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Understrength Clare to test Tipp

SIXMILEBRIDGE will host the Waterford Crystal senior hurling quarter-final between Clare and Tipperary on Sunday at 2pm. A repeat of last year’s final, which Tipperary won at the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick, the Premier outfit go into Sunday’s tie with the benefit of a first-round win, as a result of which they will carry the favourites’ tag on Sunday. On Friday, January 9 at Dr Morris Park, a hat-trick of goals from Seamus Callinan helped the holders to a 4-16 to 1-16 win over Mary Immaculate College from Limerick. Callinan, one of the stars of last season, finished that game with a tally of 3-7. Tipperary fielded a relatively strong side in last week’s game, while experimenting in some positions. Paul Curran, Shane McGrath, Conor O’Mahoney, Pádraic Maher, Kieran Bergin, Gearóid Ryan, Patrick Maher, Seamus Callinan and James Woodlock all saw action against the Limerick college and are expected to be in the squad again this week for the clash …

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Coughlan targets March 5 return date

CLARE and Kilmurry Ibrickane footballer Enda Coughlan is hoping that he will be given the all clear to resume playing on March 5. The 29 year old Garda injured the cruciate in his left knee playing championship football for his club in Doonbeg against Kilkee last July. Since the operation on September 9, Coughlan has been training six nights weekly in the gym and on the running track. “It’s coming on very well. I was up with (surgeon) Ray Moran before Christmas and he said that there is only 14% strength deficit between the legs. Once that’s down to 10% you can go back playing. I have a few other things to work on and I’m back up to him then on March 5 and hopefully I’ll be cleared to play then,” the Clare utility footballer told The Clare Champion this week. Coughlan has been told that gaining full confidence in the repaired knee is possibly the most difficult step …

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Lifetime achievement award for Eugene

AT the Clare Camogie awards night, Kilmaley’s Eugene McMahon was named as the Lifetime Achievement Award winner for his service to the sport. Eugene has served club and county with passion, dedication and love of the game over a number of years. He is a founding member of Kilmaley Camogie Club, where he has managed and trained teams. Eugene has given of his time, experience and expertise to county teams, including the Clare junior team of 2006, winners of Munster and National League honours, as well as getting to the Junior All-Ireland semi-final. Eugene was also involved with the Clare Camogie Supporters Club. Eugene’s wife, Anne and daughter, Claire accepted the award on his behalf. The volunteer of the year award went to Cratloe’s Audrey McMahon. Audrey has been secretary of the club since it was formed four years ago.

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Low fitness levels among teens

NEW research has  found a measurable negative impact on the health of blood vessels in 15 and 16-year-old boys with low fitness levels. This disturbing detail was released to mark the launch of Aviva Health’s Schools’ Fitness Challenge 2015 Boys with low fitness levels, who performed poorly in a 20m shuttle run test, were also more likely to be overweight, have higher blood pressure and cholesterol when compared to children with moderate to high fitness levels. Heart disease, which involves the build-up of plaque in the walls of blood vessels, is the leading cause of death in Ireland. The research found that boys with low levels of fitness had significantly more plaque in the walls of the arteries supplying the brain than the boys with high levels of fitness. In 2014, nine Clare schools (50% of secondary schools) signed up for the Schools’ Fitness Challenge. A total of 13,067 students (7,242 boys and 5,825 girls) from 26 counties across Ireland successfully …

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Healy retires from inter-county football

ENNISTYMON’S Laurence Healy has opted to end his nine year inter-county football career. The 33 year old school teacher was not a regular starter in 2014 and has decided to call a halt as Clare near the start of their 2015 division 3 NFL campaign. “I loved the training part and playing with the best players in the county. Getting to mark some of the best players in Ireland was also something I enjoyed. Last year I was on the panel but I was a sub. When you’re used to starting it’s hard to face into being a panellist. Steven Gerrard had the same issue at Liverpool,” Healy joked. “I’m not good at being a sub anyway. I know that from last year. I suppose you’re selfish in that way in that you just want to be playing. It was great that the team went well but it’s just not the same when you’re not playing,” he conceded. Healy said that …

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McDonagh backs radical alteration to inter-county schedule

CLARE County Board chairman Michael McDonagh has supported 1993 Derry All-Ireland winner Joe Brolly’s suggestion that the inter-county league and championship system should be completely overhauled. In fact the Miltown Malbay clubman has told The Clare Champion that the national hurling and football leagues should start in January, while the All-Ireland finals should be completed by August 1. “I think the clubs have been let down by an expanded inter-county scene and I think it’s now time to start a national debate on it. My own opinion is that the inter-county leagues should start in January and finish by March. We should be able to run out county leagues in tandem with that,” McDonagh said. “Inter-county championships should start in April and finish by mid July. This would enable our club championships to start in August and finish by the end of September. I don’t think there should be any such thing as the McGrath Cup or the O’Bryne Cup. …

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Inagh-Kilnamona to lose Arthur brothers?

THE newly-elected senior hurling management team at Inagh-Kilnamona will, it seems, have to plan without two of the team’s leading lights, the Arthur brothers, Ger  and Niall. Both are understood to have indicated to the club that they intend playing their club hurling in Dublin, where they work and live. Should this prove to be the case, it will mean that nine members of the team that reached the Clare championship semi-final in 2012, will not be available to the club in 2015. Jamie Davin (full-back) and David Hegarty (centre-back) have both retired. Brian Glynn is in Australia, while his brother, Eamonn, is in New York. Eoin Vaughan is also in Australia and Cathal Lafferty moved to Dublin at the beginning of last season. Ronan O’Looney re-graded to junior last year.

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Limerick man regains tree throwing title

Limerick man, John O’Dea regained the Irish Christmas Tree Throwing Championship title he last won in 2013 when he threw his tree a distance of 8.6 metres. Organised by Clare County Council, in conjunction with Active Ennis Sports and Leisure Facilities, the fourth annual event took place at Active Ennis Tim Smyth Park on Sunday, with all proceeds going to ISPCC Childline. Mr O’Dea was unable to beat the current Irish Record of 10.3 metres, which he shares with Dubliner Gary O’Growney, but the Cappamore man managed to stave off competition from 250 others to reclaim the Irish championship trophy. Meanwhile, the winner of the ladies section was Audrey Kavanagh (4.1m) while the U-12 section was won by Shane Kenny.

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