Peter Cleere and Brian Dowling. Inpho/Photojoiner
New Era

'Brian came on for me in an All-Ireland final 20 years ago and now I'm coming in for him'

Peter Cleere has been appointed the new Kilkenny camogie manager, succeeding former Kilkenny teammate Brian Dowling.

PETER ‘CHAP’ CLEERE SAYS he is looking forward to building on the successful foundations that Brian Dowling has put place for Kilkenny camogie, as he takes over as the new manager.

Cleere comes in to replace the two-time All-Ireland-winning boss, who stepped down from the position during the summer after four years in charge.

A former Kilkenny hurler, Cleere steps into the role after a successful season in charge of the Carlow camogie team, overseeing promotion to Division 2 as well as retaining their intermediate status for 2024.

The Blacks and Whites clubman has already been in contact with Dowling to pick his brains about the challenges that await him. The pair were teammates in the past, hurling together at U21 level for Kilkenny.

“I spoke with Brian and I’ll absolutely be speaking to him again,” he tells The42.

“He couldn’t have been more helpful in terms of advice and his view on things. It’s fantastic to have that support there and Brian is a proud Kilkenny man.

“He will continue to do anything he can to drive Kilkenny on to the next level. The phone is always there to talk to Brian and that’s a huge support to have.

“We would have played U21 and won two All-Irelands with Kilkenny together. Brian was a much better player than me and he was on the senior team in 2003 and 2004. I went on then in 2005, 2006 and 2007. We would have hurled together at underage all the way along on the inter-county scene. Brian’s a super manager and he’s given unbelievable service to Kilkenny. He’s a huge loss.

“I think there was an U21 All-Ireland final where Brian came on for me. It’s amazing that Brian came on for me 20 years ago and now I suppose you could say that I’m coming in for Brian 20 years later.”

As the baton passes between them once more, Cleere is putting plans in motion to prepare Kilkenny for the upcoming campaign.

The camogie championship is approaching the quarter-final stage this weekend, and Cleere has been casting an eye over the games so far. He is also the Clara camogie manager, which gives him a strong insight into the quality that exists in the county.

And already, he has identified some players who have “put their hands up” for consideration. Cleere’s backroom team is close to being finalised and will be confirmed in the coming weeks, with the National League following shortly after.

“Once club championship is over, we’ll sit down and try to construct the panel.

“Every year, you’re learning and there’s huge experience to learn from being with any team. The backroom teams in any inter-county set-up is so extreme. Really, as a manager, what I would be trying to do is put the infrastructures in place to allow the girls go on and achieve.

“Within the context of all that, you’ve got nutritionists, dieticians, strength and conditioning, and psychologists. All that comes into it, but ultimately, it’s about girls going out winning their own ball and being really competitive. Players win games, not managements.”

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