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Much to play for in round 3

By Seamus Hayes There will be much to play for in round 3 of the Clare senior hurling championship next weekend after the completion of round 2 which leaves eighteen of the twenty teams in the competition still in with a chance of making it to the play offs. Defending champions Newmarket along with Crusheen, Clonlara, Ballyea and O’Callaghans Mills are the only unbeaten sides after two outings. They are in a strong position to advance but nothing is guaranteed and they wll need to get something from the upcoming round if they are to be in the play offs. Clonlara had five points to spare (1-17 to 1-12) over Clarecastle in a lively tie at Sixmilebride where Cathal ‘Tots’ O’Connell was their goalscorer. Crusheen, with Cian Dillon in sparkling form at centre back, were impressive 0-17 to 0-10 winners over a disappointing Inagh-Kilnamona at Cusack Park. At the same venue, Kilmaley got their campaign back on track with a …

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Hurlers return to action

By Seamus Hayes A week after their memorable All-Ireland final victory, many of the Clare senior hurlers returned to competitive action when the domestic championship resumed after a twenty week break. There were no surprises as three games were played in the senior A competition and a further two were decided in the senior B title race. Following his never to be forgotton display in Clare’s victory over Cork, nineteen year old Shane O’Donnell was in the Eire Og team that faced Smith O’Briens from Killaloe. Having lost their opening tie, victory was a must for the Ennis side in this one and they achieved this comfortable, winning on a 3-23 to 0-7 scoreline. O’Donnell, however, failed to get on the scoresheet on this occasion when his fellow inter county panellist, Davy O’Halloran hit some fine scores. O’Callaghans Mills, home club of Clare captain Pat Donnellan, scored their second win of the campaign when accounting for Ruan. Meanwhile in the …

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Nothing Cork could do about O’Donnell – McGrath

SPEAKING to The Clare Champion after the game, Cork selector Seanie McGrath said his wife, an Ennis native, would torment him later. “She’ll be doing my head in tonight!” he laughed, showing good humour in the face of disappointment. He acknowledged Shane O’Donnell’s three goals in the first 20 minutes had a huge bearing but said the scores had been created further out the field. “I wouldn’t say that we got caught out there. When we knew that Shane O’Donnell was in, we didn’t change our match up because we felt that Shane (O’Neill) was still well capable of handling it. I think that Shane O’Donnell had an outstanding game but a lot of the goals and the creation of those goals came from out the field to be fair. There were overlaps and he was at the end of some great moves. “But, all in all, he had an unbelievable game, 3-3 in an All-Ireland final. I’ve seen him …

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Podge in disbelief at how all this happened

by Peter O’Connell PODGE Collins talks with the same passion, clarity and honesty with which he hurls. The Cratloe dynamo peered out of the doorway that led to the Clare dressing room in Croke Park and was instantly corralled by a bevy of dictaphone-wielding reporters. The speed with which he was surrounded was similar to that of the Clare forwards closing down the Cork defenders, as they tried desperately to rid themselves of possession and drive it downfield. “At the start of the year, if you had told me that we’d be up lifting Liam MacCarthy at the top of those steps, I’d have laughed at you,” Podge replied when asked how this MacCarthy Cup winning lark was going down. “Being honest, you just don’t think that you’re going to get there and to get there today, is just absolutely unbelievable. It’s the best feeling I’ve ever experienced in my life. It has worked out lovely. Week-in week-out, it’s been …

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Clare top All-Star nominations

One thing is for certain, a Clare hurler will walk away with the accolade of Young Hurler of the Year as the three nominees for this year’s award are Tony Kelly, David McInerney and Podge Collins. In fact, both Kelly and Collins are also short-listed for the Player of the Year award with their only rival being Cork goalie, Anthony Nash. A total of 13 Clare players have been nominated for All-Stars in the 2013 GAA GPA  Awards announced on Wednesday night. The two that didn’t get nominated from the team that started last week-end’s All-Ireland final replay are defenders Cian Dillon and Patrick O’Connor, both of whom were solid all season if not spectacular. There are just 13 survivors from last year’s list of nominees and the final selection will be voted on at a judges’ meeting on Wednesday, November 6, with the awards banquet at Croke Park on Friday, November 8. Hurling All Star nominations Goalkeepers: Anthony Nash …

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County makes room for plethora of new legends

By Peter O’Connell THIS county has produced a platoon of fabled men and women. Cup an open ear towards the distant mists of time and hear the deeds of Brian Boru, Máire Rua, Biddy Earley and Captain Edward Kennedy resonate. If you were to happen upon a game of hurling, at a time of your choosing during the 20th century, the feats and skills of Pa ‘Fowler’ McInerney, Tommy Daly, Jimmy Smyth, Ger Loughnane, Brian Lohan, Seán McMahon and Jamesie O’Connor would leave you certain this was a county not short of sporting legends. A county not scraping around, searching forlornly for men worthy of having the saffron and blue placed on their backs, as reputedly Brian Boru had at the Battle of Clontarf in 1014. At close to 6.30pm on the evening of Saturday, September 28, 2013, a wondrously skilled group of young men nailed their place in the sporting and broader historic annals of their county. Long after …

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Clare to face Cork or Waterford

 By Seamus Hayes All-Ireland senior hurling champions Clare will begin their 2014 championship campaign at the Provincial semi-final stage where they will face either Cork or Waterford. A first round win for Cork will result in a repeat of the All-Ireland final which produced two outstanding games before Clare brought home the Liam McCarthy cup for only the fourth time in their history Five counties will compete for the Provincial crown and the second semi-final will be between Tipperary and Limerick. A Cork win over Waterford in the only quarter final game will result in a repeat of the semi-final pairings from 2013. Meanwhile, in the senior football championship Clare will face Waterford in a quarter final with the defending champions Kerry awaiting the winners. In the other half of the draw Tipperary play Limerick with Cork awaiting the winners. Last week the Munster Council, controversially, decided to seed Cork and Kerry for 2014, a decision that has drawn a strong  response …

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Davy basks in glow of victory

DAVY Fitzgerald’s tactics haven’t always been well received, but on Saturday evening he was vindicated and when he met the media under the Hogan Stand he said he wouldn’t be settling scores. “There’s been a tough few years from my point of view, there’s been a lot of stick and different things. God, does this feel good. Am I going to say anything about anyone who was cutting the back off me or saying stuff, nah, I don’t think I need to. I’m just so happy for the lads, so happy for them guys. This is all down to them, they’re a fantastic, fantastic bunch.” The decision to bring in Shane O’Donnell worked in a way that no one could have foreseen, with the teenager rattling the net three times within 20 minutes. Fitzgerald said they had kept the pressure off O’Donnell by letting him think the team that was named in the middle of last week would be the …

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