Clinton Hennessy joined Davy Fitzgerald in the gallery of scoring hurling goalkeepers with his 20-metre rocket against Tipp on Sunday, though unfortunately the hope it brought was dashed almost as quickly as he sped back to his station at the country end of Walsh Park.
Unlike the umpires, his performance overall was outstanding, producing a string of stupendous saves in the first half alone to prevent the visitors from running up a cricket score as Waterford’s new-look XV struggled to find their feet.
It was further evidence of Hennessy’s status as one of the game’s most consistent and underrated custodians, having been extremely unlucky in my view to be overlooked for an All Star last season, when he was shortlisted alongside perennial winner Brendan Cummins and Kilkenny’s PJ Ryan.
The Deise netminder, of course, is being kept on his toes by Ballyduff Upper’s Adrian Power, whose prodigious puck-outs and agility haven’t yet been enough to dislodge Clinton from the No1 spot; which is a measure of how well the 31-year-old has played virtually since making the position his own.
The Ardmore man, of course, is no stranger to the scoreboard having featured among the top notchers in the 2008 county senior football championship with his club.
Also, during a seven-year stint in the United States as a painter and decorator, the unassuming Clinton was voted ‘soccer star of the year’ by the Irish Voice newspaper in recognition of his displays at central midfield for the Tara team based out of Dorchester, in the Boston Sunday League. (He’d previously lined out for Ardmore in the Red House League.) While there he also linked up with the Tipperary Boston hurlers, one of the strongest sides in the district, and it stood to him as he was thrown into inter-county championship duty by Justin McCarthy in his first year back home.