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Opening Shot – Cooper got lucky compared to Clarke

Ronan Clarke had success, but injury robbed him of some great years

Ronan Clarke had success, but injury robbed him of some great years

When Colm Cooper retired, and the great and good were lauding him, John Hughes thought of Ronan Clarke.

The Armagh forward began his intercounty career at the same time, outshone the Gooch in the 2002 All-Ireland final when Armagh won the Sam Maguire, and at that point the Pearse Og man looked like he would outshine the young Kerry star forward.

But as fate would have it it would not turn out that way.

“Clarke went on to mount up the Ulster titles and won a county championship with Pearse Og, but further All-Ireland’s failed to materialise.

“Then injury robbed us of his magnificent talent for the best part of what should have been his most productive years.

“Cooper finished his career with five All-Ireland titles, numberless Munster titles and an All-Ireland club medal.

“Cooper was anonymous in the 2002 final, but fortune and fate have certainly favoured him over the years.”

John goes on to explain how avoiding injuries, and luck are oftentimes the deciding factor on whether a player will be good or great.

Read the full column in the current issue of Gaelic Life. Click here to buy the online edition.

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