Sport

Clearys aren't just taking part, they're taking over!

July 7th, 2018 11:00 AM

By Kieran McCarthy

On the front foot: Emma Cleary in action for the Cork minors in their All-Ireland semi-final win against Dublin last weekend. Emma's father John is the team manager.

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THE Clearys of Castlehaven aren’t just taking part, they’re taking over.

Hurling, ladies’ football, camogie, football, athletics, the talents of the extended Cleary family knows no bounds. 

Their only headache is trying to find enough room in a bulging trophy cabinet. An extension, anyone?

There are eight children in the Cleary family – daughters Emer, Ailish, Orla, Deirdre and Nollaig and sons John, Denis and Edmund – and their sporting genes have been passed on to the next generation.

On Sunday, Damien Cahalane – son of Ailish Cleary and Niall Cahalane – was full back on the Cork team that won the Munster senior hurling final against Clare in Thurles, another memorable day out.

But Damien’s mother Ailish and sister Orlaith weren’t there, they were many miles away as Orlaith’s U14 Éire Óg team were busy winning the Division 1 Féile football title in Burren, Co Down, beating Westport 2-2 to 0-5 in the final.

Damien’s brother Conor is on the Cork U21 hurling panel who played Tipperary in Wednesday night’s Munster U21 final while his younger brother Jack (15) was part of the Cork U17 hurling team. Their sister, Maebh Cahalane, is involved in the Cork senior camogie panel too.

Also, last Saturday John Cleary was masterminding more ladies’ football success as he guided the Cork minors to a 5-15 to 2-11 victory over Dublin in the All-Ireland ‘A’ semi-final in Nenagh. Manager of the defending All-Ireland champions John’s also a proud dad as his daughter Emma scored eight points in this win. Emma will look to follow in the footsteps of her sister Laura who won an All-Ireland minor title in 2016.

Emma and Laura will still have to go some way to match their aunt Nollaig Cleary, a Cork ladies football legend who won nine All-Ireland titles and is remembered as one of the county’s greatest.

Also last Saturday, Emer Cleary’s daughter Caoimhe Flannery won her fourth Community Games County medal in just a few weeks, this time in the 600m at CIT, to add to her gold in Gaelic football and handwriting and silver in soccer. Caoimhe can add to her impressive tally at the Munster Community Games U12 Gaelic football final in UL this Saturday.

We’re not finished yet as Deirdre Cleary’s son, Cathal Maguire, started in the half-forward line on the Cork U20 team that lost the Munster U20 final to Kerry in Tralee last Friday night. Deirdre’s daughter Ellen was also involved with the Cork U16 camogie panel this year.

It’s worth noting that Denis Cleary’s son Daire, who plays his club football with Laune Rangers, was a member of the Kerry U17 team last year. Both Daire and Sean are involved with the Laune Rangers’ minors that have an upcoming final.

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