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Clare footballers need a new strategy to beat Cork

CLARE’S Division 2 future is entirely in their own hands. If they can somehow pull out a Newry-like performance in Pairc Uí Rínn on Saturday from 7pm, they have every chance of getting a result, beating Louth at home in their final league game on March 25 and assuring themselves of a place in the same division next year. While Jamie Malone will be available again, following his two-game suspension, Clare will have to plan without Ciaran Russell, who was red-carded against Roscommon. Gordon Kelly is still suspended, leaving Clare scarce, particularly defensively. If Clare lose, which is likely given that Cork will be buoyant following Sunday’s win over Meath, their Division 2 status will rest on beating Louth and hoping that they don’t end up in a three-way tie. Clare have a score difference of -19, which is significantly worse than Meath and Down. If Clare finish level on points with Down, they will stay up, given that they …

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Shannonside derby should be a cracker

WITH Clare and Limerick due to meet in the last round of the new-look Munster Hurling Championship in June, it will add an “extra bit of interest” to Sunday’s National Hurling League quarter-final encounter, according to selector, Jimmy Browne. The Clonlara man is well familiar with Limerick, as he is vice-president of Corporate Services and Capital Development at LIT and has spent a number of years as team manager with Monaleen. He has also been involved with the coaching of Harty Cup squads at Ard Scoil Rís and amongst his backroom team was Limerick man Liam Cronin, who is now part of the Clare backroom. Ahead of the Shannonside derby, Browne acknowledges there are huge connections between the sides. “Joe [O’Connor] and Paul [Kinnerk] have been heavily involved with a lot of the Clare players. I have been involved for the past five or six years in Limerick. While with Monaleen, Brian Geary was a key figure in the side …

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Clare fade after bright first quarter

Waterford 1-23 Clare 1-20 Six points ahead after the first quarter of this Allianz hurling league tie at Walsh Park this afternoon, Clare looked to be on the way to victory and a top of the table spot in division 1 A but from here on Waterford held the upperhand and emerged as deserving winners. Clare had already qualified for the league quarter finals prior to this tie but they clearly wanted to return to winning ways after their loss to Wexford last time out. However, they failed to match the hunger shown by the home side who,despite this result, face a reletation play off against Cork next weekend. Clare will now face their Shannonside neighbours and arch rivals Limerick in a quarter final tie next week and a toss of a coin tomorrow Monday will decide between Cusack Park the Limerick’s Gaelic grounds for this tie Waterford played with the aid of the breeze in the first half but …

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Roscommon pull away as discipline costs Clare again

Roscommon 2-19 Clare 2-12 DISCIPLINE is costing the Clare footballers. For the second successive game, Ciaran Russell was sent off, this time on a straight red card, eight minutes into the second half. Russell was also sent off against Down in Newry, on a yellow and black card. In their last home game, against Tipperary on February 11, Jamie Malone was red carded, while David Tubridy and Eoin Cleary were shown black cards. After that game, Clare manager Colm Collins was suspended for a month, while Gordon Kelly was hit with a three month ban, for apparently squirting water at an umpire. While a team can be unlucky on a once off, Clare’s disciplinary issues are now costing them. When Russell was red carded, Roscommon were 1-10 to 1-8 ahead and winning it was going to be difficult enough for Clare as it was. However, Roscommon were able to pick up all of the Clare forwards and deploy Niall Kilroy …

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Ballyea fail to field in u-21 championship

The race for the under 21 hurling championships (A, B and C) got underway this Saturday afternoon but the biggest talking point concerned a game that didn’t take place, the first round game between Ballyea and Clonlara in the B competition. Ballyea had sought a switch from Saturday afternoon because of the involvement of two of their team, Cillian Brennan and Pearce Lillis, with Clare in tomorrow’s Allianz football league game between Clare and Roscommon but Clonlara explained that due to work committments they were unable to accomodate Ballyea’s request for a change.  It is understood that Ballyea offered to play the game this Sunday evening or on Monday or Tuesday evenings. On the field of play it was a good evening for Inagh-Kilnamona, both of whose teams progressed. Their A team, after some anxious moments, put in a strong second half to overcome St. Josephs on a 1-20 to 1-11 scoreline. The final score is a little flattering in …

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A chance for hurlers to experiment

Waterford may only have a very slim outside chance of avoiding the Division 1 A relegation play-off but the fact that they have not managed a home win in this season’s competition is sure to be a major driving force, when they entertain Clare in the final group game in this season’s Senior Hurling League, which is scheduled for a 2.30pm start at Walsh Park on Sunday. After suffering their only defeat in this season’s competition when going down to Wexford on Sunday last, Clare are keen to return to winning ways. Victory on Sunday will keep them near the top and they could well be top of the table come Sunday evening, depending on other results. Last week’s cancellation of all fixtures, due to the heavy snowfalls across the country, will have given players a welcome rest at a time of the year when they are particularly busy, especially those who were involved in colleges competitions. The delay “has …

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Collins looking for Newry-like energy

ON February 25, 230 miles away from their home county, the Clare footballers had a choice. Either they folded, as they did against Meath in Navan three weeks beforehand, or they delved a bit deeper and forcibly quizzed Down on what they were made of. Minus the suspended Jamie Malone and Gordon Kelly, Clare wrought superb displays from a team that featured five starting players still in the first season of their senior inter-county careers. On Sunday at 2pm in Cusack Park, Clare will aim to replicate the attitude and decision-making evident in Newry. That day, they shot at goal 15 times, kicking 13 scores and managed not to miss Ciaran Russell, who was sent off on a yellow and black card. Since he was deployed as sweeper in the Tipperary game, Russell has solidified Clare and made them somewhat harder to break down. In their defeat to Meath in Navan, Clare were cut open regularly, as the home county …

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Club v county still an issue in Clare

IN 2017, it took 36 weeks to complete the seven-round Cusack Cup campaign. It started on March 11 and concluded on November 29, when Kilmurry-Ibrickane won the competition for the seventh successive season. While a semi-final date has not been fixed for this season’s Division 1 football league, the aim seems to be to finish the league before the first round of the Senior Football Championship. The last round is on May 27 or June 9 and, with only one semi-final to be played, Clare GAA might pull it off. The team that finishes top of the table automatically qualifies for the final, while second and third meet in a semi-final. One of the issues raised last year was the absence of county players for a round played mid-summer. This weekend, with Clare playing Roscommon in their refixed NFL game, club teams will line out without their county players. Clubs are not enamoured about this but it seems likely that …

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