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Regicidal tendencies fuel Clare’s quest

Unquestionably the biggest current rivalry in hurling, the stakes were raised considerably higher for Clare’s latest Munster Senior Hurling Final showdown with neighbours Limerick when opting to play in the lion’s den of the TUS Gaelic Grounds this Sunday (1.45pm). With a Thurles rematch the most logical choice but amazingly not an option presented, whatever the full narrative of what actually occurred behind the scenes, it was a courageous and confident poker move. Initially viewed at a national level as suicidal, it was actually the ultimate regicidal act as not only did it demonstrate that Clare have no fear of playing in LImerick’s own grounds but more pointedly possess no fear of Limerick themselves. Considering that John Kiely’s side are bidding for an unprecedented five-in-a-row of Munster titles, it was a bold statement but one which will undoubtedly make their hosts all the more wary on Sunday. While the result will inevitably dictate the methodology of the location decision, it …

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Time to right the wrongs of ’55

Clare have played eight Munster finals in Limerick, but have yet to taste success with the 1955 final meeting in the Gaelic Grounds being among the most famous, or infamous, deciders of them all writes Joe Ó Muircheartaigh. “THOSE AMAZING Clare hurlers have done it again,” gushed one of the great GAA reporters of the time, Pádraig Puirséal, as the Banner boys cut a dash in the Gaelic Grounds and at once looked on the cusp of greatness. Munster and All-Ireland titles were being talked about. And why not? “We had the All-Ireland sewn up,” recalled Jimmy Carney from Bealaha, who played left-half-forward for Clare. “I was 19 years of age and all I had on my mind was an All-Ireland medal,” he added. It was Carney’s goal against Tipperary that lit up the Gaelic Grounds before they edged home to one-point victory thanks to a late white flag from Jimmy Smyth. All that after they’d edged past Cork by …

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Seat of learning and hurling for Clare and Limerick

Árdscoil Rís in Limerick has made a huge contribution to the development of Clare and Limerick hurling over the past decade and more and the imprint of the school will be all over this Sunday’s Munster final, writes Joe Ó Muircheartaigh, who spoke to Ennistymon man Niall Crowe about a success story that keeps on running. When Paul Flanagan joined the staff of Árdscoil Rís a number of years ago it wasn’t long before he came across a picture montage outside the school gym that brought back a few memories. They were shots in celebration of Árdscoil’s first coming as a force in Munster Colleges hurling, even if it was at Paul Flanagan’s expense, and his Ballyea club mate’s Tony Kelly too. “We were looking at them one day,” recalls fellow teacher and Clareman Niall Crowe and Paul just pointed at one picture and said, ‘that’s me there’. Straight away you could make him out because of the distinctive red …

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Home away from home

Mike O’Neill from Kilkee may have been involved with Na Piarsaigh in Limerick for many years but he’s a Clare hurling man to his very core – he told Joe Ó Muircheartaigh that the Banner boys will feel at home in the Gaelic Grounds because the dividing line between the two counties is the River Shannon. “Ye’re getting cocky, coming to Limerick.” “We’re the only crowd that beat ye and we beat ye in the Gaelic Grounds.” It was Wednesday of last week and this was the main business of the telephone conversation between Shane O’Neill and Mike O’Neill – a hurling son and his hurling father. And, hurling soulmates for sure – they’re even club mates as well, with both fiercely loyal to the sky blue of Na Piarsaigh in Caherdavin. But that’s where the hurling kinship ends. After that battle lines are drawn and they keep either side of the county boundaries between Clare and Limerick. Shane is …

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12 O”Clock Hills Trail Forced To Close After Fire

Hikers in East Clare have been dealt a huge blow following the closure of the 12 O’Clock Hills Trails following a very significant forest fire on the Upper Hills on Thursday evening. Two residents were evacuated from their homes as a precaution on Thursday night after 8pm. This popular walking and hiking amenity is now closed until Monday due to health and safety concerns after claims the forest fires may have been started maliciously or as a result of carelessness. It is expected the 12 O’Clock Hills committee may make a further announcement pending an inspection on Friday night. Firefighters from Shannon Fire Station, Killaloe Fire Station and a Limerick City Fire Station battled the blaze on Thursday evening. It is understood Shannon Fire Station was alerted about the fire at 5.3opm and Killaloe Fire Station was tasked at around 8.55pm. The overall response involved three fire applicances and three fire vans. Personnel included four firefighters and station officer from …

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Fair Green hosting Munster Final screening

Clare County Council is hosting a screening of the Munster Senior Hurling Final for those unable to attend the TUS Gaelic Grounds on Sunday. It will be at the Fair Green in Ennis and all are welcome to a free, non-ticket, alcohol-free event. Entry and exit will be via the normal points, with additional parking available on Sunday at Áras Contae an Chláir from 12.00pm until 5.00pm. Councillor Tony O’Brien, Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council, said: “This will be a great event for all Clare supporters as our hurlers endeavour to secure their first Munster Senior Hurling title in 25 years. Clare County Council is delighted to facilitate the screening and bring people together to celebrate the occasion in our county town.” Pat Dowling, Chief Executive, Clare County Council, added: “The current Clare team has given us huge excitement in the Munster Hurling Championship over the past number of seasons, and the screening at the Fairgreen on Sunday will be …

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Ogie Fanning of Clare celebrates a goal during their Minor All-Ireland championship final at Thurles. Photograph by John Kelly.

HURLING: Banner blast past Galway to claim All-Ireland victory

All-Ireland Minor Final Clare 2-22 Galway 4-11 At Semple Stadium, Thurles A stunning third quarter paved the way for a glorious afternoon for Clare hurling as the All-Ireland minor title was claimed for only the second time in the county’s history on the back of a famous five-point victory, writes Joe Ó Muircheartaigh. This was when a rampant Banner side breached the Galway goal on two occasions and turned what was a one-point interval lead into a convincing 2-16 to 2-8 advantage that had Galway reeling, on the ropes, and on their way out. The Tribesmen had laid waste all opponents on the way to the decider, but in Clare they met their match as Ogie Fanning’s goal inside a minute of the restart put a fire under them that ultimately burned Galway’s challenge. The second came via a James Hegarty free that was fumbled to the net by the keeper on 36 minutes and from there it was just …

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