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Rampant Clare on the verge of promotion

Clare 1-20 Longford 1-9 AN outstanding display of point taking helped the Clare footballers to a comprehensive win over Longford in Ennis on Sunday afternoon. This eleven point win, played in front of a disappointingly small crowd of 1,226, has taken Clare to the verge of promotion to division 2 for the 2017 season. They play already promoted Kildare away on Sunday. Clare sit on eight points currently, two points behind Kildare and two ahead of Tipperary, Offaly and Sligo, all of whom are tied on six points. Clare might even win promotion if they lose to Kildare but a draw would guarantee it. Having started tentatively, Clare ended up leading narrowly, 1-7 to 0-6 at at half time. They played into the wind in the opening half and along with their opponents, Clare were slow to settle. Longford’s Michael Quinn goaled in the sixth minute for the opening score of the half, following a Barry McKeon pass after Clare …

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Improvement needed against Longford

DIVISION 3 has emerged as a particularly congested and unpredictable league this season. With just two rounds left to play, the only team that cannot be relegated in Kildare. They are on eight points from five matches followed by four teams on six points including Clare and Longford, who meet in Cusack Park on Sunday. Tipperary and Offaly also sit on six points, which leaves five teams, including Kildare, vying for the two promotion places. Clare’s three wins have been achieved against the bottom-three teams, Limerick, Westmeath and Sligo, while they have lost away to Tipperary and Offaly. This weekend’s game is a very significant one on several fronts. The winner will be potentially one game away from promotion, while the loser could, in a worst-case scenario, end up relegated. Clare will play Kildare away in their final league fixture and definitely do not want to have to travel looking for a win to ensure their divisional status. If Clare …

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White flag raised for Quakerstown

The recent improvement in ground conditions has been welcomed by point-to-point secretary Paul O’Neill who is eagerly looking forward to the County Clare Hunt’s annual Easter Sunday fixture at Quakerstown in Tubber. “We are thrilled that the weather has picked up to allow us run this meeting as a lot of meetings have been lost this season,” stated the Quin man. “The track is in super condition and Gerry Lee who owns the land is a great supporter of ours and racing in general. Easter is quite early this year, but it’s super to have such a track like this at our disposal. There is a great covering of grass on it and we have the fences in place so it is all systems for Sunday.  This meeting enjoys quite a high profile and the fact that we have received 103 entries for six races reflects that. Quite a number of top-class horses have started their careers at Quakerstown – …

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Inagh-Kilnamona, Cratloe and Scariff celebrate U-21 wins

The Clare under 21 hurling championships (A, B and C divisions) concluded over the Easter weekend and resulted in wins for Inagh-Kilnamona, Cratloe and Scariff. While the tight contest which was predicted between Inagh-Kilnamona and Feakle-Killanena in the A final materialised, the mid Clare club deservingly emerged with the crown, their second in all and their first since 2007 when the teams clashed before an attendance of 1,440 at Cusack Park on Friday evening Two first half goals from full forward Jamesie McConigley played a key part in the win and helped the team to a 2-4 to 0-7 half time lead. There were other key performances which led to the success such as a magnificent save from goalkeeper Eamonn Foudy two minutes from the final whistle, outstanding play from the full back trio of Keith Whyte, David McCarthy and Cian Mcinerney, particularly in the second half, a magnificent performance from centre forward Jason McCarthy and great leadership from David …

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McInerney and O’Donnell out of Tipperary game

Clare’s hopes of overcoming Tipperary in the national hurling league quarter final next week have been dealt a huge b low with the news that both David McInerney and Shane O’Donnell have been ruled out for up to four weeks due to injury. McInerney, star of last week’s win over Limerick which sealed promotion, is out with a back injury which also kept him out of this week’s opening game with his club Tulla in the Clare Champion cup. Eire Og’s Shane O’Donnell has picked up a foot injury which will keep him out for up to a month. Already without Tony Kelly, Seadna Morey, Jack Browne, Shane Golden and Pat Donnellan due to injury, the loss of McInerney and O’Donnell further weakens the Clare side. On the credit side, Newmarket’s Colin Ryan is expected to be available having missed the Limerick game as he was on honeymoon. Meanwhile, panellist Jack Browne from the Ballyea club has been named at …

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Clare back in the top division

Clare 1-19 Limerick 0-18 Clare are back in the top grouping in the National hurling league following a comfortable win over arch rivals Limerick at Cusac Park this Sunday afternoon. The Banner side’s victory was much more comfortable that the final scoreline suggests on a day when Limerick were reduced to fourteen men five minutes before half time whenforward Barry Nash picked up a second yellow card. Clare led from the outset on a day when they shot no fewer than nineteen wides, a dozen of which came in the second half. Played before an attendance of 8,847, the home side made their intentions known from the off and struck for the game’s only goal as early as the opening minute when John Conlon brillantly grabbed a high delivery before shooting to the net. The score clearly rocked the visitors who, underatandably, complained tht the Clonlara player took more thatn the required number of steps while in possession before finding …

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Injuries may prove costly for Clare

FROM the moment the schedule of games for this season’s hurling league was published, today’s (Sunday) final group game between Shannonside neighbours Clare and Limerick was ear-marked as the tie that would decide who will be promoted to Division 1A for 2017. Clare, it must be said, were unlucky to be relegated from the top flight at the end of last season’s league, when they lost by the minimum margin to Kilkenny on successive Sundays. Limerick have been stuck in Division 1B for the past few years, falling narrowly at the final hurdle on a few occasions. They made some changes to their management team back in the autumn, bringing in Joe O’Connor as team trainer and appointing Tipperary man Dinny Cahill as team coach. O’Connor is widely recognised as a trainer and he filled that role for Clare when the Banner men won the All-Ireland title in 2013. Such is the attractiveness of Sunday’s tie that a crowd of 10,000 is …

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Dillon and Kelly return for clash with Limerick

Team captain Cian Dillon has recovered from injury and will lead Clare in Sunday’s crucial promotion tie in division 1 B of the Allianz hurling league. The Crusheen man has been named at full back in a side that shows just two changes in personell from that which started against Kerry last week. Miltown’s Conor Cleary loses out and Pat O’Connor who deputised for Dillon at full back last week reverts to wing back, the position he filled when helping Clare to All-Ireland glory in 2013. The other change in personnell sees Patrick Kelly named between the posts in place of Donal Tuohy who filled the position last week. The team is Patrick Kelly (Inagh-Kilnamona); Oisín O’Brien (Clonlara), Cian Dillon,(Crusheen), Captain, Paul Flanagan (Ballyea); Brendan Bugler (Whitegate), David McInerney (Tulla), Pat O’Connor (Tubber); David Reidy (Éire Óg), Conor Ryan (Cratloe); John Conlon (Clonlara), Bobby Duggan (Clarecastle), Colm Galvin (Clonlara); Aaron Cunningham (Wolfe Tones), Shane O’Donnell (Éire Óg), Conor McGrath (Cratloe). …

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Munster contract extension for Foley

Killaloe man Anthony Foley has signed a one-year contract extension as head coach of Munster Rugby. And in a new departure and for the first time ever, Munster will also appoint a director of rugby with the “responsibility for the professional rugby programme and elite player development pathway in the province.” Foley first moved into the role of head coach with Munster in 2014, succeeding Rob Penney, but his side has struggled this season after reaching the final of the Guinness Pro12 in 2014/15. Foley initially signed a two-year deal with Munster, with an option for a third year in that contract. The former Ireland number eight signed that extension option in recent months and will hope for an upturn in form in the final stages of this season. “As confirmed previously, we offered Anthony the option to extend his contract as per the initial agreement in 2014 and we are pleased to see him avail of this renewal and …

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Podge Collins returns as Clare win again

Clare 2-28 Kerry 1-9 After an absence from the game of almost ten months, Podge Collins returned to action on Sunday when he played the last half hour of Clare’s easy win over Kerry in round 4 of the  Allianz hurling league, division 1B. A strong third quarter in which they scored 1-8 without reply saw Clare maintain their 100% record this year. there was never a doubt about the result as the Bannermen dominated from the off and the way is now clear for next Sunday’s final group game against neighbours and arch rivals Limerick, the outcome of which will determine which team will be promoted to divison 1 A for next season Clare took the lead after just fifteen seconds when David Reidy pointed and went on to lead by eight points with just fifteen minutes played. The second quarter was an even enough affair with the winners outscoring their opponents by just a point in this period …

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