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Dublin: 7 °C Wednesday 29 January, 2020

'It was basically a 30-on-30 brawl, so that was my first introduction to Brian Lohan!'

David Reidy is looking forward to working with the new Clare hurling boss.

Clare boss Brian Lohan and forward David Reidy.
Clare boss Brian Lohan and forward David Reidy.
Image: INPHO

WHEN BRIAN LOHAN was installed in the Clare hotseat in late October, there was some familiarity for David Reidy with the new man in charge.

Reidy may not have previously worked under the talismanic All-Ireland winning defender but he had still witnessed him in a managerial role.

“Back in 2016 I first came in contact with Brian. He was the manager of UL and I was playing Fitzgibbon in LIT, and Davy (Fitzgerald)  was over us. It was a November evening in St Pat’s under lights, rain and everything.

“Davy had us wound up, breaking down the door to get out on the field. We came out and UL were in a bit of a huddle, and I kind of got a bit over-excited or something. There was a shoulder or two, to the UL lads in the huddle, and I was turning around and all of a sudden I just got a hand onto my neck, basically.

“I looked up and it was Lohan himself! But once he put his hand on me, your natural reaction is to throw your hand back up onto his – and holy war broke out! It was basically a 30-on-30 brawl, so that was my first introduction to Brian Lohan!”

Not that it’s going to put a strain on their working relationship going forward for Clare hurling.

“Come here now, we’re two big boys at this stage. We had a bit of craic when I came into the panel, we laughed about it, but Brian is a professional man in all walks of life – so we’re on speaking terms!”

“It’s kind of a natural reaction; if someone puts their hand onto you, what do you do? You’re either going to crawl away, or you’re going to fight.”

A fresh face at the helm is not the only reason for Reidy being so enthusiastic about the onset of a new season, Clare starting out next Sunday in Nenagh in the Co-Op Superstores Munster hurling league against Tipperary.

He’s back involved after taking a step back from the Banner this year.

Co-Op Raheen Small 5-12-19-47 Clare David Reidy (second right) at the Co-Op Superstores Munster league launch. Source: PETER PIETRZAK PETER.P.PHOTOS@GMAIL.COM

“It would have been November, 12 months ago. I decided to go back and do a Masters in LIT in marketing and management. So, it was a full-time course. I was playing, basically, full-time hurling at this stage with the county and then I was (working a) part-time job. Something had to give, and unfortunately hurling was the unlucky one.

“I finished in August, and two weeks into August a position became available in LIT in the marketing office itself. I applied for that. So, in the long run, it paid off, studying in college … I wouldn’t have seen the opportunity if I didn’t go back and do the year. I saw the position advertised and I was lucky enough to get it. So I’m in the LIT marketing office.”

Reidy didn’t sever all his links with Clare hurling this season.

“I went to the majority of the games, both league and championship (in 2019). Again, I’m still a Clare person; I’m still a fan of Clare hurling.

“During the game-day, I was like ‘Oh, I’d love to be out there.’ But I knew what it took pre-season, to put the hard yards in, to get out there. And to be honest I wasn’t driven enough to do it. So, going back playing the club then; I played a club championship, I knew that’s what I wanted to do.

“It was more of a mental break as well that did me a world of good. But again throughout the year, from early on, I had conversations with the managers – up until March or April even.”

Immersed in the county senior environment since 2014, Reidy was aware that there was no guarantee he would get the call to arms again for Clare hurling.

“It was kind of a waiting game, if I’ll get the call or not. It was a gamble. Everyone has their own opinions when you take a year out on your own behalf. Are you going to get called back in? You’re in a privileged situation when you put on a Clare jersey, and it probably was a big gamble as well. But luckily I did get the call to come back in.

“Brian rang me a week after he got announced as the Clare manager, and he knew the situation, he knew that I was finished the Masters. And he asked me was I interested in coming into the panel, and 100% yes, I wanted to come back in.”

Reidy is relishing being back involved.

“A lot of players might think it’s tough on a dark, wet evening to go training – but I’m loving driving back to Clare from Limerick, I’m back living in Limerick. I’m excited to get training out on the field. So from that point of view, 100% I want to get going.”

He rejoins a panel that will not feature Peter Duggan, the 2018 All-Star is moving to Australia.

“I’m good auld friends with Peter. Disappointing to see him go, but it’s been kind of in his head the last couple of years, to go off travelling, to go to Australia, himself and the girlfriend … unfortunately it was this year that he chose to go.

“But in terms of on the field, he was getting the majority of scores, be it frees and from play. He’s an accurate man. So, it gives an opportunity for someone else to put up your hand and basically take his place now.”

Bernard Jackman joined Murray Kinsella and Sean Farrell in studio to chat about the remarkable John Cooney and the Ireland captaincy. 

Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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