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Injury-hit Clare can compete with Cork

IN recent weeks, Clare football supporters have had to brush up on their knowledge of cruciates, dislocations, groins and shoulders, such has been the spate of injuries that have afflicted the county team. Clare were without key players David Tubridy, Shane McGrath and Enda Coughlan for their two-point win over Limerick three weeks ago, while during that game Shane Brennan, brother of team captain Gary, left the field with a collar bone injury, which will sideline him on Sunday. The bulletins have not been great since then either. Podge Collins snapped his cruciate playing club hurling for Cratloe against Ballyea last Saturday week in Cusack Park and his absence leaves a huge void in the Clare attack. If Tubridy, McGrath and Coughlan are still not match fit, the collective injuries leave Clare with significantly depleted options in attack. Kilmihil’s Martin O’Leary, who plays hurling for Ballyea, dislocated his shoulder against Cratloe and is also out this weekend. On the plus …

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Losing his place drove Kelly

CLARE goalkeeper Pa Kelly experienced a mixed 2014. Having played such a key role in Clare’s 2013 All-Ireland success, the Inagh-Kilnamona man, who works as an accountant with Curtin O’Friel & Co in Ennis, lost his place. He insists, though, that he had no issue with the manner of his dropping, although he did subsequently regain his place. “Davy was fair. He made the call. He was pretty honest. Maybe my standards dropped and, in fairness to him, he gave me my chance to get back in. I don’t know whether I took it or not but I have proven since that I probably have. It just goes to show that you can’t let your guard down. If you win an All-Ireland you can’t get complacent. They are the standards he is demanding. He demands that you do the extra stuff and look after yourself. Maybe he thought that I wasn’t doing it but I thought he dealt with it …

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Davy confident Clare can turn it around

Davy Fitzgerald spoke candidly to Peter O’Connell when they met on Wednesday morning in Ennis. They talked about their shared past and where Clare hurling goes from here WHEN Davy Fitzgerald entered the Temple Gate Hotel on Wednesday morning, nobody noticed. It wasn’t that people were deliberately ignoring the Clare hurling manager. It was just that his attire would have led them astray. Replacing the Clare top was a sharp-looking jacket, far removed from the dress code Davy dons when patrolling the sideline, lobbing the odd enraged query at referees and sometimes even following them for a quick post-match word. Wednesday’s Davy cut a much more relaxed figure and one that didn’t blink or avoid questions when the conversation flowed. First up, why? Before talk turned to referees, Clare McNamara, Colm Galvin, Clare’s 2015 on-field record and the influence of Davy’s father Pat Fitzgerald, the air had to be cleared somewhat. Given that there has been the odd moment of …

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UL scholarship programme for GAA ladies

THE Kemmy Business School at the University of Limerick has announced a graduate business scholarship programme for female county GAA players. Dr Philip O’Regan, dean of the Kemmy Business School and Aoife Lane, WGPA chairperson, signed a memorandum of understanding at the launch of the programme last week. The scholarships will see recipients receive a 50% fee waiver for taught postgraduate programmes at the Kenny Business School in areas such as economics, finance, taxation, human resource management, entrepreneurship, marketing, project management and many more, along with the opportunity to study at a campus equipped with some of the best sporting facilities in the country. Dr Fergal O’Brien, assistant dean, postgraduate studies at the school highlighted the shared competencies in sporting and academic success – determination, persistence, hard-work and dedication, while Aoife Lane spoke about the close ties between UL and the WGPA, with five of the seven founding members of the association currently or previously affiliated to the university. According …

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Division 5 play off places filled

The way is clear for the play off stage of the division 5 football league. In the last game in the league section of the competition, Kilrush defeated hitherto undefeated Kilmurry-Ibrickane at Kilrush last evening, Friday. That win for the shams has earned them a semi-final spot against their near neighbours Killimer who will have home advantage as they finished in second place. Kilmurry-Ibrickane await the winners in the final. Meanwhile, Clondegad are safely through to the final of the division 4 competition. They concluded their campaign with a three point win over Ml. Cusacks at Gleann Chiosog on Friday evening. The outcome of the game between Eire Og and Ballyvaughan at Ballyvaughan on this Sunday will determine the semi-finalists. In division 6, Kilmihl and O’Currys are safely through to the play offs. With one round of games to be played in both division 1 and 2, there will be a lot at stake in those games. Clondegad and Kilmurry-Ibrickane, …

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July 7 surgery date for Podge

PODGE Collins will undergo surgery on his snapped anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) on Tuesday, July 7. The 2013 All-Ireland winner, All-Star and hurler of the year nominee injured his cruciate last Saturday evening, playing championship hurling for Cratloe against Ballyea. Speaking to The Clare Champion, the AIB employee said it is far too early to speculate on a possible return date. “I’ll be getting the surgery done on July 7,” Podge confirmed. “They have to take muscle from some other part of my leg and that’s how the surgery is done. The ACL is completely snapped. After the surgery I’ll be assessed after three, six and nine months,” he explained. “You’re expected to be back, after the surgery, somewhere between six to nine months but some players take longer than nine months. It’s all relevant to each person, how bad the injury is and how well the surgery goes. There are a lot of variables. I won’t be able to …

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Ennis students play at Thomond Park

THE past couple of months has seen plenty of activity at St Anne’s Special School in Ennis. As part of an Xcessible Youth Sport Initiative, the school has teamed up with Ennis Rugby Club to introduce tag rugby to some of their students. The initiative was held under the auspices of Munster Rugby and culminated with students and staff heading to Thomond Park to take on other schools who have also taken part in the programme throughout Munster. Donal McMahon was charged with running the programme on behalf of the local rugby club and had nothing but praise for all involved. “I was amazed at the enthusiasm and the skills which the students showed during the initiative. They were so quick to pick up the basic techniques and, obviously, enjoyed the programme. We had lots of fun and it was a hugely enjoyable project to be associated with. “Ennis Rugby Club has always been pro-active in teaming up with charities …

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Taekwon-Do medals for Quin trio

The Irish Taekwon-Do Team returned from the ITF World Championships in Jesolo, Italy with an impressive haul of five gold, six silver and five bronze medals, placing them fourth overall out of 60 countries. Among the Irish squad of 39 were three competitors from Quin Taekwon-Do club and each of them returned with a medal. Stephen Ryan, head instructor in Quin Taekwon-Do club was competing and coaching at the event and won the silver medal in 4th to 6th degree patterns, beating off opposition from Finland, Russia, New Zealand and Italy before narrowly missing out on the gold to his Canadian opponent, Maxime Bujold. The last time these two faced each other in the final was at the 2006 World Cup, with Maxime taking the decision on that occasion also. Stephen though feels his performances are only improving with age and experience, and will now reflect on whether to focus fully on coaching or to continue to compete at the …

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