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Tony Kelly Clare’s only All-Star nominee

Tony Kelly is Clare’s sole standard bearer in the nominations for the 2015 All-Star hurling awards . The stylish Ballyea hurler, an U-21 All-Ireland winning captain, was also an influential member of Clare’s 2013 All-Ireland winning team. His exploits that year earned him an All-Star, as well as the Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year accolades, the first time such a double was achieved. All-Ireland champions, Kilkenny and Galway lead the list of nominations with 12 each. Waterford’s strong 2015 showing, which saw them earn league honours before reaching a Munster final and All-Ireland semi-final, sees them land one fewer with a total of 11 nominations. Munster champions, Tipperary claim seven nominations with Cork, Clare and Dublin completing the list of 45 with one each. In all seven counties are represented. On the personal award front, 2015 All-Ireland champions, Kilkenny have received two nominations, with TJ Reid and Richie Hogan, while Tipperary’s Séamus Callanan completes the …

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Cooraclare shock favourites

Cooraclare caused a big shock when they defeated the hot favourites Clondegad in the second of the Clare senior football championship semi-finals, played at Kilmihil on Sunday. First half goals from Rory Donnelly and Tadhg Lillis helped Cooraclare to a four point lead at half time when the score was 2-5 to 0-7. Points were exchanged on a number of occasions in the third quarter before Cooraclare  extended their lead with goals from Thomas Downes and substitute Jack Morrissey. To their credit, Clondegad battled back and goals from Paudge  McMahon and Shane Brennan closed the gap but time wasn’t on their side and when the final whistle sounded, Cooraclare were deservingly ahead and through to play Miltown in the final. The final scoreline was 4-10 to 2-13 The senior hurling final pairing is also confirmed after the weekend when Clonlara sealed their place in the final with a 2-19 to 1-10 win over Kilmaley in their semi-final replay at Cusack …

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Corofin crowned intermediate champions

Beaten finalists twelve months ago, Corofin have bounced back to win the intermediate football title. At sunny Hennessy Park in Miltown on Saturday afternoon, their ability to score goals proved too much for Kilmihil who led by the minimum margin at the mid point. The winners goals came from John Keane (2), Luke O’Loughlin and Damian Ryan and sealed a merited win which has earned them the right to represent Clare in the Provincial championship and they will begin this campaign in November. Meanwhile, Miltown St. Josephs booked their place in this season’s Clare senior football championshio final with a two goal victory over St. Breckans in the first of this year’s semi-finals, played in beautiful conditions at Cusack Park on Saturday afternoon. A superb performance from Eoin Cleary played a key role in the Miltown side’s victory on a day when the Lisdoonvarna outfit made the better start racing into a 0-3 to 0-0 lead after ten minutes. However …

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Sixmilebridge secure final spot

Champions in 2013, Sixmilebridge are back in the Clare senior hurling championship final thanks to an eight point win over Crusheen at rain lashed Cusack Park on Sunday. [doptg id=”81″] A strong opening half at the end of which they led by ten points set the tone and left Crusheen with a mountain to climb, something they came close to achieving in the second period. The winners had a dream start with Jamie Shanahan scoring the game’s opening goal inside the first minute. Crusheen were clearly rattled and they played second fiddle to the winners throughout the opening period.. A goal from Conor O’Donnell in the final minute of the opening half followed by another from Fergus Kennedy in the opening minute of the second half, led to a very exciting second period . Scores came hot and heavy and as the game entered the final quarter the margin was down to two points. An excellent Shane Golden goal settled …

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Shannon to the fore with footgolf craze

PLANNING permission is being sought for a footgolf facility in Shannon. Footgolf combines soccer with golf, with players having to kick a ball into a hole in the fewest possible amount of shots. There are several other courses in Ireland already, but none in Clare yet. An Irish Footgolf Association was founded last year to promote the sport in this country and aims to have more than 30 affiliated footgolf courses by the end of next year. Describing the sport on its website it says, “Footgolf is a top-class sports game that blends two of the world’s best and most popular sports – football and golf. It is a competitive, skilful and addictive sports game that mixes the passion and strength of football with the elegance and tradition of golf. Footgolf is played on a golf course by individuals or in groups but instead of swinging golf clubs and hitting golf balls, players kick a standard size football from tee …

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O’Donovan saves the day for Clonlara

Favourites Clonlara are still in the hunt for the Clare senior hurling title thanks to an injury time point from Clare’s 2013 All-Ireland winning hero, Domhnaill O’Donovan. Back then, O’Donovan, playing at corner back, fired over a last second point to earn Clare a replay with Cork, a tie they won to claim their fourth All-Ireland title. At Cusack Park on Saturday, Clonlara saw a four point lead whittled away in the final five minutes before finding themselves a point in arrears in the third minute of injury time. Enter O’Donovan again and, after winning possession in his own half backline he burst forward and pointed from 60m  to earn his side a replay with Kilmaley. Clonlara looked to be on their way to a place in the final when they went four points clear inside the last ten minutes but Kilmaley simply refused to accept defeat and five unanswered points in as many minutes had them ahead in the …

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Fitzpatrick feared for his baby’s life

THE angst that boxing coach Paddy Fitzpatrick was putting up with on a personal level, even as he was doing everything possible to get George Groves ready for last Saturday’s WBC world title fight, must have been close to unbearable. As he worked in the gym, his newborn son was thousands of miles away, fighting for his life in a British hospital. While there is still disappointment about last Saturday’s defeat to Badou Jack, he is very much looking at it in a bigger context this week. “I came home last night [Monday] and met my child for the first time; he’s a month old and he was born while I was away. We came close to the fact that I mightn’t even be going to see him because he got very badly ill after two weeks, got taken into hospital and spent eight days there. I didn’t tell George he had been taken into hospital. “He had Strep B …

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Groves can benefit from new coach

WHILE boxing coach Paddy Fitzpatrick still says he has the utmost respect for George Groves, he feels he has worked with him for the last time, following his third defeat in a world title fight at the weekend. The first two defeats were to the legendary Carl Froch, the first an extremely controversial stoppage, followed by the famous Wembley grudge match attended by 80,000 and watched by millions on Sky, in which Froch knocked out the challenger with a massive right in the eighth round. Groves regrouped with two victories but his coach feels coming back from last weekend’s defeat to Badou Jack will be the toughest test yet. “He’s had to deal with a fantastic amount of stress and, I tell you what, I tip my hat to him for the way he has dealt with it. When you think of the stress of a man for his first world title in his own country, with 20,000 people booing …

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