Johnny Clifford

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Johnny Clifford
Personal information
Sport Hurling
Position Forward
Born 1934
Cork, Ireland
Died 19 October 2007(2007-10-19)
Club(s)
Years Club
1951-1956 Glen Rovers
Club titles
Cork titles 2
Inter-county(ies)
Years County Apps (scores)
1953-1955 Cork 5 (3-5)
Inter-county titles
Munster titles 2 (1 as sub)
All-Irelands 2 (1 as sub)

Johnny Clifford (1934–2007) was an Irish hurling manager and player. He played hurling with his local club Glen Rovers and was a member of the Cork senior inter-county team in the 1950s. Clifford later served as manager of the Cork senior team on three separate occasions in the 1980s and 1990s.

Playing career[edit]

Club[edit]

Clifford first started playing hurling with his local Fair Hill club in the North Parish Leagues in the 1940s. After much success at under-age levels here he subsequently joined the famous Glen Rovers club. Clifford won his first two senior county titles in 1953 and 1954 before later winning several more in the late 1950s.

Inter-county[edit]

Clifford first came to prominence on the inter-county scene as a member of the Cork minor hurling team in the early 1950s. He was captain of the team in 1951 as Cork trounced Limerick by 5-11 to 1-3 in the provincial decider, giving Clifford a Munster winners' medal.[1] He later led his county out in Croke Park for the All-Ireland final against Galway. An entertaining hour of hurling took place, however, in the end Cork were victorious by 4-5 to 1-8. Not only did Clifford pick up an All-Ireland minor winners' medal but he also had the honour of collecting the cup on behalf of his team.[2]

Clifford later joined the Cork senior team where he enjoyed further success. He was a key member of the team in 1954 as Cork set out on their three-in-a-row trail. Tipperary fell to Cork by 2-8 to 1-8 in the provincial final, giving Clifford a Munster winners' medal at senior level.[3] A senior All-Ireland final appearance beckoned for the Glen Rovers man, with Wexford providing the opposition. A record attendance of nearly 85,000 people packed into Croke Park to witness a great battle between star forwards Christy Ring and Nicky Rackard. Instead, it was Clifford who proved to be the hero as he scored the vital goal for Cork with four minutes to go. At the full-time whistle Cork led by 1-9 to 1-6.[4] While Christy Ring captured a record-breaking eighth All-Ireland medal, Clifford picked up his first, and only, All-Ireland winners' medal.

Clifford played for Cork again in 1955, however, an injury brought his inter-county career to a premature end shortly afterwards.

Managerial career[edit]

Johnny Clifford
Inter-county management
Years County
1982 - 1983
1985 - 1988
1993 - 1995
Cork
Cork
Cork
Inter-county titles
County League Province All-Ireland
Cork 0 2 1

Cork[edit]

In retirement from playing Clifford continued to have a keen interest in hurling as a selector and coach. He coached a number of clubs in Cork before being appointed manager of the Cork senior hurling team for the 1982-83 season. That year he guided Cork and helped them to retain their Munster title following a facile 3-22 to 0-12 victory over Waterford.[3] Cork subsequently qualified for the All-Ireland final with Kilkenny providing the opposition. In a close final dominated by a gale force wind, Kilkenny ran up a big half-time lead, and Cork clawed it back but ran out of time, losing by a score of 2-14 to 2-12. Clifford resigned as manager shortly afterwards.

Clifford did not stay away from inter-county management for long as he subsequently took charge of the Cork minor hurling team. In 1985 Clifford's minors captured the Munster title following a 1-13 to 1-8 victory over arch-rivals Tipperary.[5] The subsequent All-Ireland final pitted Cork against Wexford, however, Cork found the net three times to give Clifford's team a 3-10 to 0-12 win and the All-Ireland title.[2]

At the end of 1985 Clifford was reappointed manager of the Cork senior team. In 1986 he guided Cork to a fifth consecutive Munster title following a 2-18 to 3-12 victory over Clare.[6] Clifford's Cork later faced Galway in the subsequent All-Ireland final. In a thrilling game the Munstermen hung on to win by four points, thanks to goals by John Fenton, Tomás Mulcahy (twice) and Kevin Hennessy.[7] This victory gave Clifford the unique distinction of winning senior All-Ireland titles as a player and as a manager while also winning minor All-Ireland titles as a player and as a manager. Cork lost their provincial crown in 1987 and Clifford resigned as manager in early 1988.

Clifford returned as manager of the Cork senior hurling team in late 1993. After two years in charge he resigned after securing no silverware.

Death[edit]

Johnny Clifford died on October 19, 2007 after a brief illness.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Donegan, Des (2005). The Complete Handbook of Gaelic Games. DBA Publications. p. 39. 
  2. ^ a b The Complete Handbook of Gaelic Games p. 29
  3. ^ a b The Complete Handbook of Gaelic Games p. 25
  4. ^ Corry, Eoghan (2005). The GAA Book of Lists. Hodder Headline Ireland. p. 352. 
  5. ^ The Complete Handbook of Gaelic Games p. 39
  6. ^ The Complete Handbook of Gaelic Games p. 26
  7. ^ The GAA Book of Lists p. 362
Achievements
Preceded by
Pat Lennon
(Kilkenny)
All-Ireland Minor Hurling Final
winning captain

1951
Succeeded by
Tony Wall
(Tipperary)
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Gerald McCarthy
Cork Senior Hurling Manager
1982-1983
Succeeded by
Fr. Michael O'Brien
Preceded by
Fr. Michael O'Brien
Cork Senior Hurling Manager
1985-1988
Succeeded by
Charlie McCarthy
Preceded by
Fr. Michael O'Brien
Cork Senior Hurling Manager
1993-1995
Succeeded by
Jimmy Barry-Murphy