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Magpies and St.Josephs celebrate

  By Seamus Hayes All-Ireland final replay weekend got off to a bright start for Cratloe and Clarecastle when they catured the junior A and under 21 B hurling championship titles respectively on Friday evening. Through to the final since early May, the under 21 players from Clarecastle and Feakle-Killanena finally played their final at Dr. Daly Park in Tulla. The magpies led by three points, 1-8 to 1-5 at half time. Feakle-Killanena fought back to within a point of their opponents ten minutes into the second half but the magpies pulled away in the final twenty minutes to secure the title. Meanwhile, at Sixmilebridge, Cratloe scored a narrow win over St. Josephs to claim the junior A crown. The sides were evently matched throughout but a goal in each half proved decisive for Cratloe who won on a final scoreline of 2-11 to 0-15. Liscannor will continue in senior football in 2014 after they secured their status with a …

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John Galvin, general manager the Clare Champion presents Louise Dunworth of Tulla and her son Harry (2) with a pair of tickets fro the All-Ireland hurling final replay in Croke park, first prize in the recent Clare Champion facebook competition. Photograph by John Kelly.

All Ireland winner

John Galvin, managing director of the Clare Champion presents Louise Dunworth of Tulla and her son Harry (2) with a pair of tickets for the All-Ireland hurling final replay in Croke park, first prize in the Clare Champion facebook competition. Log onto our website clarechampion.ie for live updates during Saturday’s match and follow us on twitter @clarechampion

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Historic occasion for Clare soccer

Clare 5   Limerick 3 THURSDAY evening was an historic occasion for Clare soccer as the first competitive match was played under the league’s new floodlights at the County Grounds in Doora. Adding to the sense of enjoyment was the fact that the game was the opening round in this season’s Oscar Traynor, inter-league junior football competition and Clare marked the occasion with a merited victory over neighbours Limerick, one of the fancied teams for the title. A superb first half saw Clare dominate and deservedly take a 3-0 lead to the break. It could have been a bigger lead for the home team, had they availed of all of the chances they created. Eoin Hayes capped an excellent performance with a hat-trick. His first came in the eighth minute, his second four minutes into the second half, a score that put the winners  four clear, and his third  in the third minute of injury time, when he converted a penalty …

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Clare fans are expected to turnout in large numbers to welcome the Clare hurlers home watch Clare V Galway in the Under 21 Semi Final.Pic Arthur Ellis.

Homecoming for Clare hurlers

WIN, lose or draw, Ennis Town Council and Clare County Council will host a joint homecoming event for the Clare senior hurlers and their management in recognition of their hurling exploits this season. The homecoming will also celebrate the success of the Clare U-21 hurlers in winning back-to-back All-Ireland titles and the squad, along with their management, will also be introduced to the crowd at Tim Smythe Park, formerly known as The Fairgreen, on Sunday night. Entertainment will commence at 6pm and both teams are expected to arrive at 7.30pm. The homecoming event will be broadcast to worldwide audiences on the Ennis App and on www.ennisapp.ie. Public parking arrangements and traffic restrictions will be in place. Road closures will be in place from 4.30pm to 12 midnight  at  Steele’s Terrace/Newbridge Road from College Road to Kelly’s Korner Roundabout, at New Road from its junction with Tulla Road and Newbridge Road, at Dr Daly Road from its junction with New Road …

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Well-wishers around the world

WHILE tens of thousands of Clare fans will watch their team in Croke Park this Saturday, many more will be cheering from around the world. Some will be shouting at big screens from bar stools early in the afternoon. Others will be wiping sleep from their eyes while cowering beneath mosquito nets. More will be shouting into the silence while clinging to their headphones. PE teacher Jayne McMahon from Ennis is living in Ulsan, an industrial city located on the south-east coast of Korea. There are some Irish there but none from Clare, as far as she knows. She will watch the match alongside a Cork man. The Gort Road woman hopes this will enhance the atmosphere. “Unfortunately, due to the time difference, I had to stream the last game on my laptop at home at 11pm Sunday night. I wasn’t in the most exciting atmosphere but I was still sitting on the edge of my seat with the tension …

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Three week gap can be challenging – Canning

ONE man with recent experience of preparing for an All-Ireland senior hurling replay is Galway’s Joe Canning. The Portumna man was in Thurles last Saturday week as a Bord Gais ambassador at the All-Ireland U-21 final. Canning rescued a replay for Galway with an injury time equaliser, 12 months ago. The replay with Kilkenny was the first in an All-Ireland since 1959. With hindsight, he says Galway would prepare differently but he feels gearing up for a replay is a challenging proposition. “We lost, so we’d have other ways of going about it that we might think of now. At the same time, it’s unknown territory for every team that’s in it. When you’re going into an All-Ireland, you’re thinking you’re going to win or lose, you’re not thinking about a replay,” he suggested. Canning remembers the weeks bridging the draw and replay dragged appreciably. “How to deal with the three weeks between the matches is the big thing. You’d …

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Free flowing Banner have it all their own way

Banner Ladies 6-24 Liscannor 1-4 FIRST off, let’s acknowledge the speed, skill level and fluency of the Banner Ladies’ first-half display. The champions played sublime football in the opening 30 minutes as they careered through Liscannor, establishing a 5-13 to 0-2 lead. While the huge Liscannor following in Cooraclare would understandably not concur, it was worth the admission fee to witness the imaginative, free-flowing excellence of Niamh O’Dea, Gráinne Nolan, Aoife Keane and Naomi Carroll. They played the game at a pace armed with precision and movement that Liscannor could not live with. Of course, it was very disappointing that the senior ladies football county final was so desperately one-sided. Saturday evening was perfect for football. The pitch was in top-class condition, the crowd sizeable and the Ladies Gaelic Football Association was represented by national president Pat Quill. Everything was set but the gulf between the competing teams was far too wide for any hope of a relatively even contest. …

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Olympic coach says Clare’s ‘hard work is done’

Brother Colm O’Connell is an athletics coach with credentials. He has led five Kenyans to Olympic gold medal glory, most recently David Rudisha at London 2012. A Catholic missionary, he is also a proud Cork man. He spoke to Nicola Corless about bringing the best out of athletes and the Banner’s ambition to beat his native county in the All-Ireland hurling final replay   ACCORDING to Brother Colm, Davy Fitzgerald and his charges already have the hard work done but some last-minute nerves are to be expected. “Getting an athlete ready for the biggest day of their sporting career is a long-term preparation. It is not something you do at the last minute. It is something you do for a couple of months before a big competition. It is the way you prepare your players, or in my case your athlete, for the fact they have to face a pressure situation. Sometimes you have people who can perform fantastic in …

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