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David McInerney: 'Our full back never turned up and they just threw me in'

Clare’s Allstar winning full-back on the ‘accident’ that lead to him becoming a defensive anchor.

David McInerney.
David McInerney.
Image: INPHO/Lorraine O'Sullivan.

‘KIND OF AN accident’ is how David McInerney terms his emergence as the premier full-back in the country.

At the close of the 2013 season, the 20-year old can reflect on a year when he won All-Ireland senior and U21 hurling medals.

And then last Friday he became the first player in the history of his club Tulla to win an Allstar award, a fine moment in his debut season.

Yet his transformation into a senior defender of excellence was not by design. Introduced as a wing-forward in the 2010 All-Ireland minor hurling final, it was with that position in mind that McInerney travelled to a challenge game for the Clare U21′s against the Banner seniors in early 2012.

Then fate intervened.

“Our fullback never turned up and they just threw me in and I’ve been stuck there since. I’d never played fullback before. This year I was full-forward for the club. Up until two years ago I never played it (full-back).

“You just figure it out yourself. You just have to cop on to things as quickly as you can. Definitely the management (U21) Donal Moloney and Gerry O’Connor would give you tips.

“My father (Jim, a 1995 All-Ireland winner with Clare) would throw me the odd tip. I think I was just suited to it at the time.”

McInerney went on to be part of the Clare side that swept to All-Ireland U21 glory in 2012. Davy Fitzgerald rang him last winter to inform him he was being drafted in to the senior squad. McInerney’s ambitions for 2013 were modest.

“I just want to improve my hurling even further and bulk up a small bit. But I’d no intentions of being anywhere near a starting place in the league or championship.

“With the Waterford Crystal a few lads would be playing with the colleges so I got a chance. Then in the league, I started corner-back against Waterford but our full-back that day was injured for the next day. I was thrown in full back against Galway and I’d a good game. I got confidence from that.”


Clare’s David McInerney lifts the Liam McCarthy Cup
Pic: INPHO/James Crombie

Last Friday night McInerney was honoured at the Allstars along with seven of his Clare teammates. The red carpet roll out at Croke Park was ‘like Hollywood stuff’ in McInerney’s eyes and he was starstruck rubbing shoulders with the likes of Colm Cooper.

“If  you told me two years ago that this was going to happen I’d have told you were crazy. It’s the stuff dreams are made of, I never thought this would happen.”

McInerney’s currently in final year in NUI Maynooth studying to be a primary teacher with Dublin’s Michael Darragh Macauley a fellow student in that course.

Early in the New Year, he’ll be part of the Clare squad going on holidays to the United States and Mexico. And then it’ll be back to the business of defending titles in 2014.

“The fact that we’re so young, people might think we’ll get carried away. But this group of lads are a small bit different. They always rise on the big days in my opinion anyway.

“We really need to push on. Otherwise it’ll be seen as a fluke year. None of us want that. We have motivation.”

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Clare dominate 2013 Hurling Allstars with eight winners

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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