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Hey ref, it’s for charity

A REQUEST made to members of the national GAA referees panel to highlight an awareness of cancer Clare referee Rory Hickey had his head shaved at the Éire Óg clubhouse. “Back in the autumn, the members of the national referees group were asked to do something to heighten an awareness of cancer. Some of the lads participated in a fundraiser in November and others are doing their project now,” the Ennis man told The Clare Champion. “In conjunction with Micheál Malone from D Barber shop in Francis Street, we decided to participate in a shave and dye project,” explained the Éire Óg GAA clubman, who had his head dyed on Monday last. At Thursday’s event, Rory and Micheál completed the project. “Unfortunately, everyone we speak to has a cancer-related story. Even in our own club, we have had some cancer-related losses over the years,” said Rory, adding that he lost an uncle to cancer in the not too distant past. …

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First half goals key for Clare

By Peter O’Connell Clare 2-14 London 1-8 FIRST half goals from Enda Coughlan and Gary Brennan were pivotal in steering Clare to the top of the division 4 table in Ruislip on Sunday afternoon. Playing with a strong first half breeze the goals helped Clare into a 2-7 to 1-3 half time lead. Martin O’Leary kicked two first half points for the winners, with Podge Collins, Shane McGrath, Dean Ryan, David Tubridy and Gary Brennan also pointing. However Clare conceded a soft first half goal when a Lorcan Mulvey shot deceived Clare goalkeeper Pierce Deloughrey and full back Gordon Kelly. With a stiff breeze in their face Clare outscored London 0-7 to 0-5 in the second half. Martin O’Leary and Shane McGrath put over a brace apiece, while Podge Collins, Tubridy and Sean Collins added a point each. This was a decent display from Clare who introduced Alan Clohessy, Rory Donnelly and debutante Jack O’Dea to the 2014 league. Their …

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From point to point in Killaloe

POINT-to-point action returns to the county this weekend with the East Clare Harriers’ hosting their annual meeting on the Flynn family lands at Garranboy, Killaloe. Always a well-supported fixture, Sunday’s meeting kicks off at 1pm with a six-year-old mares’ maiden and this will be followed by a winners’ race. The third event is a five and six-year-old geldings’ maiden while half an hour later runners will go to post for an older geldings’ maiden. The penultimate contest is an older mares’ maiden while a competitive mares’ open will close the card. Stamina will be at a premium on Sunday over what is an undulating, but fair track which will certainly take a bit of getting given the inclement weather we have experienced over the past few weeks. Speaking ahead of Sunday’s fixture, East Clare Hunt point-to-point secretary Gerry English revealed: “We are all set for a great day’s racing. The course is in tip-top shape and we are lucky that …

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Foley appointed Munster Head Coach

KILLALOE man Anthony Foley will take over as Munster Rugby head coach from July 1. He is currently serving as forwards coach under Rob Penney whom he will replace in the role. Foley has signed a two year contract that will keep him at the province until June 2016. The Clare man, who was capped 62 times for Ireland and 201 times for Munster, retired from playing at the end of the 2007/08 season. He joined the Munster backroom staff in July 2008 as technical advisor and assistant coach for defence. Since then he has held the position of head coach with both the Munster U-20s and Munster’s British & Irish Cup squad that reached the inaugural B&I Cup final in May 2010. He moved on to his current position, Munster Rugby forwards coach, at the start of the 2011/12 season. Additionally, the 40-year-old has experience at national level as the forwards and head coach for the Ireland Wolfhounds and …

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Ennis a winner with hurling fixture

ENNIS Chamber has welcomed the added economic boost which came to the town with the hosting of Clare’s opening National Hurling League game against Kilkenny. “The success of the All-Ireland winning senior hurlers in winning their first Allianz hurling league match was made a little sweeter for the local economy by the thousands of people who came to Ennis to see the game yesterday.  The welcome reprieve in the recent stormy weather conditions also meant that spectators were able to travel in comfort.  Given the calibre  of teams in Division 1 of the league and as kingpins in hurling, Kilkenny attracted many of their supporters to follow their team to the West of Ireland,” commented Chamber CEO, Rita McInerney. “Ennis Chamber welcomes the playing of such league games in the County Grounds of Cusack Park.  It brought a real buzz to the town at an otherwise quiet time of year.  Local hotels reported a busy weekend both for Valentine’s and …

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Colin Ryan and Walter Walsh facing off in the first round of the National Hurling League at Cusack Park, Ennis.

A winning start for Clare

By Seamus Hayes   Clare 1-16 Kilkenny 0-18   THE meeting of the All-Ireland and National league hurling champions, Clare and Kilkenny, attracted just over 10,000 to Cusack Park in Ennis where the home side got their 2014 league campaign off to a winning start with a one point victory. It was a game which could have gone either way but, at the end of the day, the All-Ireland champions did enough to avenge last year’s league result at the same venue when Kilkenny won by the same margin. Given that there were huge doubts about the availability of the pitch all week, it held up remarkably well while being, understandably, heavy. For much of what was a very entertaining contest, it was a battle between the respective freetakers. Clare’s Colin Ryan, last year’s top scorer, contributed 1-9 of Clare’s tally while Henry Shefflin kept the Kilkenny flag flying high with an impressive tally of 0-12. It was a win …

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Roche becomes handball president

By Seamus Hayes CLARE’S Willie Roche took over as president of the GAA Handball, at the organisation’s annual congress in The Inn at Dromoland last weekend. Mr Roche from the Newmarket-on-Fergus club has had a long career in handball, first as a player and then as an administrator. He has fulfilled many roles including, most recently, that of chairman of the Munster Handball Council. He becomes the third Clare official to hold the prestigious post following in the footsteps of Caimin Jones, also Newmarket-on-Fergus, and Michael Boyce. In his address, Mr Roche spoke of his delight at securing the position and reflected on his involvement over a long period in the game. He outlined his plans for the next three years, as he seeks to progress the game at all levels. GAA president, Liam O’Neill, who also addressed delegates, spoke of the huge potential for the game of one wall handball and reiterated his view that he would like to …

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A family affair in handball

IT has been a busy week in the Coughlan household, as father and son, Fergal Snr and Jnr, captured Munster titles. On Wednesday of  last week,  Fergal Snr captured Clare’s first Munster title of the yea, when he defeated Cork’s Denis Quinn to take the Provincial Masters A singles title in Galbally, Limerick on a scoreline of 21-16, 21-11. His son, Fergal Jnr, who at just 16 years-of-age, captured the Munster minor title in defiant style in Tuamgraney on Monday evening in front of a packed gallery. This was an extra special final for County Clare handball follower,s as it was contested between two of Clare’s brightest handball talents, Colin Corbett of Tulla and Fergal Coughlan of Clooney. Both players got off to a tentative start with serves and aces exchanging hands on numerous occasions before Coughlan won the first game by the narrowest of margins, 21-20. In the second game Corbett started the best and maintained a strong lead …

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