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Banner fans dream of silverware

Hurling fans faced into the 2018 season with hope more than confidence. The loss of a few regulars to retirement, travel and injury has meant that some key players from the past decade have had to be replaced. Defeat in the final of the Munster league by neighbours Limerick, on a day when the Banner men failed to match the physicality of their opponents, only added to those fears. Fast forward just three weeks and victories over Tipperary and Kilkenny in the opening two rounds of the national league have Clare fans instead dreaming of silverware again. Tipperary and Kilkenny are difficult to beat on any occasion but adding to the excitement about these results is the fact that they were fully merited. Indeed, Clare should have won both by a much greater margin, particularly Sunday’s game in Nowlan Park. While all involved are entitled to be pleased with these results, it must be remembered that their opponents, in both …

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Clare footballers need a morale boost

A 14-point defeat leaves little room for putting much of a spin on things. Clare were beaten in almost every sector on Sunday. From a management point of view, Colm Collins’ task is to try to pick up the players’ morale before Sunday’s game against Tipperary in Cusack Park at 2pm. As poor as Clare were in Navan, if they manage to somehow beat Tipperary, they will move ahead of them on the Division 2 table. For that to happen though, a mammoth improvement and lifting of effort levels is required. “We win together and we lose together. No player goes out to play poorly. This week we’ll have a look at it and go after the areas we feel we didn’t do well in. These things happen. Sometimes you turn in a really magical display and sometimes it’s poor. You’re never really as bad or as good as either. You just have to park it. There’s nothing we can …

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Clare greyhounds challenge for Clonmel classics

THE local qualifiers may not be as numerous as other years but there is nonetheless a strong challenge for honours at the 93rd National Coursing Meeting in Clonmel on Saturday, Sunday and Monday next. Clare has two representatives in the BoyleSports Derby and a total of six interests in the Horse and Jockey Oaks. With a reduced team, trainer Pat Curtin has high hopes with the Kilcreevin-Ballymoate qualifier Roquefort Teddy in the Derby and Mad Decision in the Horse and Jockey Oaks. Owned by the Windfarm Syndicate of Michael Eustace (Ennis) and County Galway men Jonathan Newell and Gerry Hughes, Roquefort Teddy is one of three big names bred by Sharon Sexton of Mullagh. In the draw at the Horse and Jockey Hotel near Thurles on Friday night, he was not particularly  lucky as he came out of the hat with a tricky first round opponent in the 10/1 shot Silent Whisper, the Galway-Oranmore qualifier. Clareabbey Flyer (33/1), winner of the Miltown Miltown stake for …

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Blistering opening quarter paves the way for Clare victory

Clare 2-18 Kilkenny 1-18 Despite being the better team for most of this league game at Nowlan park this afternoon, Clare had to survive some anxious moments in the closing stages before emerging with a one goal victory over Kilkenny. A blistering first quarter by the visitors paved the way for this victory, their second in this campaign, as they outplayed the Noresiders l;throughout the pitch in that openingn period Even the most ardent of Clare followers would not have predicted an eleven point lead for Clare after twenty minutes of this Allianz league round 2 tie but the visitors were full value for this and, in fact, could have been further ahead but Podge Collins didn’t capitalise when put through by Shane O’Donnell in the fifteenth minute. Kilkenny’s concern was reflected in the fact that they had made three changes in personnell by the 25th minute and these helped bring about an improvement in their play which yielded 1-4 …

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Meath hammer Clare in Navan

Meath 0-21 Clare 0-7 COMPLETELY outclassed, particularly in the second half, Clare were beaten emphatically by Meath in Navan on Sunday afternoon. Clare now sit on one point from two games. They were outscored 0-15 to 0-3 in that second period, with Gary Brennan the only Clare player to score from play. In fact his point was the only score of the second half, with his rising shot going over the bar. Brennan was Clare’s outstanding player. However, Meath responded with 0-8 without reply and pulled away from a dishevelled Clare who lost their shape and increasingly lost hope as the second half evolved. Clare trailed 0-6 to 0-4 at half-time with Meath pulling two points ahead, when Bryan McMahon pointed, with the last kick, after a disputed free was taken quickly. Clare competed hard throughout the first half with Killian Roche kicking their opening score from a 45, while Pearse Lillis, Jamie Malone and Gary Brennan (free) added a …

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One change on Clare hurling team

The Clare team to face Kilkenny in round 2 of the Allianxz hurling leaguye at Nowlan Park tomorrow, Sunday shows one change from that which beat Tipperary last week. Podge Collins will start at corner forward in place of his Cratloe clubmate Conor McGrath, a change that was made at half time last week. The substitutes list will see Patrick Kelly and Eoin Quirke replace Ronan Taaffe and Cathal O’Connell Otherwise the team is unchanged ans is Donal Tuohy (Crusheen); Jack Browne (Ballyea), Conor Cleary (Miltown St.Josephs), Patrick O’Connor (Tubber) Captain; David Fitzgerald (Inagh-Kilnamona), David McInerney (Tulla), Seadna Morey (Sixmilebridge); Colm Galvin (Clonlara), Tony Kelly (Ballyea); Cathal Malone (Sixmilebridge). John Conlon (Clonlara). David Reidy (Éire Óg); Shane O Donnell (Éire Óg Inis). Peter Duggan (Clooney-Quin). Podge Collins (Cratloe) Subs: Patrick Kelly (Inagh-Kilnamona). Mikey O’Malley (Kilmaley), Gearoid O’Connell (Ballyea), Ian Galvin (Clonlara) Darragh Corry (Tulla), Conor McGrath (Cratloe), Niall Deasy (Ballyea), Ryan Taylor (Clooney-Quin), Eoin Quirke (Whitegate), Jason McCarthy (Inagh-Kilnamona), Mikey …

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Clare expect a tough tie in Nowlan Park

Victories over Kilkenny at Nowlan Park don’t come about too often and Clare will be well aware of this as they head to the venue for Sunday’s round two league tie. That Kilkenny lost to Cork in Pairc Uí Caoimh on Saturday is sure to result in a greater effort from the Noresiders to get some points on the board. Both counties have players involved in Fitzgibbon Cup action this week, so the line-outs will not be named until after those games. Fears that the Noresiders would be without captain Cillian Buckley have receded. The defender, who was very impressive against Cork, was stretchered from the field in the closing stages but officials are understood to be confident that he will be fit to face Clare. It is also expected that TJ Reid and Liam Blanchfield, who were introduced during the course of Saturday’s game, will be in from the start this week. Clare were comfortable winners in the corresponding …

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Footballers head to the Royal County

AS they head for Meath on Sunday, the Clare footballers and management will feel confident they have the capacity to kick a match-winning total. However, they will also dwell on the issues that were highlighted against Cavan and Cork in the McGrath Cup final. In those games, Clare have conceded 5-15 from play, while they kicked enough themselves to win either game. Management are introducing younger players to pivotal positions and those players must be given time to learn what football at this level is about. Based on what they have conceded in the games referred to, Clare will have to look at slightly readjusting their defensive plan for Meath, who beat them by nine points in Ennis last season and who drew with Roscommon on Sunday. They could opt to play a sweeper, if not for the entire 70 minutes, perhaps in the opening 15 minutes, to help them to settle and get a foothold in the game. Employing …

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