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Tag Archives: John Conlon

Clare find momentum at the right time

SINCE the new millennium dawned, Clare have beaten Cork once in 11 championship games. Clare’s only win? The 2013 All-Ireland replay. If you were going to pick one of those games to win, that would be the one. The statistics also make it clear that, generally speaking, Cork beat Clare very regularly. They have won 38 of the 50 Munster championship games played between the two counties. Cork have won the Munster championship 53 times to Clare’s mere six. Clare are fifth in that particular table, three short of Waterford’s nine provincial titles. Why this sudden interest in numbers? It underscores the significance of Sunday. This Clare panel need a Munster championship and the county senses that they are on the cusp of delivering. There is a clear sense that the Clare hurling team have the county behind them again. Three Munster round-robin wins, in nifty succession, has that effect. Until Clare’s semi-final win over Limerick in 2017, they had …

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Conlon and Flanagan ruled out

Clare have been dealt a double blow ahead of Sunday’s National Hurling League final, with John Conlon and Paul Flanagan both ruled out. Conlon, one of the stars of the win over Kilkenny, has not recovered from a leg injury picked up in that game and, at this stage, he is also a doubt for the Munster championship semi-final on June 5. The injury is understood to be similar to that which kept Tony Kelly and Jack Browne out of action for almost two months. Paul Flanagan will also miss the final due to concussion. Discussing Clare’s involvement in the 2016 National Hurling League final is not something that was expected when the competition got underway back in February. Yet here they are, putting the final touches to their plans for a tilt at title-holders Waterford at Semple Stadium in Thurles on Sunday at 3.30pm. Undefeated in 11 competitive outings this season, Clare will go into Sunday’s decider determined to …

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Nowlan Park display sets the bar

SOMETHING odd is happening in Clare. There is splintering opinion as to whether the Clare hurling glass is full, half full or half empty. Sunday’s display in Nowlan Park clearly suggests that the glass is, if not teeming over, definitely not half empty. The panel of players deserve immense credit for producing that standard of hugely committed hurling in Nowlan Park. While some individuals, notably Tony Kelly and Shane O’Donnell, excelled, as a team Clare resembled themselves again. Based on Sunday, it’s not over the top to suggest that they will be formidable Munster championship opponents for Limerick come May 24. Based on Saturday, Limerick will be doing well to turn up at all. They were obliterated by Dublin and looked remarkably off the pace of league, let alone championship, hurling. Clare showed what they can do if they produce the level they are capable of. That’s looking at it from a glass-half-full standpoint. However, there is no avoiding the …

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Sideline decisions cost Clare in Wexford cauldron

NOT a feat they’ll be boasting about but the 2013 All-Ireland champions broke new ground in the frenzied cauldron that was Wexford Park last Saturday evening. Since the back door and subsequent All-Ireland qualifier system was introduced in 1997 no reigning All-Ireland championship has exited at the earliest possible opportunity. Defeats to Cork and now Wexford, leaves Clare as the first holders of the Liam McCarthy Cup to fall at this juncture in their title defence. Clare didn’t hand back their All-Ireland title because the players weren’t prepared to give their last ounce. They were met with a fresher, fully committed Wexford team who should really have won the drawn game in Ennis, well before extra-time. Lets be honest here, if Wexford had lost, particularly the replay, Liam Dunne would have searching questions to answer. Their deployment of their two extra men, an advantage they hand for 30 minutes, was almost impossible to fathom. Rarely did they seek to stretch …

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Conlon reflects on a dream come true

ONE of five Clonara men to play a part in Clare’s epic 2013 All-Ireland final win, John Conlon has long dreamed of this day. The 24 year old Clonara man, who hurled with ferocity and poise in what was a momentous 70 minutes of hurling, set his sights on hurling in Croke Park, long before he wore a county jersey. “I remember when I was younger sitting in the Nally Stand and looking out. I was wondering ‘will I be here one day?’ You train, train and train. You have the bad days and these are the amazing days,” Conlon said afterwards. He watched the 1997 All-Ireland final from the Nally Stand and speaking on Saturday evening, he found it hard to comprehend that he was now an All-Ireland winner himself. “This is the stuff of dreams. I remember being out in the back garden when Limerick played Wexford. (1996) I was looking at the TV inside the window saying …

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