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A big test for Clare soccer underdogs

A big week for Clare soccer will kick off on Sunday when the county team will take on Dublin AUL in the final of the Oscar Traynor inter-league competition at the Crumlin astro turf at 2pm. It’s Clare’s fourth time in the final in modern times and while their opponents, the Leinster Senior League, will start as favourites, there is an air of confidence that the title can be captured for the second time in local soccer history. When Clare won the crown back in 2004, they beat the Dublin side. That game was played at Ballycasey and the scoreline was 2-1. Stephen Kiernan was in the Dublin line-up on that occasion and he is now part of their management team. While Clare boss Donie Garrihy won’t name his starting 11 until nearer match time, it will include a good mix of youth and experience. Team captain Pat Purcell, who will fill a central defensive role and goalkeeper Barry Ryan, …

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UL launches new sports scholarships

THE University of Limerick has launched a new suite of sports scholarships designed to support elite athletes in pursuing and excelling in their chosen field while also undertaking their third level studies. There are three levels of award; gold, silver and bronze with a value of up to €10,000 at the gold level. Scholarship holders will benefit from support in the areas of accommodation, registration fees, sports science, coaching and mentoring. The scheme is open to all current UL students, all current Leaving Certificate students or those applying to come to UL for the first time either through CAO or transferring at undergraduate or postgraduate level. Applicants must be a member of a national governing body of sport recognised by the Irish Sports Council, in the sport in which they are applying for a scholarship. UL has long been known as “Ireland’s Sporting Campus”, supporting the development of many of country’s top sports stars for over 40 years. UL vice president, academic …

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Tipperary topple Clare minor hurlers

Tipperary 2-15 Clare 0-12 CLARE’S dreams of a Munster Minor Hurling Championship title are over for another year after they went down to physically stronger Tipperary side at Cusack Park on Wednesday evening. Their two goals may only have come in the closing minutes, but Tipperary deserved their victory at the end of a rather disappointing contest. The win has earned Tipperary a semi-final date with Cork but a huge improvement will be required if they are to have a chance of progressing to the final. Clare made one change in personnel and several positional switches from the side that lost out to Limerick in the opening round three weeks ago. Ross Hayes moved to wing-back to the exclusion of Patrick Mulready and Aidan Kennedy came in from the start at corner-forward, after he had impressed when introduced in that game. Clare had a new midfield pairing of Clonlara clubmates, Kieran Galvin and David Fitzgerald, while Conor Tierney moved from midfield …

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Share of the spoils a fair result

Clare 0-22 Waterford 0-22 (After extra time) In the lead up to this Allianz hurling league final, there was huge speculation as to how the teams might approach the game given that they are scheduled to meet in the Munster senior hurling championship semi-final on June 5. Of all the possibilities discussed, no one mentiond the possibility of a replay. Now the teams find themselves preparing for another meeting, this time on Sunday next, after they played out a draw in a game that produced a poor opening half but whichimproved in the final quarter. In all the sides were level on twelve occasions and while both can point to missed chances over the course of the game, there is general agreement that a share of the spoils was the fairest result at the end of the day. This was, as expected, a very tactical game which was a contributory factor in the number of missed chances. At the end …

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Like father, like son

IT is no surprise to hear Darach Honan say that his “parents would have shaped my interests a lot” and that those recreational interests have hurling high on the list. His father, Colm, was still hurling with Clonlara when Darach was young. “I would regularly meet people who would be talking about hurling. I would have heard all the stories about the league finals that Clare won when he was playing and about the Munster finals in which they played. If we can win on Sunday, I will be half way to equalling his tally, as he has two league medals,” the Clare forward told The Clare Champion. “There is great confidence in the camp. We are going very well this year and we have a lot of work done. We had a bit more done than Kilkenny. It is important for us to do well in the league. The last couple of years weren’t the best for us, so …

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Kelly and Duggan in starting line up

Tony Kelly and Peter Duggan have been named to start in the Clare team for tomorrow’s Allianz hurling league final against Waterford. They replace the injured John Conlon and Paul Flanagan. Elsewhere the team is unchanged from that which defeated Kilkenny in the semi-final Duggan is named at wing forward with Kelly named to play at full forward. The team is Patrick Kelly (Inagh-Kilnamona); Oisín O’Brien (Clonlara), Pat O’Connor (Tubber), Cian Dillon (Crusheen; Brendan Bugler (Whitegate), Conor Cleary (Miltown St. Josephs), David Fitzgerald (Inagh-Kilnamona); David Reidy (Éire Óg), Colm Galvin (Clonlara); Aaron Cunningham (Wolfe Tones), Darach Honan (Clonlara), Peter Duggan (Clooney Quin); Podge Collins (Cratloe), Tony Kelly (Ballyea), Conor McGrath (Cratloe) Waterford have named an unchanged team from that which defeated Limerick in the semi-final Kilmurry-Ibrickane march on Round six in the Cusack cup (senior football league) was completed on this Saturday afternoon and defending champions Kilmurry-Ibrickane remain unbeaten after a comprehensive 6-10 to 1-7 win over Lissycasey. Last years …

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Stack looks back with pride and regret

IT’S 38 years since Seán Stack captained Clare to their last national league title but when he presses the refresh button on the bank of memories, tales flow effortlessly. Most of them are of great times, games and life-long friends but an obstinate regret lingers that Clare failed to deliver a Munster title. The absence of a Munster medal irks Stack and always will. His eyes cannot conceal the hurt. Clare played in three league finals in the mid to late 1970s, losing in ’76 to Kilkenny and beating them in ’77 and ’78. They lost three successive provincial finals in that era. “Frightening isn’t it?” Stack said of the speed with which the years have piled up since. “Would you believe I can still feel the sense in the dressing room, the atmosphere in the camp and the build up to the league finals.” As if they togged together last Sunday, Stack can clearly recall who did what in …

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McInerney retains perspective on and off the field

“I’M very immature. I’d happily watch a Disney movie and find it funny. If my mother is coming home from work, I’ll stand in a corner and jump out and scare her.” Not usually the words you associate with a Clare senior player. 2013 All-Star David McInerney has vacated his corner-back position this year for a number six jersey, although unfortunately injury has ruled him out of Sunday’s National Hurling League final. When I meet McInerney he’s a bit late for the interview. He’s just after milking and dosing 85 cows on a Monday afternoon. He’s wearing old farm clothes covered in cow dung but he changes quickly and makes two cups of tea (without electricity today). This week he isn’t teaching primary school children but when you’re from a farm, there’s always something to do. Mind you, he only woke at 8.30am this morning, which is sinful on any farm. The Tulla clubman was quite busy in his younger …

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