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Tag Archives: National Hurling League

Stack looks back with pride and regret

IT’S 38 years since Seán Stack captained Clare to their last national league title but when he presses the refresh button on the bank of memories, tales flow effortlessly. Most of them are of great times, games and life-long friends but an obstinate regret lingers that Clare failed to deliver a Munster title. The absence of a Munster medal irks Stack and always will. His eyes cannot conceal the hurt. Clare played in three league finals in the mid to late 1970s, losing in ’76 to Kilkenny and beating them in ’77 and ’78. They lost three successive provincial finals in that era. “Frightening isn’t it?” Stack said of the speed with which the years have piled up since. “Would you believe I can still feel the sense in the dressing room, the atmosphere in the camp and the build up to the league finals.” As if they togged together last Sunday, Stack can clearly recall who did what in …

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McInerney retains perspective on and off the field

“I’M very immature. I’d happily watch a Disney movie and find it funny. If my mother is coming home from work, I’ll stand in a corner and jump out and scare her.” Not usually the words you associate with a Clare senior player. 2013 All-Star David McInerney has vacated his corner-back position this year for a number six jersey, although unfortunately injury has ruled him out of Sunday’s National Hurling League final. When I meet McInerney he’s a bit late for the interview. He’s just after milking and dosing 85 cows on a Monday afternoon. He’s wearing old farm clothes covered in cow dung but he changes quickly and makes two cups of tea (without electricity today). This week he isn’t teaching primary school children but when you’re from a farm, there’s always something to do. Mind you, he only woke at 8.30am this morning, which is sinful on any farm. The Tulla clubman was quite busy in his younger …

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Facing Cats is Clare’s biggest test yet

IN many ways Clare’s progress to the National Hurling League semi-final is surprising, given the number of injuries that has deprived the team of many regulars. The side had to face Tipperary in the quarter-final without eight players that were in the team that lost to Cork in the championship qualifier last summer. Considering this, Clare’s progress to this stage of the league has been impressive. Indeed, those that have been called into the panel have made a mark, which means there is huge competition for places in the team. While the situation with injured players is not as bad as in recent weeks, the expectation is the team on Sunday to face Kilkenny will be along the lines of that which lined out Tipperary two weeks ago. Both Clare and Kilkenny have availed of the campaign to give fringe players an opportunity to impress. Clare have used over 30, while Kilkenny have given 28 players an outing. Tony Kelly is …

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Injuries may prove costly for Clare

FROM the moment the schedule of games for this season’s hurling league was published, today’s (Sunday) final group game between Shannonside neighbours Clare and Limerick was ear-marked as the tie that would decide who will be promoted to Division 1A for 2017. Clare, it must be said, were unlucky to be relegated from the top flight at the end of last season’s league, when they lost by the minimum margin to Kilkenny on successive Sundays. Limerick have been stuck in Division 1B for the past few years, falling narrowly at the final hurdle on a few occasions. They made some changes to their management team back in the autumn, bringing in Joe O’Connor as team trainer and appointing Tipperary man Dinny Cahill as team coach. O’Connor is widely recognised as a trainer and he filled that role for Clare when the Banner men won the All-Ireland title in 2013. Such is the attractiveness of Sunday’s tie that a crowd of 10,000 is …

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Hurlers set to make a winning start

THE only team Clare beat in last season’s Senior Hurling Championship will provide the opposition for the Banner men ins Sunday’s opening game in the 2016 National Hurling League. Offaly will travel to Cusack Park in Ennis as underdogs and anything other than a comfortable win for Clare, recent impressive winners of the Munster League, will rank as a surprise. That said, Davy Fitzgerald’s charges cannot take anything for granted against a Midland side that is under new management this season. Tipperary’s Eamonn Kelly, a member of the Sixmilebridge management team that went through 2015 without suffering a defeat in either league or championship, will have learned a lot about Clare from his time here last season and while he said this week that Offaly are not as far down the road in their preparations as Clare, the Banner outfit will need to be wary of the visitors. Clare will be without joint captain Tony Kelly and utility player Seadna …

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Clare hurling in the ’70s

IT was an evening of nostalgia when the team of the 1970s that appeared in three successive National Hurling League finals gathered in Bunratty on Friday night last. Addressing those assembled, then team manager Fr Harry Bohan noted “those years were significant for Clare hurling and certainly for ourselves; we did sow seeds”. The games, the wins and the losses were all recalled and everyone took time to remember the role played by the late Tom Crowe from Clonlara. Asking all to stand for a minute’s silence as a mark of respect, John Callinan recalled playing in the Fitgibbon Cup with Tom. He said it was “an appropriate occasion to think of him and his family. He was a major character in our team. He was the man of the 1970s”. Clare GAA chairman Joe Cooney recalled Crowe’s “historic and crucial goal against Kilkenny in the unforgettable league final”. “Did a sliother ever take so long to get over the …

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Injury concerns for Clare hurlers

IT’S an indication of the standing enjoyed by the teams involved that Sunday’s National Hurling League relegation play-off between Clare and Kilkenny is to be televised live by TG4 ahead of a number of quarter-final games and ahead of a number of attractive football league ties. Prior to the commencement of the league, few would have thought that the All-Ireland champions of the past two years, Clare and Kilkenny would now be preparing to do battle to decide who will remain in Division 1A for next season. Kilkenny will carry the favourites’ tag. They will welcome back a number of their leading lights, who missed last week’s game due to injuries and the fact that management decided to rest some players ahead of the crucial play-off. They were boosted on Monday when they won the toss for venue, which means that Clare must make the journey to the Marble City for the second time in seven days. While the Noresiders …

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