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Championship draws throws up some interesting pairings

THE Clare Senior Hurling Championship first round draws for 2018 have thrown up some mouthwatering contests. Champions Sixmilebridge will meet Clonlara in what will be a repeat of the final a few years ago. Cratloe will face Inagh-Kilnamona, while newly-promoted Kilmaley will face Newmarket. In football, the eight quarter-finalists from 2017 were seeded. Title-holders Kilmurry-Ibrickane will take on Kilfenora in the opening round. Clare senior football manager, Colm Collins, will manage his Cratloe side against his native parish Kilmihil, while former county midfielder, Ger Quinlan, will find himself on the sideline with Ennistymon against his native O’Curry’s. At the end of this season’s senior football campaign, five teams will be relegated to intermediate, with the intermediate winners being promoted. This will mean the 2019 championship will comprise 12 teams. The draws are as follows: Senior hurling: O’Callaghan’s Mills v St Joseph’s: Whitegate v Ballyea; Tulla v Éire Óg; Clarecastle v Crusheen; Wolfe Tones v Clooney-Quin; Cratloe v Inagh-Kilnamona; Newmarket v …

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The best is yet to come-Parker

“YOU guys should be proud of David Higgins,” comes the endorsement from Joseph Parker, as he praises the promoter with Clare links, who has been with him since he turned professional. Parker looks on the promoter almost as family nowadays. “It started off as promoter-boxer but now that I look at it, he’s like an older brother. The relationship is very strong , we’ve been working together for about five years and he’s made a big difference in terms of my life in boxing and in terms of helping me to achieve the goals I want to achieve. He took a chance in signing me up, not knowing if I was good or not. He’s put a lot of money behind me and into me over the years and now it’s paid off for us all.” When he spoke to The Champion, the WBO heavyweight champion was in Las Vegas, where his trainer Kevin Barry is based. Putting distance between …

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All on the line: David Higgins on making Parker-Joshua happen

MILLIONS of eyeballs will focus on a small rectangle in Cardiff on Saturday night, their owners anticipating a level of drama virtually never found away from live sport. Three of the four major world heavyweight titles are on the line, both fighters are undefeated, both are heroes in their own countries. A genuine sense of occasion and a hair-raising atmosphere will fill the Cardiff arena as the first bell rings and the leather begins to fly. While few here know it, a man with very strong ties to this county is among those who has done most to make the fight happen. Parker’s promoter, the 38-year old Auckland-based David Higgins, spent some of his teenage years in Clare and his mother hails from Newmarket-on-Fergus. Parker has been with Higgins’ company Duco Events since turning professional and one could almost say Higgins is the WBO champion’s creator, having sat down at a whiteboard some years ago and plotted how he might …

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McNamara confident Scariff can deliver on the big day

Sean McNamara’s involvement in the promotion of Gaelic Games won’t surprise anyone that knows his family. His father Mickey has given long service both with his native O’Callaghan’s Mills club, where he served in many administative roles over the years, including that of club secretary and also with inter-firm GAA in Clare when an employee of SPS Shannon. He is also particularly well-known for his work in the promotion of scór at county, provincial and national levels. Sean has also served his home club in many capacities while, in recent years, his main GAA involvement has been with Scariff Community College, where he has taken charge of many teams since joining the teaching staff almost a decade ago. He now manages a senior side he has seen progress through the various age groups over the past five years. “Our captain, Michael Hynes, captained the school to a Munster U-15 D title and many of that team went on to claim …

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Magnificent away win for footballers

Clare 1-12 Down 1-10 THE Clare footballers showed magnificent heart and spirit to emerge from Newry with a superb two point win in their NFL division 2 tie against the home county. They had to play the final 22 minutes, including injury time, with just 14 men after Ciaran Russell was black carded. He was already on a yellow card. Although they scored just a single point after Eoghan Collins had put Clare 1-11 to 1-9 ahead, 15 minutes into the second half, they fought manfully for the win, which lifts them onto four points in the table. Clare led by four points, 1-9 to 1-5, half-time. Cooraclare’s Seán O’Donoghue scored a superb goal after just 32 seconds when he cut through the Down defence and hammered a shot high into the roof of Marc Reid’s net. They added a range of top class points with Keelan Sexton, Cian O’Dea, David Tubridy and Kieran Malone all kicking scores from play. …

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Footballers draw with Tipperary

Clare 0-11 Tipperary 0-11 IN the aftermath of Clare’s NFL division 2 draw with Tipperary in Ennis on Sunday, the visitors manager, Liam Kearns, expressed concern at the delay in an ambulance arriving at Cusack Park to bring an injured Tipperary mentor to hospital. Shane Stapleton was eventually removed, after a second half incident, during which he fell to the ground. “There is an ambulance about to collect him now. It still hasn’t got here, which is disappointing,” Kearns said. “He’s had a very bad bang to his head and we think he might have had a seizure so he’s going to hospital. Hopefully, he will be alright. It was a belt to his head. He went back and hit his head off the concrete behind him. He said to me after getting back up, ‘I don’t feel very well’. When I turned around again, he was lying on the ground in the foetal position. It is serious enough. Hopefully, …

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Clare greyhounds challenge for Clonmel classics

THE local qualifiers may not be as numerous as other years but there is nonetheless a strong challenge for honours at the 93rd National Coursing Meeting in Clonmel on Saturday, Sunday and Monday next. Clare has two representatives in the BoyleSports Derby and a total of six interests in the Horse and Jockey Oaks. With a reduced team, trainer Pat Curtin has high hopes with the Kilcreevin-Ballymoate qualifier Roquefort Teddy in the Derby and Mad Decision in the Horse and Jockey Oaks. Owned by the Windfarm Syndicate of Michael Eustace (Ennis) and County Galway men Jonathan Newell and Gerry Hughes, Roquefort Teddy is one of three big names bred by Sharon Sexton of Mullagh. In the draw at the Horse and Jockey Hotel near Thurles on Friday night, he was not particularly  lucky as he came out of the hat with a tricky first round opponent in the 10/1 shot Silent Whisper, the Galway-Oranmore qualifier. Clareabbey Flyer (33/1), winner of the Miltown Miltown stake for …

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Meath hammer Clare in Navan

Meath 0-21 Clare 0-7 COMPLETELY outclassed, particularly in the second half, Clare were beaten emphatically by Meath in Navan on Sunday afternoon. Clare now sit on one point from two games. They were outscored 0-15 to 0-3 in that second period, with Gary Brennan the only Clare player to score from play. In fact his point was the only score of the second half, with his rising shot going over the bar. Brennan was Clare’s outstanding player. However, Meath responded with 0-8 without reply and pulled away from a dishevelled Clare who lost their shape and increasingly lost hope as the second half evolved. Clare trailed 0-6 to 0-4 at half-time with Meath pulling two points ahead, when Bryan McMahon pointed, with the last kick, after a disputed free was taken quickly. Clare competed hard throughout the first half with Killian Roche kicking their opening score from a 45, while Pearse Lillis, Jamie Malone and Gary Brennan (free) added a …

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