Ciaran Clifford joined The Sideline Eye Podcast this week to talk about stepping away from the inter county scene.
The Cuchulainns defender first wore the orange and white when he joined the panel in 2008. But work commitments along with building a new house meant his county career had to come to an end.
“I decided just at the end of last year. I’ve been there since 2008 and I’ve given a decent bit of service. Things move on, busy with work and moving house and bits and pieces like that.”
“The last couple of years, with Covid and things like that. Interrupted seasons, probably made it easier with the shortened season.”
“Once it returned to a normal season, with preseason before Christmas, it was a decision that was easy enough made in the end.”
“I’m happy enough with where I am and currently looking forward to the club season starting up and having a good go with the club.”
“It’s been a long time since I had a full year with the club. So, that’s probably something I’m looking forward to the most as we look into the new 2022.”
Clifford was part of the last Orchard group to climb the steps of the Hogan Stand and raise the Nicky Rackard Cup.
However, that wasn’t the only highlight from a memorable career that Clifford recalled. The other days out in Croke Park didn’t bring as much success.
“Playing in Croke Park in 2012 for the first time was definitely one of the highlights and winning that Nicky Rackard Cup medal.”
“The other occasions we got to Croke Park it was always defeats so that probably was one of the highlights.”
“I think winning the league as well, Division 2B, and getting Armagh promoted to 2A for the first time in a long, long time. Maybe the first time ever. Playing in Division 2A in 2017 was probably one of the highlights as well.”
“You were playing against teams that are now all competing, Westmeath are in the Liam McCarthy and the rest of the teams, your Antrim’s and your Carlow’s are all in the Joe McDonagh.”
“I think that was probably just as much if not more of a highlight. The fact that we beat Down in the final too was definitely a big highlight. And everything that went with it that day.”
“The weather and the conditions, it was one of them performances, one of them league campaigns that when you put it all together. We were building it for a couple of years under Sylvester (McConnell).”
“Probably looking back, playing in Croke Park, winning the All-Ireland was brilliant. But I think for myself, playing at that 2A and being part of that team was probably the biggest highlight.”