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QUIN trainer Donie Hassett enjoyed some festive cheer as his 12-1 shot Night Alliance ran out a very easy winner of the Woodlands House Hotel Handicap Hurdle on day three of the Limerick festival on Monday. Owned by the One More Go Syndicate, Night Alliance travelled strongly throughout this two-mile, five-furlong contest under Galway-born jockey Tom Ryan and, having hit the front off the home turn, the son of Pierre surged clear for an eight-length win over runner-up, Man Of Principles. A fourth winner of the season for Hassett, Night Alliance, who was making his handicap debut here off a mark of 88, will stick to handicaps in the near future, according to his trainer, who remarked, “This fellow is an out and out stayer and appreciated the step-up in trip here today. He is only a four-year-old and we’ll aim him at some of the handicaps over longer distances in the months ahead.” Meanwhile, Dancing Tornado credited local trainer …

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Major disruption of golfing fixtures

THE ongoing severe frost led to further cancellation of competitions in golf clubs across the county during the past week and there is still doubts concerning the reopening of  courses this weekend.Incoming captains at Ennis golf club, Pádraig Ryan and Anne Kelly, are due to have their drive in this Friday at 3pm.Earlier in the day day, there will be a three-person (any combination) competition and a timesheet is in operation.In Shannon, there will be a men’s 15-hole singles on New Year’s Day, if weather conditions allow. The 2010 captains, Marie Hogan and Joe Sheehan, will drive-in on January 9.Weather permitting, all clubs in the county will have competitions this weekend. Clare TeachersTHE Clare Teachers Society will have an outing next Wednesday next to the Castle course in Lahinch.

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Cooraclare coursing overcomes freezing weather conditions

THE South Clare coursing meeting at Cooraclare did not escape the weather conditions that interfered with the running of a number of meetings all over the country during the Christmas holiday period.Cooraclare coursing on St Stephen’s Day had to be postponed because of the hard ground conditions and, although the fixture did go ahead the following day, a number of fancied runners did not participate.Amongst those not running were Ibrickane Pat, the favourite for the South Clare Cup for 16 dogs and Cleanaway Smurf, whose connections were hoping to win the South Clare All-Age Bitch Stake and qualify for the Grace Bruton Champion Stakes. Also missing from the line-up was Him Over There, who stood a good chance of winning the Reserve Derby Trial Stake after being beaten in the final at Ennis-Clarecastle.Despite more heavy frost on Monday night, the meeting went ahead and concluded on the following day after club members covered the field overnight and rolled it before …

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Relay trials at Lees Road

THE Clare Athletics Association held its juvenile relay cross country trials at the Lees Road Sports Complex on Saturday last and all clubs contested the U-10s, U-12s and U-14s girls’ and boys’ races in very cold weather.In the girls’ U-10 Alex O’Neill, St Cronan’s, had to work hard over 250m to claim the title from Tara Kelly, St Mary’s. Mary Conneally, St Cronan’s, came third, followed by Emer Hanrahan, Ennis Track, and Caoimhie Hogan, Kilmurry Ibrickane/North Clare, who will be the fifth member of the Clare team to compete in the Munster Cross Country Relay Championships in Carrig Na Bhear on Sunday, January 17.Cian Shannon, Kilmurrry Ibrickane/North Clare, raced away from the start to win the boys’ U-10 250m race with Luke Callinan, St Mary’s, getting home in second place ahead of Kevin Hassett, St Mary’s, followed by Thomas Clancy, St John’s, and Gavin Carr, Ennis Track.In the girls’ U-12s 500m Chantel Burke, St Mary’s, started out very fast and …

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New wings for Sparrow as county hurling manager

FROM the moment it became clear that the Clare senior hurlers weren’t prepared to back down on their demand to have Mike McNamara removed for the position of team manager, the name of Ger O’Loughlin was linked with the post.It wasn’t any great surprise when county board chairman recommended to a special meeting last week that the Clarecastle man should be appointed to the position and while delegates at that meeting asked to have the decision deferred until they consulted with their clubs, there was never really any doubt but that the All-Ireland winning forward would be appointed.In a matter of a couple of seconds, his appointment was unanimously ratified at the annual convention last Thursday night and immediately, the two-time All-Star award-winner said he was looking forward to the challenge.“Most of those who have played the game would admit that they would have thoughts of managing their county team at some stage. I have served my apprenticeship with my …

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Munster senior A final place for St Caimin’s

ST Caimin’s of Shannon reached the Munster senior A camogie final for the first time in the school’s history after an emphatic victory over St Mary’s, Charleville. St Caimin’s prevailed in a thrilling encounter in Clarecastle, on the score line of 3-3 to 0-8. St Caimin’s struggled to retain their first-half lead as they faced into a gale in the second half, but held out to win after four minutes of injury time. They started as the stronger of the two teams. With the aid of the wind, St Caimin’s opened the scoring through Clare senior player Chloe Morey, who converted a free with ease. Within 10 minutes St Caimin’s had furthered their lead with two goals scored by Mairéad Hyland and Rachael O’Halloran, both of which were superb individual efforts. However, Charleville responded well, with four consecutive points from Kerry Brosnan and Annette McAuliffe. Rachael O’Brien hit back for Caimin’s with a well-placed ground strike into the corner of …

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Spancilhill trainer hits the jackpot with two winners

SANTA Claus came early for Spancilhill trainer Noel Glynn as he hit the jackpot in a big way last week when sending out two winners in less than 48 hours from his Durra House yard.Glynn’s first success came as he mounted yet another successful UK raid when his 4/6 favourite Old MacDonald ran out a very easy winner of the concluding bumper at Ludlow last Thursday. Backed as if defeat was out of the question, this son of King’s Theatre was simply in another class as he put his seven rivals to sword in the manner of a very smart horse. Ridden by top Irish jockey Barry Geraghty, the market leader pulled hard during the early parts of this two-mile contest but, once Geraghty asked him to go about his business, Old McDonald sprinted clear for a facile six-length win over the Henry Daly-trained runner-up Inga Bird. A delighted Glynn, whose frequent cross-channel visits continue to pay rich dividends, later …

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Did the Clare GAA learn anything?

Sports editor Seamus Hayes reports from this year’s Clare County Board convention in Ennis CLARE GAA hasn’t learned any lessons from the recent dispute which led to the resignation of senior hurling manager Mike McNamara.That was the view expressed by Sixmilebridge chairman PJ Fitzpatrick who criticised comments made by the secretary, Pat Fitzgerald, in his annual report to last week’s county convention.“There is a fairly strong attack here on the actions taken by the players. I don’t have a clue what went on and I am uninformed, but I believe we haven’t learned any lessons and if you don’t learn lessons we could find ourselves in similar positions again,” Fitzpatrick said.“When something goes wrong we have to look at ourselves. Looking at how the delegates here and the officers handled this – I’d say that in hurling terms we wouldn’t be left on the panel. While I don’t condone the players’ actions, I do wonder if we boxed them into …

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