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There’s strength on the bench

INADVERENTLY, Davy Fitzgerald drew unhelpful attention upon himself and Clare by not attending the All-Ireland press night in Ennis. In a year in which most of his important decisions, relating to what happens on the field, have been vindicated, that was a poor call by the Clare manager and his advisers. The only way Clare will avoid being rounded upon by the national media is if they win on Sunday. While Fitzgerald might justifiably feel he is entitled to make up his own mind if he attends these events or not, in effect he turned a negative focus on Clare by staying away. In contrast, Jimmy Barry Murphy was available to all sections of the media at the Cork press day in Pairc Uí Rínn. That level of co-operation guarantees nothing and will mean nothing if Cork lose but it does suggest the Cork manager is more comfortable dealing with an All-Ireland final build up. By not making a fuss …

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Dan the Man recalls Davy’s Waterford reign

IT’S a first senior final for every Clare player but as well as playing, manager Davy Fitzgerald has managed a team in an All-Ireland before. It’s presumably something he does not look back on fondly; Waterford met a Kilkenny side at the peak of their powers and were beaten 3-30 to 1-13. Dan Shanahan was involved and while he doesn’t look back on the game fondly either, he doesn’t lay the blame with the management of the time. “We’d a lot of work done and to the credit of Davy and the selectors, they took a lot of limelight off us. Everything was organised but Kilkenny were very good that day,” he says. “When you get to the All-Ireland, you have to go and get measured for suits and things like that and we got it done fairly quick. It was just on the day that our tactics didn’t work.” On the day, some Waterford players made rather unsuccessful early …

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Fond memories of All-Ireland celebrations

ONE iconic photograph on the top floor of the national GAA museum illustrates the scenes of sheer jubilation after the 1995 All-Ireland hurling final. Despite being placed in the middle of a line of GAA legends, it is still eye-catching even for non-GAA diehards who are interested in photography. It captures part of Anthony Daly’s hand hoisting the Liam McCarthy Cup aloft in the air with O’Brien’s Tower in the background, the day after the Banner’s thrilling victory over Offaly. Seán McMahon remembers standing behind the Clare captain when this photograph was being taken. He recalls Clare Champion photographer John Kelly also asked Anthony Daly to stand for a photograph on the way back from Shannon Airport to Ennis in an open-topped bus. Speaking to GAA supporters as he conducted the GAA legends tour series in Croke Park recently, the Doora-Barefield clubman estimates 40,000 Clare supporters gave the team a rapturous welcome in Ennis. “It was a brilliant time for …

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Clare bid to quash Rebels

THE lyrics have been composed, the flags unfurled and the Banner bangers have been wheeled out, leaving the county gripped in hurling final fever, ahead of Sunday’s All-Ireland final showdown with Cork. The game has massive global appeal, with Clare’s diaspora going to great efforts to travel home from great distances or gathering with friends in their homes, bars or GAA clubs to see the drama unfold. The frenetic scramble for tickets continues unabated and despite the Clare GAA County Board receiving a second allocation from Croke Park, hundreds of dejected Clare fans are still exploring all avenues in the hope of securing that elusive ticket. However, for those who don’t get to Croker, Ennis Town Council has stepped in to help. Abbey Street car park will be transformed on Sunday afternoon as the town authority hopes to generate an electric atmosphere by broadcasting the game live on a big screen. Entertainment gets underway at 2.30pm and will continue until …

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Kilmurry Ibrickane hosts national ladies tournament

WHILE much of Clare will be heading to Dublin this weekend, 32 clubs from almost 20 counties will decamp to Quilty, Mullagh, Miltown and Kilmihil on Saturday, when Kilmurry Ibrickane Ladies Club will host the inaugural KIB All-Ireland U-16 seven-a-side tournament. Kilmurry Ibrickane, West Clare Gaels, Banner Ladies and Burren Gaels are the four Clare clubs competing. Kilmurry club treasurer, Therese Doohan says the idea to host the tournament dawned on them last year. “We went to the Kilmacud Crokes U-14 tournament. Above there, we met a good few of the other teams and we were talking about how little there was for U-16s and minors. We were asking was there an U-16 or minor seven-a-side and we were told there wasn’t,” she explained. “So Martina [Maloney], myself, Pat McCarthy, Aidan Moloney and my husband, Francis, were talking about it and we decided we’d apply for it. We knew we had good facilities in the area between our own grounds, …

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Lissycasey march on to quarter-finals

By Seamus Hayes Lissycasey 1-11 St Joseph’s 1-8 Beaten finalists for the last two years, St Joseph’s are out of the 2013 title race after suffering a three-point defeat at Hennessy Park in Miltown on Saturday evening. Extra time was required before Lissycasey emerged as winners on a day when a strong closing 10 minutes in normal time saw the Doora-Barefield outfit wipe out a five-point lead. There were plenty of talking points in a game that produced a penalty for each side and a sending-off for the losers, all of which had a key part in the game, as did the introduction of teenager Oisín Hanrahan by Lissycasey near the end of the third quarter. He kicked two excellent points and was fouled for the penalty, which led to the team’s goal. St Joseph’s were awarded a penalty in the 22nd minute but Joe Hayes produced a fine save from Cathal O’Sullivan. Lissycasey’s penalty came at the mid-point of …

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Cookie’s monsters unhinge defensive O’Curry’s

by Seamus Hayes Kilmurry-Ibrickane 0-8 O’Curry’s 0-6 COUNTY champions, Kilmurry-Ibrickane struggled to break down O’Curry’s blanket defensive approach in Doonbeg last Saturday. The 2012 intermediate champions set out to defend in depth and while that approach kept them in the game, the fact that they only kicked one second-half score, from Eoin Troy, cost them the chance of a stunning win. For most of the 60 minutes, O’Curry’s defensive tackling was disciplined and effective. They held up the man in the tackle and when they did concede scoreable frees, Ian McInerney and Mark (Cookie) McCarthy kicked first-half wides, which they would have expected to put over without a second thought. Crucially though, McCarthy kicked a brace of superb long-range second-half points for Kilmurry, while their last point was a 45-yard free from the same player. Those scores underlined that the most effective way to break down O’Curry’s massed defensive numbers was to kick scores from distance. McCarthy and substitute Seamus …

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First-half goals win it for Kilrush

By Peter O’Connell Kilrush 2-11 Kilkee 0-7 A LIGHTNING start helped Kilrush into the quarter-final of the senior football championship. After less than seven minutes, the 2012 county semi-finalists led 2-1 to 0-0, following neat goal finishes from Chris Dixon and Rory O’Connor. The winners led 2-4 to 0-2 at half-time and while their level dipped appreciably in the opening 15 minutes of the second half, they were never in real danger of being reeled in by Kilkee. Kilrush’s ploy of using corner-forward Jack Browne in a free outfield role worked very well, as the Kilrush youngster picked up plenty of possession and used it intelligently. It was Browne’s lovely cross-field pass, changing the direction of play, which set up corner-back Niall Clancy for a nicely taken left-footed point. Dixon scored Kilrush’s first goal in the fourth minute, his finishing resembling that of Robin Van Persie. The ball broke to the Kilrush midfielder, after a Stephen Sweeney shot was blocked. …

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