Tony Kelly says that Colm Galvin will be a massive loss to the Clare hurling panel. Galvin, who won an All-Ireland with Kelly in 2013, announced his retirement from inter-county hurling earlier this month due to a persistent groin injury.
"I would have played with him since we were both 16 on the Clare minor squads and underage with Clare," said Kelly at the launch of In the Zone – The Official Protein Cookies and Biscuits of the GAA and GPA.
"Just an unbelievable talent, and unbelievable hurler. Probably the biggest thing with him is the loss in the dressing room. He was probably one of the biggest characters we had in terms of being really easy to get along with, always good craic, just one of those good lads you'd have in the dressing-room that when he's gone he's sorely missed.
'He had all the skills and all the hurling'
"He's definitely one of the best hurlers, if not the best hurler, I've played with all the way up along. Just an exceptional hurler.
"His biggest attribute was probably his actual brain. He obviously had all the skills and all the hurling as well but the reading of it, where to be, the right pass to play, his knowledge of the actual game.
"That is probably his biggest loss in terms of younger lads coming into the panel, being able to give that knowledge to younger lads.
"When he was on the field, he was the type of lad you could play wing-back, centre-back, midfield. When he first started with the Clare minors they played him at full-forward and he’s played absolutely everywhere. He’s just one of those lads, his brain is his biggest attribute.
"We'll definitely miss him, he's a massive loss to our panel."
Clare have lost both of their games so far in the Allianz Hurling League. Though, in the defeats to Cork and Wexford, they were down some big names, including Kelly, Shane O'Donnell and Peter Duggan, among others.
Duggan returned from Australia last year, and will be back with the panel once he recovers from an ankle injury. When O'Donnell will return to action is less certain.
"Well he got a bad concussion with us in training last year," said Kelly.
"He came back, played a bit of club, I think he missed the first couple of rounds with the club and he played another club game, got a bit of a setback in one of the club championship games.
"I think his main priority was to try and get that sorted out and get it straightened out so I think there’s talk maybe this week or the following week, trying to get back.
"I’m not sure will he be doing contact stuff. I know he’s running and doing gym on his own but, again, with that kind of an injury there’s no real ‘go back and let’s see how it is’ and see how he gets on in a contact drill.
"I think he needs to be fully clear before he can go back into any kind of hurling or contact and it’s a fairly serious injury. It’s not a hamstring or an ankle or a knee so the main thing for him is to get clear of it."
Picture credit: Sportsfile