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Tag Archives: football

Westmeath’s second half goals too much for Clare

By Seamus Hayes Westmeath 3-9 Clare 2-8 While Clare’s under 21 footballers showed improved form from their first round loss to Roscommon a week earlier, defeat was still their lot when they hosted Westmeath at Miltown on Saturday in round 2 of the Hastings cup under 21 football competition. The Banner side will complete their programme in this competition on Friday next when they will play Kildare under lights at St. Patricks GAA grounds in Limerick city. Clare got off to a dream start on Saturday when Jamie Malone goaled in the second minute but they failed to build on this and the visitors hit back with five unanswered points to lead by two at the end of the first quarter. A point each from midfielders Ciaran Devitt and Conor Cleary levelled the game and the teams went on to exchange points with Martin O’Leary’s effort for the home side  leaving the half time score at 1-3 to 0-6. In the …

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Players emigrating off the GAA fields

CLARE GAA County Board chairman, Michael McDonagh, believes the player haemorrhage from Clare is far worse than official records show. Fifty-six players departed the Banner County in 2013 and 45 transferred to clubs abroad in 2012, according to figures posted on the GAA website, meaning a total of 101 hurlers and footballers left the county over the past two years. However, the county board chair feels the level of emigration is much higher than the official figures suggest. “One of the worst hit clubs I’d say is Kilmihil. They have lost nearly a team themselves. In West Clare alone, I’d be surprised if it stopped at 100 because I think that there are an awful lot of people gone who haven’t transferred. My honest opinion is you’ve 100 who transferred but another 100 or 150 who have gone but haven’t transferred. They’re not bothering with hurling or football; they’re just gone. I’d say there’s probably between 200 and 300 players, if not more, …

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Fixture structure must change

IF the fixtures are structured properly in the county, it is possible for players to play hurling and football with success at club level. That’s the view of Cratloe star Conor McGrath, who left Pairc na nGael in Limerick bitterly disappointed. “If the fixtures are structured properly in the county, it’s possible to do both. If they are structured the same as this year, there’s not a hope. The way the championships were run off this year was not conducive to a football and a hurling team doing well. “We’d be hopeful that the county board will do something about this and a couple of matches in the football and hurling would be played in May, June and July every year, so that we won’t have a situation we had this year,” said McGrath, who was outstanding in attack on Sunday. Asked if it’s possible to play both codes at inter-county level, the All-Star hurler replied, “I’m not involved in …

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Players give last drop in epic second half

Dr Crokes 0-13 Cratloe 0-12 NOBODY noticed the December 1 sky darkening over the Gaelic Grounds on Sunday afternoon. Not a sinner in the 2,384 attendance was concerned about anything other than the unfolding drama they had paid €15 to witness. They probably had to seek a second opinion to back up what they were seeing, as Cratloe fought until the last kick of what has been an epic 2013 for their club and their multi-decorated men in blue. Eight points down after 24 minutes (0-10 to 0-2), Cratloe led the now three in-a-row Munster champions (0-12 to 0-11) with just four minutes left of what has been a mind-blowing season for Clare and Cratloe GAA. With Dr Crokes on the ropes, history beckoned invitingly for the first-time Clare senior football champions. Yet despite having only registered a single point in the preceding 33 minutes of football, the Kerry champions didn’t buckle. Even with Colm Cooper sitting in the Mackey …

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Cratloe – a football club that dabbles in hurling?

IN the aftermath of Cratloe’s county semi-final win over Éire Óg, Óige Murphy issued a few words to the media that were steeped in honesty, albeit somewhat eyebrow-raising. “I suppose we’re known as a hurling team, who kind of dabble in the football,” the Cratloe wing-back said in the middle of the pitch in Clarecastle on Sunday, November 3. Just over a month later, that statement could be justifiably revised. Now that Cratloe have established themselves as a football club that dabbles in a bit of hurling, the demands on their most capable dual players will increase exponentially. If the Clare senior football team is to have a realistic chance of emerging from Division 4, they need the input of players such as Cathal McInerney, Conor Ryan, Liam Markham, Podge and Seán Collins. All of them have played football for Clare from U-14 to U-21 levels and, in fact, the latter three have already played inter-county senior football. Let’s not …

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Hawes calm ahead of Magpie storm

EVER wonder how far Cratloe football has progressed inside a decade? Eleven years ago, the club’s Junior A team defeated Doonbeg in the 2002 county final. That winning panel was Cratloe’s first team, while their opponents were The Magpies’ juniors. Come Saturday afternoon, Cratloe will compete on an equal footing with their vaunted rivals when they take on Doonbeg for the 2013 Clare Senior Football Championship. Then aged 17, the now 28-year-old Michael Hawes lined out at corner-forward in 2002. “It’s some jump in 11 years. A lot of the credit has to go to Colm [Collins] for that. I know Martin Murphy was there all along bringing us to that level but Colm really brought us the next step. There were a lot of us involved back in 2002 and we’re still tipping around today,” the Connacht Hotel account assistant reflected. “I remember going to county finals in the late ’90s and watching the likes of Doonbeg and Kilmurry. …

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Aherne prepares to walk behind the band

THE teaching profession must be the most represented occupation in the Doonbeg dressing room. Páraic Aherne and Colm Dillon teach woodwork and drawing, while Brian Egan imparts his knowledge of metalwork. On top of that, Paul and Brian Dillon are in the process of joining the teaching ranks in the Magpies’ changing room. Given that Clare club footballers and hurlers are generally idle most summers, it must be a source of some frustration to Doonbeg’s collection of teachers that their summer holidays are not pock-marked by many games of championship football. “The team that comes out at the worst end on Saturday is going to suffer most maybe because they’ll have gone on for so long, when possibly it could have been avoided,” Aherne suggested, when commenting on the lack of regular championship action in the county until late autumn and early winter. The Doonbeg wing-back, a teacher in Thurles CBS, reasonably points out that retaining interest throughout the year …

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Unique pairing sets up fascinating final duel

SATURDAY’S county football final, which throws in at 2.30pm, brings disparate parts of Clare together in pursuit of Jack Daly. Doonbeg, hugging the Atlantic coast, are zoning in on their 19th championship since 1955 while Cratloe, with the local wood their most iconic landmark, are trying to grasp Jack Daly for their first time. The fact that the clubs have only met once in senior championship, and never in a county final, adds further intrigue to this weekend’s showdown. Ironically, this will not be Cratloe’s first appearance in a county final, although nobody is around to reveal what happened when they lost to Newmarket in the July 10, 1887 final. What is known is that Cratloe didn’t score in that game and some of their players didn’t show up because much of the Cratloe team had to herd cattle to a fair on the same day. While nothing else may be certain about the 2013 final, it is spectacularly unlikely …

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