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A great day for young fans

THE most telling moment in Thurles on Saturday evening was when hundreds of determined Clare youngsters, mostly under the age of 10, lined up four or five deep on both sidelines in Semple Stadium. It should be noted that they leaped over the hoardings with a minute or two still left on Colm Lyons stopwatch, determined to position themselves in the scramble for photo opportunities and autographs. It underlines the depth of interest engendered in the children of Clare when Podge Collins is still on the field at 7.30pm, well over an hour after the game finished. It’s likely that Antrim were well up the road towards Belfast and the famous Glens, by the time the Clare players eventually made the dressing room. Perhaps that’s where the real value in Clare’s facile win was. It gave an opportunity for the children of the county to storm onto Semple Stadium, surround their heroes and make sure that they didn’t get away …

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The team that started the revolution

  DESPITE the fact that Clare were raging hot favourites to retain the under-21 All-Ireland hurling title, Clare joint manager Donal Moloney said there was never any question of them taking things for granted. “This had to be done for the team of 2010. We were so disappointed we didn’t win the All-Ireland minor title in 2010. There were the guys that started all the change; that started the revolution for us,” he said as he watched team captain, Paul Flanagan accept the All-Ireland trophy from GAA president, Liam O’Neill. “We should cherish these times. We have a lot of very, very good players and we have some outstanding players.  No matter how hard people work at underage hurling and no matter how hard the clubs work, you won’t always have as crop like that. A new generation has come and  some of them are exceptional. Hopefully, the hard work will continue. These could be a very special few years …

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Browne delight at All-Ireland winning display

CLARE and Ballyea corner back Jack Browne, like his team-mates, was still on the Thurles sod well over an hour after the final whistle. It’s not unkind to Antrim to suggest that the Clare players were under more pressure signing autographs and posing for photographs, than they had been in the game itself. “I didn’t think there was this many people in Clare,” Jack Browne laughed, surrounded by young autograph hunters, who were trading secrets on what player was where across the fabled Tipperary sward. “It means everything. When you’re growing up as a young lad, all you want to do is win an All-Ireland medal. It’s great,” he said of Clare’s third All-Ireland U/21 win. Jack Browne couldn’t believe the size of the crowd roaring on Clare, given that the seniors will be back in Croke Park on September 28. “There was a massive Clare crowd. The roaring that was going on for Clare scores was great. When we …

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Match-sharp Lissycasey tipped to make semi-final

WERE it not for Colin Lynch, Lissycasey may not have been playing senior football at all in 2013. Lynch, who is part of the Ennistymon management, along with Mark Shanahan and Cathal Crowe, came out of football retirement last year to assist his native club in retaining their senior status. He kicked three points in their relegation final replay defeat of Miltown. An integral component of Lissycasey’s 2007 championship winning team, Lynch has to put his personal affiliations aside on Sunday in Clarecastle. Everyone involved with Ennistymon will remember how poorly they played at the same stage last year, when they lost to Kilrush in Quilty. Memories of that implosion will motivate them this weekend as they attempt to reach the semi-final stage of the senior championship. When that will be played nobody knows but that doesn’t dilute the desire of Ennistymon and Lissycasey to reach that stage. To reach the quarter-final Ennistymon defeated St Breckan’s in Round 1 and …

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Tones to overcome Clondegad as fixture pile-up looms

THE losers of the Clondegad v Wolfe Tones second round losers game on Sunday in Clarecastle will have to face into playing a relegation semi-final against Liscannor. That stark fact will be to the forefront of both clubs thinking ahead of Sunday’s game, which has been held up for several weeks. Wolfe Tones cited the absence of Aaron Cunningham, due to his senior hurling commitments, as the reason why they couldn’t play, while at a county board meeting earlier this summer, Clondegad pointed to the fact that Tony Kelly and Paul Flanagan are also tied up with the senior hurlers. Clondegad lost their first round game to Éire Óg while Wolfe Tones were comprehensively beaten by Kilkee. It’s difficult to predict a winner given that neither club has any recent form line to go on. However, Wolfe Tones have more experience of playing senior football and perhaps that might edge the result in their favour. The prize for the winners …

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Magnificent Clare can up it another notch

SO did Clare leave it behind them? Emphatically, no. The sight of Domhnall O’Donovan on his back, while all around him Clare men, women and children were leaping into the Dublin skyline illustrates the depth of courage and mettle that has been drilled into this panel of Clare men. Had there been a chink of self-doubt or self-pity, Cork would have Liam McCarthy with them this week in the southern capital. In a game largely ruled by Clare, Cork led just the once. That they did so, a minute and a half into a mere two minutes of injury time, underlines the perilous precipice on which Clare stood. Eighteen months of work was imploding before their disbelieving eyes, while decades of regret loomed. Had Cork clung on to their one-point lead, they would have snaffled a 31st All-Ireland title that they did not earn. If they win the replay, at least they will probably have to hurl for longer and …

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Clare make one change

  THERE  is one change in personnel on the Clare under-21 hurling team from the side which started against Galway for Saturday’s All-Ireland final clash with Antrim. Cathal Malone retains his place at wing forward in place of Aaron Cunningham. The Ennistymon man replaced Cunningham when the Wolfe Tones player suffered a hamstring injury in the semi-final. Cunningham is named among the substitutes. The Clare team is: Ronan Taaffe (Tubber); Paul Flanagan (Ballyea) captain, David McInerney (Tulla), Jack Browne (Ballyea); Seadna Morey (Sixmilebridge), Alan O’Neill (St Joseph’s) Stephen O’Halloran (Clarecastle); Colm Galvin (Cratloe), Tony Kelly (Ballyea); Peter Duggan (Clooney-Quin), Paudge Collins (Cratloe), Cathal Malone (Ennistymon); Cathal O’Connell (Clonlara), Shane O’Donnell (Éire Óg) Davy O’Halloran (Éire Óg). Subs: Keith Hogan (Clooney-Quin), Niall Arthur (Inagh-Kilnamona), Aaron Cunningham (Wolfe Tones), Jarlath Colleran (St Joseph’s) Enda Boyce (Cratloe), Mikey O’Neill (Kilmaley), Kevin Lynch (Sixmilebridge), Darragh Corry (Tulla) and Daire Keane (Kilmaley). Seamus Hayes

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Anger as football reverts to seeded draw

AT a meeting of the Munster GAA Council  in Limerick on Thursday, a proposal from the Provincial Competitions Control Committee (CCC) to change the format to a seeded draw for the 2014 Munster senior football championship was adopted. This means that the 2014 format will keep the 2013 finalists, Cork and Kerry, at opposite sides of the draw. The CCC  proposed a change back to the seeded draw and this was seconded by Cork. Tipperary proposed that Cork and Kerry get byes to the semi-finals, with the remaining four counties, Clare, Limerick, Waterford and Tipperary playing off for the other two semi-final spots after which the semi-final pairings would be decided by means of an open draw. The proposal to revert to the seeded draw was carried by six votes to three. Each County has one representative on the CCC while the officers with the exception of the full time officials (secretary and assistant secretary) are also allowed to vote. …

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