championship x4: 2009, 2012, 2013, 2014

All-Ireland Minor Hurling Championship: 1997

 

Clare All-Stars Since 1990: 

4 - Brian Lohan - 1995 (HOTY), 1996, 1997, 2002

Jamesie O'Connor - 1995, 1997 (HOTY), 1998, 2001

 

3 - Anthony Daly - 1994, 1995, 1998

Davy Fitzgerald - 1995, 2002, 2005

Seanie McMahon - 1995, 1997, 1998

 

2 - Liam Doyle - 1995, 1997

Ger O'Loughlin - 1995, 1997

Ollie Baker - 1995, 1998

Colin Lynch - 1997, 2002

Brendan Bugler - 2012, 2013

 

1 - Frank Lohan - 1999

Niall Gilligan - 1999

Tony Griffin - 2006

Tony Kelly - 2013 (HOTY, YHOTY)

Podge Collins - 2013

Conor McGrath - 2013

Colm Galvin - 2013

Patrick Donnellan - 2013

Conor Ryan - 2013

David McInerney - 2013

John Conlon - 2018

Peter Duggan - 2018

 

Stay tuned to Balls.ie all this week for analysis of the key matchups, voting updates and a Clare man will pick his own 15 for 30.

 

SEE ALSO: Revealed: The Best Mayo Team Of The Last 30 Years As Voted By You

Michael McCarthy

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