FORMER CLARE HURLER and manager Ger Loughnane is calling for Clare fans to help at a time of crisis.

Loughnane is calling on supporters to join Club Clare to financially assist the county’s hurling teams. 

“We are in disarray, so much so that the gap between us and our main competitors is widening at a frightening rate,” the 1995 and 1997 All-Ireland winning boss wrote in an open letter on the supporters club website.

“The big worry now is that this gap will develop into a chasm through which we will topple into hurling irrelevance.” 

Loughnane’s letter has been published alongside a new Club Clare promotional video featuring key hurling and camogie figures from around the county, as the supporters’ club launches its 2021 membership package.

Club Clare was established in 2017 to support the county’s hurling teams but from 2021 onwards it is including all Clare camogie panels as part of the membership offering.

Source: Club Clare/YouTube

The letter, in full, reads:

“The first half of the last decade brought us so many hurling highlights at underage and senior level that it’s difficult to put a hierarchy of satisfaction to these. My own highlight was the Under 21 All-Ireland Final in Thurles in 2013, a game that was sandwiched between the two epic senior finals in Croke Park in that never to be forgotten September.

“What made that victory so special was towards the end of the game, Clare youngsters of various ages, girls and boys, seemed to emerge from nowhere and begin lining the perimeter of the field, hurleys in hand, waiting for the game to end. There seemed to be thousands of them there and just as the final whistle sounded, they resembled a stream of locusts as they stormed onto the pitch, blotting out the Thurles turf.

“Looking on from the stand, I can still recall the joy I felt and the confidence I had that the future of Clare Hurling was secure. Two weeks later that future looked to be copper fastened when our young team brilliantly captured the MacCarthy Cup. That September we were the envy of every other hurling county in the land.

“Now, less than eight years later, we are in disarray, so much so that the gap between us and our main competitors is widening at a frightening rate. The big worry now is that this gap will develop into a chasm through which we will topple into hurling irrelevance.”

Loughnane is aware of ‘people’s suspicion of supporters clubs’ but insisted this group ‘has both structure and governance’.

I fully understand people’s suspicion of supporters clubs due to recent revelations but Club Clare is completely different. Club Clare has both structure and governance. Most importantly, it is comprised of quality people who are completely genuine in their concern for the future of the games in Clare. Uniquely, it contains two outstanding women and is committed to the development of hurling and camogie, which is the way that all GAA activities of the future should be.

“I urge you to give Club Clare a chance, give it one year of your support and I am certain that your confidence will be restored.

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“It is in time of crisis that we are all most tested and the fact that, in these trying times, such quality people have put their heads above the parapet and are prepared to give the much-needed leadership, gives me hope once again for the future. But they need the help of all of us. I urge you to give them that help.

“Join Club Clare, even if it is just for one year. I have already done so. Through all our efforts, we will secure the future of hurling and camogie in Clare and we will again have glorious days when the Banner will be flying high, as it did in those unforgettable days in the past.”

Newmarket-on-Fergus clubman Pat Keogh is chairperson of Club Clare, with several other big names including county manager Brian Lohan involved on the committee.

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