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Russell – ‘A lot of progress being made’

ALTHOUGH no longer a member of the inter-county senior football squad, Kilkee’s David Russell continues to play a big role in the development of the game in Clare. Last year he coached Naomh Eoin from the Loop Head peninsula to the Clare Junior Football Championship title and he continues to be in charge of that club as they prepare for this season’s intermediate title race. In addition, he remains a vital player with his beloved St Senan’s, who are challenging strongly to win promotion from Division 3 of the league. Having been a key player in the Clare senior football team for well over a decade, Russell called time on his inter-county career two seasons ago but continues to follow the fortunes of the side and is eagerly looking forward to the team’s clash with Cork. “A lot of progress is being made and keeping Division 3 league status was a massive boost to all, young and old. Getting a …

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Brennan rues the slings and arrows

WHEN a sports person breaks a collarbone, they generally leave it to the professionals to guide them in their recovery. It can get a bit tricky, though, if the sports man nursing a collarbone injury is also a physiotherapist. Clare and Clondegad footballer Shane Brennan earns his living as a physiotherapist. Self-employed at the Clareabbey Primary Health Centre in Clarecastle and working part-time for the HSE, he’s the man to talk to if you break your collarbone. He’s probably not the man to treat you though when he has a broken collarbone himself. “A little bit of knowledge is an awful thing. I would be more aware of certain aches and pains and what they might mean. That leads to me asking a few more questions. I was up with my consultant the other day and I’d say I drove him mad asking questions,” Brennan was honest enough to admit. He broke his right collarbone playing for Clare against Limerick …

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Injury-hit Clare can compete with Cork

IN recent weeks, Clare football supporters have had to brush up on their knowledge of cruciates, dislocations, groins and shoulders, such has been the spate of injuries that have afflicted the county team. Clare were without key players David Tubridy, Shane McGrath and Enda Coughlan for their two-point win over Limerick three weeks ago, while during that game Shane Brennan, brother of team captain Gary, left the field with a collar bone injury, which will sideline him on Sunday. The bulletins have not been great since then either. Podge Collins snapped his cruciate playing club hurling for Cratloe against Ballyea last Saturday week in Cusack Park and his absence leaves a huge void in the Clare attack. If Tubridy, McGrath and Coughlan are still not match fit, the collective injuries leave Clare with significantly depleted options in attack. Kilmihil’s Martin O’Leary, who plays hurling for Ballyea, dislocated his shoulder against Cratloe and is also out this weekend. On the plus …

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Losing his place drove Kelly

CLARE goalkeeper Pa Kelly experienced a mixed 2014. Having played such a key role in Clare’s 2013 All-Ireland success, the Inagh-Kilnamona man, who works as an accountant with Curtin O’Friel & Co in Ennis, lost his place. He insists, though, that he had no issue with the manner of his dropping, although he did subsequently regain his place. “Davy was fair. He made the call. He was pretty honest. Maybe my standards dropped and, in fairness to him, he gave me my chance to get back in. I don’t know whether I took it or not but I have proven since that I probably have. It just goes to show that you can’t let your guard down. If you win an All-Ireland you can’t get complacent. They are the standards he is demanding. He demands that you do the extra stuff and look after yourself. Maybe he thought that I wasn’t doing it but I thought he dealt with it …

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Davy confident Clare can turn it around

Davy Fitzgerald spoke candidly to Peter O’Connell when they met on Wednesday morning in Ennis. They talked about their shared past and where Clare hurling goes from here WHEN Davy Fitzgerald entered the Temple Gate Hotel on Wednesday morning, nobody noticed. It wasn’t that people were deliberately ignoring the Clare hurling manager. It was just that his attire would have led them astray. Replacing the Clare top was a sharp-looking jacket, far removed from the dress code Davy dons when patrolling the sideline, lobbing the odd enraged query at referees and sometimes even following them for a quick post-match word. Wednesday’s Davy cut a much more relaxed figure and one that didn’t blink or avoid questions when the conversation flowed. First up, why? Before talk turned to referees, Clare McNamara, Colm Galvin, Clare’s 2015 on-field record and the influence of Davy’s father Pat Fitzgerald, the air had to be cleared somewhat. Given that there has been the odd moment of …

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UL scholarship programme for GAA ladies

THE Kemmy Business School at the University of Limerick has announced a graduate business scholarship programme for female county GAA players. Dr Philip O’Regan, dean of the Kemmy Business School and Aoife Lane, WGPA chairperson, signed a memorandum of understanding at the launch of the programme last week. The scholarships will see recipients receive a 50% fee waiver for taught postgraduate programmes at the Kenny Business School in areas such as economics, finance, taxation, human resource management, entrepreneurship, marketing, project management and many more, along with the opportunity to study at a campus equipped with some of the best sporting facilities in the country. Dr Fergal O’Brien, assistant dean, postgraduate studies at the school highlighted the shared competencies in sporting and academic success – determination, persistence, hard-work and dedication, while Aoife Lane spoke about the close ties between UL and the WGPA, with five of the seven founding members of the association currently or previously affiliated to the university. According …

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Division 5 play off places filled

The way is clear for the play off stage of the division 5 football league. In the last game in the league section of the competition, Kilrush defeated hitherto undefeated Kilmurry-Ibrickane at Kilrush last evening, Friday. That win for the shams has earned them a semi-final spot against their near neighbours Killimer who will have home advantage as they finished in second place. Kilmurry-Ibrickane await the winners in the final. Meanwhile, Clondegad are safely through to the final of the division 4 competition. They concluded their campaign with a three point win over Ml. Cusacks at Gleann Chiosog on Friday evening. The outcome of the game between Eire Og and Ballyvaughan at Ballyvaughan on this Sunday will determine the semi-finalists. In division 6, Kilmihl and O’Currys are safely through to the play offs. With one round of games to be played in both division 1 and 2, there will be a lot at stake in those games. Clondegad and Kilmurry-Ibrickane, …

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July 7 surgery date for Podge

PODGE Collins will undergo surgery on his snapped anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) on Tuesday, July 7. The 2013 All-Ireland winner, All-Star and hurler of the year nominee injured his cruciate last Saturday evening, playing championship hurling for Cratloe against Ballyea. Speaking to The Clare Champion, the AIB employee said it is far too early to speculate on a possible return date. “I’ll be getting the surgery done on July 7,” Podge confirmed. “They have to take muscle from some other part of my leg and that’s how the surgery is done. The ACL is completely snapped. After the surgery I’ll be assessed after three, six and nine months,” he explained. “You’re expected to be back, after the surgery, somewhere between six to nine months but some players take longer than nine months. It’s all relevant to each person, how bad the injury is and how well the surgery goes. There are a lot of variables. I won’t be able to …

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