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Blues complete Clare Champion Cup three-in-a-row

Newmarket-on-Fergus 2-20 Inagh/Kilnamona 0-16   Newmarket-on-Fergus completed the first three-in-a-row in the Clare Champion Cup for over 30 years on Saturday, their club pocketing the €3,500 winners prize in the process. The Blues were without doubt the better side and as early as the ninth minute, when Shane Liddy had their second goal, it was hard to see them being beaten at a Clarecastle venue that was in great condition for the time of year. Inagh/Kilnamona trailed for nearly 90% of the game, but they fought as best they could and did mange to cut an eight-point half-time deficit to four but, crucially, they never brought the gap back to a single score, which could have really tested Bob Enright’s men. The early goals were crucial and the Blues had clearly decided to focus on green flags. After seven minutes they trailed 0-3 to 0-2, but had already gone for majors on three occasions when points were there for the …

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Sixmilebridge had no answers

By Seamus Hayes Na Piarsaigh, Limerick 4-14 Sixmilebridge 0-8 Sixmilebridge’s dream of a fourth Munster club senior hurling title was well and truly buried at Cusack Park in Ennis when they had no answer to the power of their Limerick counterparts Na Piarsaigh. Before an attendance of 3,689, the Clare champions were beaten in all sections and Na Piarsaigh had secured their place in the All-Ireland final long before the final whistle sounded. Managed and coached by Sixmilebridge man Sean Stack, the Limerick champions dominated in almost every sector and they led from the first minute when Kevin Downes found the net in their first attack. They were six points clear at half time when the score was 1-8 to 0-5 and any hopes of a Sixmilebridge fight back were rocked thirty seconds after the resumption when the visitors had their second goal, Kevin Ryan deflecting a Shane Dowling delivery past Derek Fahy.         Goal number three arrived …

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Miltown’s challenge fades after bright start

By Seamus Hayes Clyda Rovers, Cork 0-10 Miltown St.Josephs 0-7 An impressive start at the Gaelic grounds in Limerick on Saturday suggested that Miltown’s dream of becoming the first Clare club won win the Munster intermediate football championship title might be realised. However, after landing four points in the first six minutes, they didn’t score again in the half and, in fact, had to wait until the twelfth minute of the second half, all of thirty six minutes for their next score. In between the Cork champions had kicked eight points, six of which came in the first half at the end of which they were 0-6 to 0-4 in front. The greater experienced, patience and superior physical strength of the men from Mourne Abbey near Mallow proved too much for the Clare champions and there is no disputing their victory on a day when one of their best performers was recently appointed Clare senior coach, Paudie Kissane.     Things looked …

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From rags to riches for Miltown?

TWELVE months ago, morale was very low in Miltown after the GAA club lost its senior status for the first time in its 125-year history. Beaten by Lissycasey in a replay, they were sent crashing to intermediate ranks last November. Now the club is buzzing, after the adult team bounced back to reclaim their place in the top group. For Miltown St Joseph’s followers, in particular, and for Clare football fans, in general, all roads lead to the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick this Saturday for their provincial decider appearance. “Last year was awful. Everyone felt they had let themselves and everyone in the parish down. No-one had any problem in telling us we let them down. It really didn’t hit home until draws were made at the beginning of the year for this year’s championship and we weren’t in it. “We simply had to win the Clare title this year and we probably put pressure on ourselves without realising it,” …

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Historic first title for Cratloe

THIS generation of Cratloe players just keep on giving to their club. Their latest delivery is the Jack Daly Cup and a first senior football championship title in the club’s 126-year history. They landed Jack with the minimum of fuss and without playing close to their optimum. This was underlined when the new champions played significantly better on Sunday in their provincial semi-final defeat of Ballinacourty. Even in winning, Cratloe were somewhat understated. They greeted an era defining championship win in the same manner another club might celebrate a league title. Of course, the fact that they had to play again the following day was unquestionably a factor in that. There was a nice symmetry to their success in that Óige Murphy captained Cratloe, 33 years after his father and Cratloe selector Martin, captained Kilmihil to their only senior championship in 1980. What will disappoint Doonbeg most is that they didn’t really go for it. They defended fairly well as …

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Sixmilebridge all set for provincial decider

Sixmilebridge  1-17 Midleton  1-13 AFTER a somewhat tentative start, Clare senior hurling champions Sixmilebridge produced an outstanding performance to overcome Midleton in the provincial senior club championship semi-final at Pairc Úi Caoimh on Sunday. The ‘Bridge were fully deserving of the win, which gives them a Munster final date with Na Piarsaigh from Limerick on Sunday. The involvement of former Sixmilebridge great, Sean Stack, as manager of the Limerick outfit, will add spice to the tie. Midleton, who had ended a 22-year wait for victory, in the Cork championship, had a two week break ahead of Sunday’s meeting, while the Clare champions captured their 11th title when defeating the holders Newmarket just seven days previously. It took the Clare champions a while to settle and they can count themselves fortunate not to have been a few points behind at the end of the opening quarter, when Midleton were guilty of some poor shooting. They hit five wides in that period, …

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To star in Hong Kong or Limerick?

FOUR members of Cratloe’s senior football championship winning squad are faced with an agonising dilemma – do they travel to Hong Kong with the All-Star hurling team next week or stay at home to play with their club in the Munster final. However, that scenario may yet change as the Cratloe club has lodged a request with Munster Council for a postponement of their final meeting with holders, Dr Croke’s from Killarney. A meeting of the council’s Competitions Control Committee on this Thursday evening will deliberate on the request. The final is scheduled for Sunday, December 1 at The Gaelic Grounds in Limerick. Podge Collins, Conor Ryan, Conor McGrath and Brendan Bugler were named on the All-Stars hurling team and they are due to travel to Hong Kong on Wednesday next where an exhibition match against the 2012 All-Stars team is scheduled. They will return the following Wednesday, December 3, two days after the provincial club football final is due …

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Turbo-charged Cratloe ease into Munster final

Cratloe  1-10 Ballinacourty (Waterford) 0-11 GETTING stronger as the game wore on, Cratloe defied the perceived wisdom that playing a Munster club semi-final, the day after their first Clare football championship win, would derail them. Instead they showed that they have the most admirable collection of lungs in Munster GAA. Rather than celebrate the clubs historic county final win on Saturday night, Cratloe spent the evening in the ice chamber, preparing for Sunday’s provincial semi-final in Cusack Park, which was watched by 873 paying customers. Come Sunday evening, they had plenty of time to party with a Munster club final appearance on December 1 also in the bag, against reigning Munster champions Dr Croke’s. Sadly for Cratloe and particularly for Conor McGrath, they will have to take on the Kerry champions without their inspirational corner forward. Quiet against Doonbeg in the county final, McGrath was magnificent against Ballinacourty. His daintily finished goal was the games pivotal score, while he also …

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