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Four quarter final places filled in senior hurling title race

Four quarter final places in this year’s Clare senior hurling championship have been filled following round 2 in the race for the Canon Hamilton trophy. Sixmilebridge, Clonlara, Ballyea and Clooney-Quin booked their places in the last eight with wins over Crusheen, O’Callaghans Mills, Kilmaley and Newmarket respectively. The latter four are still in the race and they will compete with Cratloe, Inagh-Kilnamona, Tulla and Eire Og for the remaining quarter final places. Out of the race after two defeats each are Tubber, Whitegate, Feakle and Clarecastle and they now will play off to determine which one will drop down to intermediate grade for next season. Veteran Niall Gilligan scored ten points as the Bridge defeated Crusheen 0-17 to 1-12. This was a well contested tie between two evenly matched sides at Clarecastle on Saturday evening. In the opening game at Clarecastle Danny Russell scored a dozen points in Eire Og’s four point win over Tubber (0-16 to 1-9). Clarecastle was …

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Bullseye for Pieta House as Anderson visits Ennis

PERHAPS the most entertaining night’s sport that will be seen on TV in 2015 came in the early days of January, as Gary Anderson won the World Darts Championship, pipping the legendary Phil Taylor, and overcoming some ferociously bad luck in the process. Taking on the 16-time World Champion, the Scot would have felt he’d need every scrap of good fortune going but, instead, he suffered bounce-outs and Robin Hoods (where darts rear-end each other for no score) galore, before eventually winning 7-6, taking the world title for the first time. Millions watching on Sky felt the title was slipping from the Flying Scotman’s grasp as the night went on, and the champion admits he shared their fears. “Aye, yeah, everything was against me, the three darts falling out – you know, at one stage I said it’s definitely not meant to be. That was the way my luck was going but I just stuck in. In the second leg …

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Lohan: Education above players’ hurling development

An iconic figure in Clare hurling,  Brian Lohan has emphasised that playing at third level should not be at the expense of aplayer’s education. When UL won the Fitzgibbon Cup this year, under Lohan’s managment, they featured Limerick goalkeeper David McCarthy and John O’Brien, while current Clare goalkeeper, Keith Hogan, who is now at UCC, has also played hurling for UL. Interestingly, a number of Clare and Limerick U-21s have yet to play Fitzgibbon Cup hurling for UL because freshers are not allowed to play at that level. When Tony Kelly was named hurler of the year in 2013, he had not yet played Fitzgibbon hurling for UL. “You’re marking top fellas from the various counties. Freshers is a very good standard. Moving on to Fitzgibbon, you’re not just marking some of the best young players but the best inter-county seniors. It’s a really good standard and a really good way to test yourself against what are the best players …

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Limerick end Clare’s four in a row dream

Limerick 0-22 Clare 0-19 A contribution of 0-13 from Ronan Lynch paved the way for Limerick’s merited three point win over title holders, Clare in the Munster under 21 hurling championship final, played before an attendance of 14,311 at Cusack Park onThursday evening. [doptg id=”77″] There were periods in the first half when Clare looked like they might make history and win the title for the fourth year in a row, but the visitors had the better of the second half exchanges and deservingly won a place in the All-Ireland semi-final against Galway on August 22. Both teams had their periods of dominance in the opening half, at the end of which Clare held a two point advantage, 0-12 to 0-10. The Shannonsiders registered the first two scores but four in a row for the home side had them 0-4 to 0-2 in front after just seven minutes. Limerick had the better of matters for the next 15 minutes, hitting …

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Clare U-21s poised for four-in-a-row

It’s a situation that few expected the county to be in, an hour away from a fourth successive provincial U-21 title. Having tasted defeat in 13 Munster deciders, Clare finally made the breakthrough in 2009, when they went on to add the All-Ireland crown. They have repeated this achievement in the last three years and are now just one win away from a record fourth successive title. Waterford came to Ennis as hot favourites to end Clare’s reign as champions. However, a magnificent display from a new-look Banner saw them emerge with a two-point win, 0-23 to 1-18. It was a similar situation for Limerick 24 hours later, as they went into their semi-final against Tipperary as underdogs. They too produced a very impressive display, however and at one stage, they were 14 points clear and coasting. Tipperary fought back to level and this rally, together with Limerick having centre-back Barry O’Connell harshly sent off on a second yellow card, …

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U-21 captain role a great honour for Cleary

Miltown Malbay’s Conor Cleary is honoured to have been appointed as the U-21 hurling captain but the focus, he says, is very much on Limerick and this Thursday’s Munster final. “It’s all about the game. It is a great honour to be captain and a massive one to get but all the focus is on Limerick. We have seen how impressive they were against Tipperary and how hungry they were. We know the challenge that is ahead of us and we know it’s going to be a very tough game and we will have to be on top of our game if we are going to compete with them,” he told The Clare Champion. “We have been very lucky with the coaches we have had at U-14, U-16 and minor and then at U-21 with Donal Moloney, Gerry O’Connor and Paul Kinnerk, who have had a great management structure going for the last few years. We are very lucky with …

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Loughnane and McDonagh in war of words

AN explosive war of words has broken out between two-time All-Ireland winning manager, Ger Loughnane and Clare GAA County Board chairman, Michael McDonagh. Mr Loughnane has told The Clare Champion that he believes Mr McDonagh’s position as board chairman is “utterly untenable”, while he has also insisted that the Miltown Malbay clubman, who is serving his second term as chairman, is using his GAA role to aid his campaign to seek a Fianna Fáil nomination at this Friday night’s convention in Ennis. Mr McDonagh has denied this suggestion and claims the former Clare manager is setting out to derail his political ambitions. “Comments I have made in my remit as chairman of the county board, during the past fortnight and throughout my tenure, have always been made in the best interests of Clare GAA and in my capacity as chairman only. The suggestion that any comments I have made are self-serving or politically motivated are wrong and appear to me …

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Unchanged Clare to face Limerick

As expected, the Clare team to face Limerick in Thursday evening’s Munster under 21 hurling final is unchanged from that which defeated a fancied Waterford side in the semi-final two weeks ago. A capacity attendance is expected at Cusack Park for the meeting of the neighbouring rivals in the Provincial final when Clare will be seeking their fourth title in a row. Both sides caused surprises in the semi-final when accounting for Waterford and Tipperary who were fancied to get through to the final. The standard of play in both games was high and there is an expectation amongst hurling fans that this final will proved to be o ne of the best in modern times. The game has a throw in time of 7p.m. and Tipperary’s Fergal Horgan will be in charge. There will be extra time in the event of the teams being level at the end of normal time. The Clare team for the final is; Keith …

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