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Ballyea’s season of comebacks

HAIL the Comeback Kings! Ballyea’s fairy tale run to capture their first Canon Hamilton trophy and qualify for their maiden Munster club final has been fashioned with some unbelievable comebacks when all seemed lost. Having lost their first-round clash with Éire Óg, Ballyea had to win the rest of their games to remain in contention for a place in the knock-out stages. This was in sharp contrast to 2015, when the men in black and amber won their first two outings and advanced straight through to a quarter-final. Now in his third year as club chairman, Pat Moylan acknowledged that his charges have produced some extraordinary fight-backs this year during the championship, which culminated in an amazing late flourish to force extra time against Tipperary kingpins Thurles Sarsfields before registering a memorable two-point win. “Ballyea went seven points down against Crusheen early on in that game. The lads dug deep and ground out a result. They did the same against …

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Collins likely to opt for hurling

While he is adamant that he has not made any announcement as to his plans for 2017, social media is rampant this Monday morning that Podge Collins will concentrate on hurling at inter county level in 2017. “I haven’t made any announcement as my focus is on getting back to full fitness”, the Cratloe man said today. He is presently concentrating on gym work three or four nights a week and is understood to have indicated to Clare GAA officials that he will be sticking with hurling at inter county level. Some weeks ago the Bank of Ireland official confirmed that he would only be playing one code in 2017 but at the time he said he would not say which until his domestic season with Cratloe was over. In 2015 Collins only played football at inter county level after the then Clare hurling boss Davy Fitzgerald ruled that he would not have any dual players on the squad. Fitzgerald …

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Injury time goal seals Champion cup for Clonlara

Clonlara 1-11 Crusheen 0-13 An injury time goal from Cian Moriarty saw Clonlara win the Clare Champion cup (senior hurling league) at the expense of Crusheen in a well contested final at a well appointed Glenomra Park in Broadford this afternoon. In an entertaining game in which the sides were level on four occasions, the result was in doubt right to the final whistle. Indeed, after Moriarty’s goal, Crusheen had an opportunity to draw level or maybe win the game but Cian Dillon’s effort on goal was stopped and the final whistle followed leaving Clonlara as champions for the first time since 2009 Points were exchanged twice in the opening ten minutes before Crusheen opened a two point lead by the end of the first quarter and they went on to lead by three at half time when the score was 0-8 to 0-5. Both sides were guilty of mistakes and missed changes and, in the case of the latter, …

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Another five star show by Tony Kelly

  Ballyea 4-18 Thurles Sarsfields 2-22 A contribution of 1-10 from Tony Kelly was one of many highlights as newly crowned Clare senior hurling champions Ballyea caused a major shock when knocking Thurles Sarsfields from Tipperary out of the Provincial title race at Cusack Park yesterday. The result led to wild scenes of celebration at the end of a tremendous contest which required extra time to produce a result Seven days after their first ever Clare senior title win, Ballyea came from being seven points in arrears with eight minutes to go to force extra time in a tremendously exciting and hugely entertaining contest played before an official attendance of 2,413 in dry but cold conditions. Ballyea had heroes throughout the field as they turned this game on its head in the final quarter which culminated with a Gary Brennan goal, worthy of any stage, which led to extra time There were outstanding displays throughout the team for the winners …

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Bonfires blaze throughout Ballyea after historic first title win

Ballyea 2-14 Clonlara 1-14 Bonfires are blazing across Ballyea this Sunday evening after history was made at Cusack Park in the afternoon when Ballyea won the Clare senior hurling championship title for the first time. [data-ps-embed-type=slideshow] > iframe {position: absolute;top: 0;left: 0;} _psEmbed(“http://photos.clarechampion.ie”); In a replayed final they were the stronger team and fully deserved their win over favourites Clonlara on a day when they were never headed. A man of the match performance from Niall Deasy who scored 1-3 together with outstanding displays from Clare football captain Gary Brennan and inter county hurlers Jack Browne, Paul Flanagan, Gearoid O’Connell and Tony Kelly were key ingredients in this victory. First half goals from Gary Brennan and Niall Deasy helped the new champions to lead at the break on a score of 2-5 to 0-8 and while Clonlara fought back to level eleven minutes into the second half when their captain John Conlon found the net, Ballyea simply refused to fold. …

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Winning start for Oscar Traynor champions

Clare League 2 Galway League 1 Oscar Traynor champions Clare made a winning start in defence of the title when they came from behind to record a merited 2-1 win over Galway at Frank Healy park in Doora this evening. [data-ps-embed-type=slideshow] > iframe {position: absolute;top: 0;left: 0;} _psEmbed(“http://photos.clarechampion.ie”); The visitors started brightly and their early play suggested that they might win this one. A superb strike from Jason Molloy as early as the sixth minute game them the lead but Clare showed that they have gained from their success last season and they fought back in impressive style. A foul on Eoin Hayes resulted in a free  just outside the area and Dave McCarthy found the corner of the net to tie up the scores after fourteen minutes. The winning goal was a score worthy of any game at any level. Team captain Stephen Kelly, who was outstanding throughout, won possession in his own defence and having beaten two opponents …

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Clare’s defence of Oscar Traynor title begins

FRANK Healy Park in Doora will be the venue on Saturday evening at 5pm for the opening game in this season’s Oscar Traynor Cup. Clare will begin the defence of the title, won impressively last year, when they take on Galway with a side that will be drawn from a panel similar to that which won the title. The sides met last year in Eamonn Deacy Park in Galway, where they played a 1-1 draw. Clare are again be under the management of Donie Garrihy and his backroom team of David Russell and Denis Hynes. “There is no talk about defending titles or achieving back-to-back successes. This is a new campaign and we have some new players. This is the first game in a four-team group and Galway will be difficult opponents. There will be an extra bit of pressure on because we are playing at home. Because we are the title holders, all will be wanting to take a …

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Down to homework from drawn hurling final

I don’t know if Ballyea or Clonlara mentors attended the senior football final replay at Cusack Park last Sunday but if they did, they are sure to have noticed that Kilmurry-Ibrickane learned more from the drawn game and that the changes they made to their line-up were key to their victory. The hurling management teams know both sides have room for improvement. What changes, if any, they will make could well be the key to unlocking the opposition this time around. Ballyea will have at least one change in personnel now that full-forward Eoghan Donnellan has been ruled out due to injury. At least one change to their forward line-up was expected anyhow, after Martin O’Leary’s impressive showing in the second half of the drawn game, following his introduction at half-time. If Ballyea are to win, there will have to be a big improvement from their forward line, which managed just one point between the starting six in the drawn …

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