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Life begins at 40! Clare All-Ireland winner back for a 23rd season of club fare

Niall Gilligan will wear the saffron and blue of Sixmilebridge again this year.

Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

CLARE’S FORMER ALL-Ireland hurling winner Niall Gilligan has confirmed that he’s ready for another season of senior club fare with his beloved Sixmilebridge.

Gilligan, who’s 40 years of age, was listed on a ‘Bridge senior squad for the first time in 1995, when he was a member of the panel for the opening round of the Clare championship against Newmarket.

And Sixmilebridge club PRO Syl O’Connor contacted The42 last night to confirm the news that free-scoring forward Gilligan is back on board again.

As a 19-year-old, Gilligan won an All-Ireland senior club medal with Sixmilebridge in 1996, scoring three points in the Croke Park final against Antrim outfit Dunloy, having come off the bench.

Gilligan’s first senior club appearance had come against Sarsfields in February 1996, in the All-Ireland club semi-final.

When Clare played Tipperary in the 1997 All-Ireland final, Gilligan was named in the starting 15.

Source: © Patrick Bolger/INPHO

And, as O’Connor explains: “this created an unusual record, because Niall started a full game for his county, before he started a full game for his club.”

As things stand, Gilligan has amassed a glittering array of honours at club level.

He’s won five county senior titles, four Clare Cups (League), two Munster club medals and that 1996 All-Ireland win.

O’Connor revealed: “On this Saturday evening, the opening round of the 2017 county senior hurling championship will commence, and Gilly will start another campaign.

“By now, you would expect the nerves to be gone, the scoring records will continue to be enhanced, and the sight of Niall Gilligan in the Saffron and Blue will continue to be one of the most familiar sights on the green fields of the Banner county.”

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