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Sixmilebridge celebrate their win in the senior championship.

Champions dethroned

By Seamus Hayes Eleven years after their last title win, Sixmilebridge are back as Clare senior hurling champions. At rain lashed Cusack Park on Sunday, they dethroned champions Newmarket in a fiercely competitive tie. The final scoreline of 1-10 to 0-11 is an accurate reflection of a tie which produced some great hurling despite the atrocious conditions. The winners had a dream start when top scorer Niall Gilligan scored the game’s only goal as early as the second minute when he drilled a penalty to the net following a foul on Alan Mulready. From here they held the lead until two minutes from the break when Colin Ryan levelled. The holders hit the last five points of the half to move from being three in arrears to holding a two point lead at the break, 0-9 to 1-4. A hungrier Sixmilebridge returned for the second half and they held their neighbours and great rivals scoreless for twenty six minutes during which …

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Champions back in the final

By Seamus Hayes Clare senior hurling champions Newmarket are one game away from retaining the Canon Hamilton trophy. Before a big attendance at Clarecastle—the game was transferred from Cusack Park following heavy overnight rain on Saturday night —they had to pull out all the stops to overcome Ballyea in a hard fought contest. At the end of the opening half the teams were level at 0-6 to 1-3 with the game’s only goal coming in the twenty first minute when Gary Brennan turned a Paul Flanagan delivery into the Newmarket net. Newmarket’s greater experience came to the fore in the second half and within a minute of the resumption they had taken a two point lead and they remained in front from here to the end. Clare’s top scorer in 2013 was to the fore for the Blues, hitting o-8, all from frees. Shane O’Brien senior who, along with Ronan Goode, helped Doonbeg progress to the senior football semi-final on the …

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Much to play for in round 3

By Seamus Hayes There will be much to play for in round 3 of the Clare senior hurling championship next weekend after the completion of round 2 which leaves eighteen of the twenty teams in the competition still in with a chance of making it to the play offs. Defending champions Newmarket along with Crusheen, Clonlara, Ballyea and O’Callaghans Mills are the only unbeaten sides after two outings. They are in a strong position to advance but nothing is guaranteed and they wll need to get something from the upcoming round if they are to be in the play offs. Clonlara had five points to spare (1-17 to 1-12) over Clarecastle in a lively tie at Sixmilebride where Cathal ‘Tots’ O’Connell was their goalscorer. Crusheen, with Cian Dillon in sparkling form at centre back, were impressive 0-17 to 0-10 winners over a disappointing Inagh-Kilnamona at Cusack Park. At the same venue, Kilmaley got their campaign back on track with a …

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Heroes welcome for All-Ireland champions

By Seamus Hayes An estimated 30,000 Clare hurling followers assembled in Ennis on Sunday evening to give a heroes welcome home to the newly crowned All-Ireland senior hurling champions. The welcome was also extended to the Clare team which retained the All-Ireland under 21 title two weeks ago and who were also on stage at Active Ennis Tim Smythe Park (formerly known as the Fairgreen). Earlier the team’s first stop on the journey to Ennis was at Cratloe, home to six members of the panel, Paudge and Sean Collins, Conor Ryan, Liam Markham, Cathal McInerney and Conor McGrath as well as team selector Mike Deegan. From there they travelled to Sixmilebridge where local man and team manager Davy Fitzgerald received a rousing welcome. Seadna Morey, Jamie Shanahan and Derek Fahy from the ‘Bridge club are part of the Clare panel. In Newmarket the championship’s top scorer Colin Ryan was given a tumultous reception and it was similar in Clarecastle, home …

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A day to remember for Clare hurling

By Seamus Hayes Clare 5-16 Cork 3-16 What a day for Clare hurling. All-Ireland senior hurling champions for the fourth time in the county’s history after a truly memorable game. In the lead up to Saturday’s replay with Cork, analysists everywhere argued that Clare would need at least a goal if they were to win the LiamMcCarthy cup for the first time since 1997. Another of the big debating points for the past two weeks concerned whether or not Clare would make a change to the starting line up. Two hours before throw in time news emerged that nineteen year old Shane O’Donnell would start ahead of Darach Honan ahead of full forward. to say that he repaid the faith the management showed in him would be an understatement. He delivered a man of the match performance hitting 3-3,  the goals coming inside the first twenty minutes Clare had run up some hugely impressive point tallies in this campaign but …

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