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How five senior hurling teams will be relegated

Twenty teams set out in the Clare Senior Hurling Championship this year and heading into round three in the group stages next week, just half of that number remain in the running for the Canon Hamilton Trophy. For the remaining 10, however, there is a lot more at stake than in previous years. Heretofore, one team was relegated at the end of the campaign but, this year, five teams will loss their senior status and drop to intermediate for 2015. One of those to be relegated is already known. Ruan, as the bottom team in their group in the Senior B Championship, will be competing at intermediate level next year. The losers of next week’s match between Scariff and St Joseph’s Doora-Barefield will join them. In the event that game ends in a draw, St Joseph’s will make the drop, as they are pointless at this stage, whereas Scariff have one point from their draw with Broadford. The remaining three …

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A night to remember for Ballyea’s John Browne

Wednesday, July 30 is a night Ballyea trainer John Browne won’t forget in a hurry. Having watched his son, Jack, turn in a majestic display for Clare in their emphatic victory over Cork in the Munster U-21 Hurling Championship final at Cusack Park, Browne turned to his other sporting passion, greyhounds. He sent the home-bred Rathmeehan Holly (Droopy’s Scolari –Rathmeehan Maura) which he owns in partnership with John Collins from Ennis, to traps in The Flaherty Market S3 final at Galway Greyhound Stadium. As the traps rose for this final, Rathmeehan Holly and Mine Lark, owned and trained by Quin’s Frank Browne, were both smartly into stride, with Deanos Rocky in third place along the rails, as they raced towards the opening bend. Rounding the bend, Rathmeehan Holly struck the front and quickly went two lengths clear, as Clydagh Johnny tried to close from the rear but Rathmeehan Holly was not to be denied as she scored by four and …

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Dysart’s Conrad pedalling for a good cause

THE annual Tour De Munster charity cycle will see cyclists from across the province take to the roads in Clare on this Friday. While the route does not extend into the north of the county, Dysart’s Conrad McCullough is taking part in the event, which is raising money for Down Syndrome Ireland. The 23-year-old has Down Syndrome himself and loves cycling, so he will participate alongside the likes of Seán Kelly for the Clare leg of the event, when it leaves Killaloe on Friday. About 120 amateur cyclists will take off from the City Hall in Waterford on a 640km charity cycle around Munster over the course of four days from Thursday to Sunday. Conrad’s love of cycling came from his parents. He is a member of Burren Cycling Club with his mother, Breda and his father, Brendan. “We were always involved in sport and when Conrad was very young, he was always on a bike with his brother and …

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Cratloe's Podge Collins battles with Sixmilebridges Tadgh Keogh during their Senior Hurling Championship game at Cusack Park Ennis on saturday.

Senior hurling champions dethroned

By Seamus Hayes Cratloe 1-18 Sixmilebridge 1-15 Clare senior hurling champions, Sixmilebridge, are out of the running for the 2014 title. At Cusack Park this Saturday evening, they suffered a three point defeat at the hands of their neighbours and great rivals Cratloe, a result that ended their hopes of holding onto the title they won impressively last year. Having already lost to Crusheen in the opening round, the Bridge had to win this one to remain in the race. To their credit, they put in a  strong performance but, they just could not break down a stubborn Cratloe outfit. The winners played with the aid of the wind in the opening half and were five points up at half time when the score was 1-10 to 0-8, the goal coming from Conor McGrath midway through the half. That the defending champions were not going to go down easily was evident in the opening two minutes of the second half …

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Loughnane enters dual player debate

FORMER Clare hurling manager, Ger Loughnane has claimed that Podge Collins was not “half the player” in 2014 that he was in 2013. Speaking on RTE’s The Sunday Game last weekend, he attributed this to the 2013 All-Star playing football for his county in 2014. “You cannot maximise your potential. If you take even one of the stars of last year for Clare, Podge Collins; now why was he so good for Clare last year? Because any time he wasn’t training with the team, he was out on his own practising hurling, with maybe a hundred balls on his own hitting them from all over the field. Look at the way he played,” Loughnane said. “Now, this year, he does half and half and he ends up with nothing. He isn’t half the hurler he was last year. You can do it but how could you possibly be as effective if you just concentrate on one? Remember, all of the …

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Another injury blow for O’Donnell

By Seamus Hayes Clare under 21 hurler Shane O’Donnell has been dealt another blow with confirmation that he suffered a hand injury in Wednesday’s Munster final win over Cork. A broken  bone in the hand is set to keep the talented Ennis man out of action for the next four weeks. Having missed much of the season due to a hamstring injury, the Eire Og clubman returned to score a crucial goal in Clare’s extra time win over Tipperary in the Munster final. He was back in the starting line up forWednesday’s final date with Cork and scored his side’s first half goal before being replaced late in the game due to the injury. “He is extremely doubtful for the All-Ireland semi-final date with Antrim on August 23” joint team manager Gerry O’Connor said. The injury is a huge blow to his club Eire Og who face Wolfe Tones in round 2 of the senior hurling championship on this Sunday …

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Munster glory for Clare U-21 hurlers

Clare 1-28 Cork 1-13 By Seamus Hayes IN making history at Cusack Park this evening, Clare’s U-21 hurlers turned in a truly memorable performance which earned them a third Munster title in-a-row and a fourth title in all. On the evidence of this performance, it will take a huge effort to stop a side captained by Tony Kelly from going on to win a third All-Ireland in succession. A glance at the records of this competition, which was introduced in 1964, will show that there have been a number of one-sided games and Clare have been at the wrong end of their share of these. There were many in the attendance of 12,995 at Wednesday’s final who returned from various venues throughout the province after tasting heavy defeats so, understandably, this result will have pleased them. There were many outstanding performances and while no one will disagree with the choice of midfielder Colm Galvin as the man of the match, …

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NUI Galway honours horse trainers

Amidst the excitement of the annual Galway Race Festival at Ballybrit, two of its most famous supporters left the track to receive honorary degrees this Wednesday. Top trainers, Dermot Weld and Jim Bolger were both conferred with Degree of Doctor of Arts (honoris causa) at NUI Galway for their outstanding contribution to the world of Irish horseracing. The enormous benefit they have brought to Galway through their long-standing association with the famous racing festival was acknowledged during the conferring ceremony. Dermot Weld has been the leading trainer at Galway for many years, while Jim Bolger has also registered many winners. Both are very well-known to many Clare racing fans, who are strong supporters of the Galway festival. Meanwhile, it will be all glamour and glitz at the Ballybrit venue on this Thursday for Ladies’ Day. The Anthony Ryan’s Best Dressed Lady, Best Hat & Wear Irish Competition boasts a prize package of €20,000.

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