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Off the Fence with Fergie O’Loughlin

This week The Clare Champion hurling columnist asks why two leading referees were sitting in the stand at last weekends senior quarter-finals. I WAS in Cusack Park on Saturday evening. Sitting across from me were Rory McGann and Rory Hickey. They are the two best referees in the county but they were sitting above in the stand. Somebody needs to explain why they weren’t refereeing any of the four senior hurling quarter-finals at the weekend. It’s a no brainer for me that these lads had to be refereeing a couple of those games. Somebody has to stand up and explain why neither of them were. We saw a situation last year where the referees stuck together when Ambrose Heagney got the county final. None of them wanted to make themselves available to do the line or the fourth official’s role because they felt hard done by with the appointment. Now, we have a situation where two referees are being left …

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Thurles replay after semi-final classic

Clare 1-30 Galway 1-30 (AET) CLARE will meet Galway again, next Sunday in Thurles at 2pm, for a place in the All-Ireland final on August 19, following an extraordinary and epic semi-final in Croke Park this evening. Substitute Jason McCarthy rescued Clare with an injury time equaliser, at the end of extra-time, in what was a classic encounter. The teams were tied 1-23 to Clare’s 0-26 at the end of normal time. Peter Duggan, who scored 0-14 in total, equalised for Clare as the game entered injury, after 70 minutes. Substitute, Aron Shanagher goaled for Clare at the start of extra-time and from there to the end it continued to evolve into an increasingly epic contest. It was his first game game following a lengthy lay off, after an operation on his cruciate. Galway made a superb started and raced into a 1-7 to 0-1 lead after just 16 minutes. Clare could not win a break and struggled badly on …

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“Fellas that collapsed before can collapse again”- Loughnane optimistic Clare can cause upset

ALL conquering last year and having turned in some dominant displays this summer, Ger Loughnane still feels Galway may not be the irresistible force some feel they are. He believes if Clare take them on from the first whistle, they may find some flakiness in the Galway ranks. “What I do hope is that Clare go in and ask the questions from the very beginning and just play with total abandon. Not wildness now, with structure; but absolutely have a right cut at them from the start. I think that fellas that collapsed before can collapse again, that’s always my belief. Fourteen of that Galway team, that played the last day, played in the 2016 Leinster final, which was the most abject surrender I’ve seen in the last 10 years in a championship game.” The Feakle man adds, “They’ve won an All-Ireland since, maybe they’ve turned into a brilliant team since, they look to have, but Clare have to test …

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Clare book All-Ireland semi-final date

Clare 0-27 Wexford 1-17 THE Clare hurlers will play championship hurling in Croke Park for the first time in five years following a superb 0-27 to 1-17 All-Ireland quarter-final win over Wexford in Cork. They will meet All-Ireland champions Galway in the semi-final, on Saturday July 28 at 5pm. Playing in front of a small crowd of 10,255 in Pairc Uí Chaoimh, Clare led 0-16 to 0-9 at half-time, following an excellent first half display. Tony Kelly put over 0-4 from play while Peter Duggan landed 0-4 from placed balls. David Reidy put over two quality points in that half, during which Clare worked exceptionally hard and won a high percentage of their own and Wexford’s puck outs. Wexford put over the first two points of the new half and looked as if they would play their way back into it. However Podge Collins responded with an immediate point from play and at that juncture, Clare retained control. Approaching the …

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Late first half Cork goal costs Clare

CLARE fell to a disappointing second successive Munster final loss to Cork in Thurles. Played in front of a crowd of 45,364, Clare were chasing their seventh Munster title in what was their 13th provincial final meeting with Cork. Clare are still without a Munster title since 1998 and on reflection, Cork’s late first half goal, put away by Luke Meade, was a key score. Clare led 2-11 to 1-10 at half-time, following an immense 35 minutes from John Conlon. A minute before half-time, Clare led 2-11 to 0-9 and looked to be approaching the interval in an excellent position. However, Meade ghosted through and finished to the Clare net, while a minute later, Mark Coleman pointed a superb line ball. Clare’s first half goals were put away by David Reidy, following a superb Seadna Morey run, while Peter Duggan finished the second to the net, after a Donal Tuohy free dropped in front of Anthony Nash’s goalmouth. Clare played …

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Clare can’t let Sunday become a shootout says Cunningham

Having spent a few years patrolling the sidelines, with both Cork and Dublin, former Rebels All-Star Ger Cunningham is revelling in the armchair role he has now taken up. He talks to Gerry McInerney about Sunday’s prospects Momentum is key and former Cork player and selector Ger Cunningham believes Clare’s new-found confidence can be traced to a seminal moment in Thurles a few weeks ago. Jake Morris’ late strike rebounded back into play off the butt of Donal Tuohy’s post and, in a sweeping counter-attack, Clare opened up the Tipperary rearguard for Ian Galvin to strike the killer goal. From hanging on to Tipperary’s coat-tails for virtually the duration of the match, Clare kicked on and Peter Duggan delivered the coup de grace with an audacious point from the sideline. Clare got the result, if not the performance but it was the break the team craved and maybe, just maybe, the spark required to ignite their season. That view was …

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Reidy cleared to play in Munster final

CLARE hurler David Reidy is free to play in Sunday weeks Munster final against Cork in Thurles. The Clare Champion has learned that the Clare half forward and free taker has been successful in his appeal today in Croke Park. The Éire Óg clubman was red carded during Clare’s round robin Munster championship defeat of Limerick in Cusack Park last Sunday. Initially, Limerick substitute, Tom Condon, was red carded. Referee, James Owens, consulted with his umpires in making the decision to dismiss Condon. However, before play resumed, he again spoke to his umpires and decided to also issue Reidy with a red card, deeming foul play in an incident with Limerick’s Diarmuid Byrnes, who tumbled to the ground, following what looked like minimal contact. Reidy can now concentrate on preparing for the July 1 final, which is a repeat of the 2017 decider. There is no news yet if joint manager, Donal Moloney, will be free to patrol the touchline. …

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Changes to Clare senior and minor hurling teams

The Clare senior and minor hurling management teams have announced changes to the starting line ups for Sunday’s crucial games with Limerick from the sides which played Tipperary in Thurles last week Following their hugely impressive performances when introduced last week, Podge Collins and Seadna Morey have been included in the starting senior line up for Sunday’s game at Cusack Park. They replace David Fitzgerald and Conor McGrath in a side that is otherwise unchanged from that which started last week The team is Donal Tuohy (Crusheen) Patrick O’Connor (Tubber),  David McInerney (Tulla) Jack Browne (Ballyea); Seadna Morey (Sixmilebridge), Conor Cleary (Miltown St. Josephs) , Jamie Shanahan (Sixmilebridge); Colm Galvin (Clonlara), Cathal Malone (Sixmilebridge); Peter Duggan (Clooney-Quin), Tony Kelly (Ballyea), David Reidy (Éire Óg); Podge Collins (Cratloe), John Conlon (Clonlara). Shane O’Donnell (Éire Óg) Subs: Andrew Fahy (Whitegate), Rory Hayes (Wolfe Tones), Jason McCarthy (Inagh-Kilnamona), David Fitzgerald (Inagh-Kilnamona), Michael O’Malley (Kilmaley), Ryan Taylor (Clooney-Quin), Niall Deasy (Ballyea), Ian Galvin (Clonlara),Michael …

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