In Focus.....Dick Clerkin (Monaghan)

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In Focus.....Dick Clerkin (Monaghan)

Post  bald eagle on Thu Jun 07, 2012 8:33 pm

Former Monaghan captain Dick Clerkin agreed to field questions from our posters and became our first current Inter-County player to take part in "In Focus". All questions are posed by our posters and here is the result of our Q&A, i'm sure you'll find it interesting -

Firstly, congratulations to you and your club, Sons of St. Patrick, Currin GFC in gaining Monaghan Senior status for the first time ever this season, just how big an achievement was this given you are smallest club in the county? (Bald Eagle)

No matter what I ever achieve with Monaghan this will go down as my biggest achievement. When I stared playing with Currin we were in Div 5 league i.e We played our league football against the B teams of Junior clubs and C teams of senior! Bit by bit year by year we gradually progressed and improved to the point where we are now a senior club outright, the first time in the clubs 125 history. Success is relative and Currins achievement in doing this ranks up there with winning All Ireland's in Kerry, Tyrone etc.

How did it feel for you, as someone who has played in some of the biggest games in Gaelic football, to be a part of this with your club and club mates? (Bald Eagle)

It is a very proud and personal gratification. To rise above the sniggering and ridicule (deservedly so) we suffered for many years was very satisfying. I was particularly delighted for the friends and family that I have played with who can now stand toe to toe with the best in the county.

As a player who is clearly dedicated to both his club and county, how have you balanced the pressures put on you by them both over the years? (ThomasClarke)

In some ways Currins weak status in the early years meant I wasn't overloaded like other inter county players and has arguably contributed to the longevity of a relatively injury free career. Although because I was the only inter county footballer plying my trade in Junior ranks I regularly came in for special treatment, although my style of play didn't do much to avert it either!!

In Derry & Tyrone club rivalries are well documented and sometimes blamed for “tensions” within the county setup at times, what are the rivalries like in Monaghan and how are these treated when it comes to the county team? (boxtyeater, Bald Eagle)

At times I have felt club loyalty more than rivalry has had a stifling effect on the county team but not to any great extent and it's probably no worse than anywhere else. We have always got on well in the county dressing room and any club rivalry that might be there has never visibly surfaced.

As a lad growing up who was the biggest influence on your career and which players did you look up to? (Bocerty)

Without question my father was the biggest influence on my career. Growing up watching old videos of him playing and succeeding with Monaghan gave me an early ambition to wear the county jersey. Jack O Shea was and still is my favourite player, and I don't think there has been a more complete midfielder in the history of the game. To watch games of my father and Jack battling against each other is still something that makes me very proud.

In a footballing context, what do you consider to have been the main advantages/disadvantages of growing up as the son of a former Monaghan great? (ThomasClarke, bocerty)

Adv: Appreciation of not only what it takes to be a top inter county footballer but also what a successful career can offer off the field.
Dis: The constant pep talks! Ha!

As a member of a high profile inter-county team, you will appreciate more than most the demands placed on players. How has your role within your company being affected by your time playing for Monaghan, and do you think the game is becoming more of a college person's game? (Loyal2theRoyal)

Working at a Senior Management position it is important that I keep my sporting and professional life separate. I have always made a conscious effort not to allow one impact on the other whilst trying to succeed in both. Succeeding in both is more about living a disciplined and balanced lifestyle than any specific demands placed by one in particular.

Even within a robust and physical Monaghan side, your abrasive style of play has often been singled out for criticism by some analysts, most notably Joe Brolly. How do you feel when you read/hear such comments? (ThomasClarke)

In many cases I couldn't really argue with them, the cameras don't lie. What would have annoyed me though is that I allowed that part of my game to overshadow the footballing end of things. In many cases though I was asked to do a specific job for the team and I have no regrets in that sense. I think though that I have somewhat changed that perception in recent years as I focused on being a more creative attacking influence for the team, the type of football I have always played with the club.

The Monaghan team under Seamus McEnaney would not have been viewed as the most talented of teams, but they worked hard, especially on the field. How does a manager create this kind of hunger in a group of 20-30 players? (ThomasClarke, bocerty)

Its not hard to make a starving man hungry but Seamus certainly brought a level of organisation and discipline to a group of talented players and allowed them to realise their potential. Seamus always kept positive and ambitious and the players would feed of this.

Why do you think that this Monaghan team did not win an Ulster Final? Is it as simple as Tyrone being around at the time? (Parouisa)

In both finals we never seemed to get the rub of the green, especially in 2010 when we missed two clear cut goal chances, either of which would have dramatically changed the shape of the game. Inexperience and a slow start arguably cost us in 2007 but at the end of the day overall Tyrone were just too good for us on both occasions.
It's probably fair to say that we were missing about two or three more quality players to strengthen the panel/bench which in today's game is vital. That being said I think we have probably our best chance to win one this year and things so all going well it could be case of third time lucky!

Many credit Martin McElkennon with Monaghan's great run to the latter stages of the championship in 2007. What do you make of this? (Loyal2theRoyal)

Martin certainly added another level of intensity and professionalism and brought us up to the required level of fitness and conditioning to compete against the top teams.

The level of commitment required at intercounty level in terms of time and effort is immense. How did you keep motivated with all the disappointment you suffered? (Parousia)

My Grandmother used to say 'Hunger is a great sauce'. Lack of success is one things that drives me to keep going, although pride and appreciation for the opportunity to play inter county footballer is the main reason why I continue to turn out for Monaghan. I will be retired long enough and if I can look back in twenty years time knowing I gave as much for as long as I could I can have no regrets, medals or not.

With 2 consecutive relegations in the league and no wins in last year's championship, many observers feel that Monaghan are a team on the slide. What are your thoughts on this, and what are your realistic expectations for this summer and do you feel that Monaghan can progress under the current management? (ThomasClarke, GAAFan)

I have always felt that league standing is more of a reflection of the strength of your panel and depth of resources than the ultimate potential of your best team. In that regard we will struggle to stay long term in the top tier with the bigger counties. Certainly in the last few years with injuries, retirements etc our resources have been stretched but maybe Div 3 will be a better place for our younger players to develop before again rising up the ranks. In saying that if we can get our best twenty players fit and fresh for the cship we certainly can make a big impact because on our day we are still able to mix it with the top teams.

You have worked with some top coaches and managers in your career who would you rate as the best and why? Similarly, if you could pick one manager, past or present that you would have liked to play under, who would that be? (Bocerty)

I like the cut of Pat Gilroys jib. A true 'Manager' in all walks of life and a straight talker.
Also I have nothing but admiration for Mickey Harte and what he has achieved even though had he not been around I could very well have a good few more medals to my name! I also think there are a lot of bluffers out their who are out for nothing but a pay cheque and in some cases have been made look good by great teams and players.

Who would you class as your toughest opponent on the football field? Similarly, if you could choose to play alongside any player, past or present, who would it be; and what player, past or present would you most like to have played against? (Bocerty, Bald Eagle)

In fairness to him Sean Cavanagh is a torture to play against in midfield as he cheats all the time and you can never take your eye of him. When I say cheat I mean as a midfielder he doesn't always compete for kick outs and will break forward when otherwise we should be up competing for catch/break.
I Would loved to have played with Maurice Fitzgerald, used to love watching him play. Would love to have got to play against the likes of Mick O'Connell, Sean O Neil, John Joe Reilly etc to see how good they actually were.

Do you have a county that you look forward to playing more than others? If so, who? (Parousia)

I have always liked playing against Cork and Galway. Traditional teams who like to play 15 v 15 and don't play blanket defences, very honest and a distinct lack of cynicism.

What is your take on the current state of the game of football, do you think teams are too defensive and spoiling the game? (Bocerty, Loyal2the Royal)

Everyone got a bit carried away with a few games played last year and in particular with Donegal but it doesn't accurately reflect the overall nature of the game. The general focus on hand passing and possession retention is more of a concern but maybe that is just a sign of a game evolving in a manner similar to most established team sports.

Are there any rules in the game which need to be addressed in your view? (Loyal2theRoyal, RMDrive)

Define the tackle or at very least write it into the rule book that a certain amount of physical content is acceptable so long as a genuine attempt to tackle the ball is being made.
Mark for clean catch direct from a Kick out
Frees can only be scored from the ground
Cumulative yellow cards will lead to suspensions (turkey voting for Christmas ha!)
Referees cannot bring the ball forward for dissent. Book the guilty party instead, they are too subjective and inconsistent with this which can have significant consequences in games.


As someone who holds an Inter-Provincial medal, do you see a future in the series anymore? (Bocerty, Bald Eagle)

Certainly. The players are very proud to represent their province when given the opportunity and the significance of the competition should not be judged on attendances alone. Personally I think they should hold it over a weekend in one provincial town, rotate around each year. Leave it up to the county/club/province hosting the event to promote and market the competition. Have other events over weekend to promote games availing of the presence of the country's top stars in the area.

What has been your proudest GAA moment? (Bocerty)

Achieving Senior status with Club last year.
Railway cup win in 2007
Victory v Armagh in 2010 and getting MOM, oh and that point!! Ha

As a man who has travelled and worked abroad how hard is it to keep the passion for playing GAA and what advice would you give to players who fallen out of love with the game? (scoopmine)

Whether it be with the club or county I have always believed that playing Gaelic games and giving the necessary commitment sets someone apart from the norm and they will ultimately get more out of it than they ever put in. There are not many opportunities in life to do something than can potentially have a massive impact on those around you. Playing with your club and county is one of those opportunities, and I have never taken that opportunity for granted and so have always tried to give my best and will continue to do so long as I am fit and able.

You are an avid twitter user - what do you think about the role that social media such as twitter plays in inter-county GAA today? People are now privy to the day to day musing and ramblings of many players - do you see this as a positive? (RMDrive)

Used in a sensible way I think it is a good way for players to express their personalities and opinions in a different forum. Obviously they need to be careful they don't say anything that might compromise the team but I think over the past year players have got their head around the do's and dont's of twitter and by and large it is a positive development.

Do you find writing the column for the newspaper to be easy or difficult? Do you spend a lot of time on it or are you able to throw something together fairly quickly? (RMDrive)

I am sure you have noticed that I blatantly avoid writing about the matches/players/teams of the day so not to compromise myself or team whilst I am still playing. Therefore I have always tried to discuss general issues facing the game at present from a players perspective. It can be difficult getting original ideas week in week out and so yes it can take a lot of time thinking about what to write about and then effectively communicate it whilst not coming across as boring or cliched. I thoroughly enjoy it however and really appreciate getting good feedback from all around the country.


Last edited by bald eagle on Thu Jun 07, 2012 8:51 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: In Focus.....Dick Clerkin (Monaghan)

Post  bald eagle on Thu Jun 07, 2012 8:38 pm

Folks, i would firstly like to say a massive thanks to Dick for agreeing to complete this Q&A session with us, as a current county player, he would have been well within his rights to ignore a request from a GAA forum, however he didn't and i must say he has given us some brilliant answers and a wonderful insight into the mind of an Inter-County GAA player. He has been a pleasure to deal with from start to finish and is just the same on Twitter, if you are on there then get following him on @DickClerkin8.

Thanks to you all for asking questions, all were selected however not all were answered due to the content of the question relating to another county team, i'm sure the posters of the question can understand Dicks stance in this instance.

Please let us know what you think of the interview, personally i think you asked some brilliant questions with Dick providing some great answers for us.

A great deal of work has went into this, i would greatly appreciate it if guests to the site would leave some feedback in this Q&A for us.

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Re: In Focus.....Dick Clerkin (Monaghan)

Post  bocerty on Thu Jun 07, 2012 11:26 pm

absolutely top drawer answers from Dick. You can tell the answers are 100% genuine and honest and he calls it as he sees it.

A wonderful insight into the real Dick Clerkin and how he truly loves playing the game of Gaelic football Comes across as a very down to earth honest grafter who sees it almost as a privilege that he is in a position to play football for club and county

Two comments in particular stand out for me

I also think there are a lot of bluffers out their who are out for nothing but a pay cheque and in some cases have been made look good by great teams and players.[/i]

and

[i]I have always liked playing against Cork and Galway. Traditional teams who like to play 15 v 15 and don't play blanket defences, very honest and a distinct lack of cynicism.


i'd have put Cork down as a fairly cynical team at times


Great work BE fair play to you and thanks to Dick for the quality replies

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Re: In Focus.....Dick Clerkin (Monaghan)

Post  Boxtyeater on Fri Jun 08, 2012 12:01 am

Top class stuff from Dick. He comes across as a "what you see is what you get" type of guy, a dead sound lad.

Good questions and honestly, wittily and thoughtfully answered. The answer to the Inter-Pro question was my favourite.A smashing idea putting the pressure on the County/Town/Province to make a weekend of it. Don't hold your breath on it though.

Thanks once again Dick. Bald Eagle is, I suppose, also due some gratitude. Not only can he prop up ladders but this is a great feature that requires a lot of effort.
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Re: In Focus.....Dick Clerkin (Monaghan)

Post  bocerty on Fri Jun 08, 2012 12:03 am

Boxtyeater wrote:Top class stuff from Dick. He comes across as a "what you see is what you get" type of guy, a dead sound lad.

Good questions and honestly, wittily and thoughtfully answered. The answer to the Inter-Pro question was my favourite.A smashing idea putting the pressure on the County/Town/Province to make a weekend of it. Don't hold your breath on it though.

Thanks once again Dick. Bald Eagle is, I suppose, also due some gratitude. Not only can he prop up ladders but this is a great feature that requires a lot of effort.

its something that could work quite well and with the right people in charge of it it would certainly revitalise the whole thing. Problem is some County/Town doesn't bother making the effort one year and the whole things is back in limbo again.

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Re: In Focus.....Dick Clerkin (Monaghan)

Post  RMDrive on Fri Jun 08, 2012 9:00 am

Great stuff indeed. Thanks a million to Dick and to BE as well. Mighty work.
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Re: In Focus.....Dick Clerkin (Monaghan)

Post  Parouisa on Fri Jun 08, 2012 9:57 am

Another superb feature. Well done Dick - as a Dub supporter I always had a special regard for ya! Shocked

Really thoughtful answers and like Boxty I love the idea re the provincials. Strikes me that the GAA could do worse than canvass the ideas of the players on issues such as this. There are a lot of very intelligent people playing GAA as can be clearly seen by this topic - use this brain power.

Thanks again Dick - and the usual kudos to BE!
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Re: In Focus.....Dick Clerkin (Monaghan)

Post  Thomas Clarke on Fri Jun 08, 2012 10:35 am

A brilliant read. Open, insightful, and witty - really great stuff. I have to say, the interviews on this site are the best I've seen on any GAA forum/magazine by a country mile, and Dick, Philly, PJ and others have set the bar very high for future interviewees.

A very big 'thank you' to Dick, for the considerable time and effort that he clearly put into this, and a well done to BE also, for another great coup! Brilliant work all round!
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Re: In Focus.....Dick Clerkin (Monaghan)

Post  bald eagle on Mon Jun 11, 2012 11:48 am

That's for the great response folks, you will be pleased to know that i have another "In Focus" lined up and it will be live on Wednesday. Those who follow us on Twitter will likely know who it is but please don't spoil it for this that don't!

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Re: In Focus.....Dick Clerkin (Monaghan)

Post  scoopmine on Mon Jun 11, 2012 10:30 pm

A great read and fair play to Dick he comes across as a really interesting person.

Looking forward to the next one!
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Re: In Focus.....Dick Clerkin (Monaghan)

Post  Parouisa on Thu Jun 28, 2012 11:45 am

Will the curse of GAA focus go on to haunt the Kilkenny footballers? Given what befell poor Dick C I can see the Cats footballers struck by the hoodoo which may mean they go on to not win a game for over a decade .......
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Re: In Focus.....Dick Clerkin (Monaghan)

Post  bald eagle on Thu Jun 28, 2012 2:33 pm

Parouisa living in a dream world here and badly showing his complete lack of footballing knowledge, a fine team like Kilkenny (who have taken the scalp of London in recent years) will never fall to such a "hoodoo".

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Re: In Focus.....Dick Clerkin (Monaghan)

Post  bocerty on Thu Jun 28, 2012 3:17 pm

Parouisa wrote:Will the curse of GAA focus go on to haunt the Kilkenny footballers? Given what befell poor Dick C I can see the Cats footballers struck by the hoodoo which may mean they go on to not win a game for over a decade .......

get a f**king Dub on next if that is the case

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Re: In Focus.....Dick Clerkin (Monaghan)

Post  Parouisa on Thu Jun 28, 2012 3:18 pm

bocerty wrote:
Parouisa wrote:Will the curse of GAA focus go on to haunt the Kilkenny footballers? Given what befell poor Dick C I can see the Cats footballers struck by the hoodoo which may mean they go on to not win a game for over a decade .......

get a f**king Dub on next if that is the case

Who do ya want Boc? King Bernard? I know a lot of high profile people ....
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Re: In Focus.....Dick Clerkin (Monaghan)

Post  bocerty on Thu Jun 28, 2012 3:23 pm

Parouisa wrote:
bocerty wrote:
Parouisa wrote:Will the curse of GAA focus go on to haunt the Kilkenny footballers? Given what befell poor Dick C I can see the Cats footballers struck by the hoodoo which may mean they go on to not win a game for over a decade .......

get a f**king Dub on next if that is the case

Who do ya want Boc? King Bernard? I know a lot of high profile people ....

preferably one that can read and write, now i know that may take a while but i'll leave it in your capable hands

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Re: In Focus.....Dick Clerkin (Monaghan)

Post  patsymc on Thu Jun 28, 2012 10:20 pm

bocerty wrote:
Parouisa wrote:
bocerty wrote:
Parouisa wrote:Will the curse of GAA focus go on to haunt the Kilkenny footballers? Given what befell poor Dick C I can see the Cats footballers struck by the hoodoo which may mean they go on to not win a game for over a decade .......

get a f**king Dub on next if that is the case

Who do ya want Boc? King Bernard? I know a lot of high profile people ....

preferably one that can read and write, now i know that may take a while but i'll leave it in your capable hands

pressure
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Re: In Focus.....Dick Clerkin (Monaghan)

Post  Thomas Clarke on Sun Jul 21, 2013 5:41 pm

Well done Dick Clerkin, friend of the forum, and Ulster SFC winner!! A great victory and delighted for all involved. Smile 
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Re: In Focus.....Dick Clerkin (Monaghan)

Post  Boxtyeater on Sun Jul 21, 2013 8:52 pm

A great day for Dick and his cohorts. I'm delighted that as sound a lad as him can see at least 1 great day.

Well done from all here.
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Re: In Focus.....Dick Clerkin (Monaghan)

Post  bald eagle on Sun Jul 21, 2013 9:35 pm

Agree with both of ye lads, brilliant to see Dick and Monaghan get their hands on the Anglo-Celt. As has been said, a sound lad.

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Re: In Focus.....Dick Clerkin (Monaghan)

Post  bocerty on Mon Jul 22, 2013 9:47 am

couldnt agree more - delighted to see some of these guys who have fought in the trenches for years with little or no reward finally getting their hands on the Anglo Celt.

Well done Dick and the rest of the squad a fantastic result

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