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Munster Autotest in Ennis

CLARE Motor Club’s first event of the 2015 season kicks into action this weekend, when the club hosts rounds 3 and 4 of the 2015 Premier Autoparts Munster Autotest Championship. Limerick Motor Club hosted the opening two rounds and the top three drivers are fighting for top position. Timmy Lynch from Killorglin leads the series in his Westfield rear wheel drive sports car, followed by Ian White and Paddy Power, who are both driving Minis. The event takes place at Clare Marts on the Quin Road, Ennis on Saturday, with action commencing at 3pm and beginning again on Sunday at 11am.

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Newmarket Celtic face a big test

NEWMARKET Celtic travel to Waterford on Sunday in search of a place in the Munster Junior Cup final. Carrick United from Carrick-on-Suir provide the opposition for the Clare side, who are still very much in contention for the domestic double. They are well ahead in the race for the league title and it will be a major shock if they fail to capture it, while they are through to the quarter-finals of the Clare Junior Cup. Twelve months ago, the Clare side got to the Munster semi-final, where they suffered a comprehensive 4-0 defeat from Geraldines from Limerick. Many of the players who made up that team will be in the squad on Sunday, including Seamie Lawlor, Eoin O’Brien, Darren Cullinan, Stephen and Alan Kely, Ronan McCormack, Eoin Hayes and Alan Brigdale. They make up an experienced squad and the arrival of Clare Oscar Traynor captain, Pat Purcell has strengthened the squad this year, while another newcomer to the panel …

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New GAA playing rules take effect

THE new GAA rules adopted at Congress will come into play from this Saturday. It is expected, however that they will not be in operation for the U-21 championship finals, which should conclude under the rules that have operated for the competition. The main change will see one-on-one for a penalty in hurling, while other changes include: – A yellow card does not carry into extra time (hurling and football); – The referee may consult with a neutral linesman concerning the validity of a score (hurling and football); – For free pucks for technical fouls committed inside the large rectangle and awarded on the centre point of the 20m line, a maximum of five players may stand on the goal-line and may not move forward until the ball has been struck. The player taking the free puck may place the ball up to 7m back from the 20m line and within the arc but must strike it on or outside …

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Kilmaley and Éire Óg vie for U-21 title

ON semi-final form, there is little between Kilmaley and Éire Óg ahead of Saturday’s U-21 A Hurling Championship final. Both sides look well-balanced, with a number of key players who should make it a lively encounter in Cusack Park. Kilmaley are probably entitled to carry the favourites’ tag, as they won the corresponding minor A title three years ago and that experience should be a help. Captain Conor Cleary, Aidan McGuane, Michael O’Malley and Cian Moloney have been regulars in the senior side in recent years and they have all played key parts in the team’s progress to this stage of the championship. They are supported by Conan Fitzgerald, Brian Cahill, Sean and Aidan Kennedy and Padraic McNamara from last year’s minor A-winning side and, in their semi-final win over Clarecastle, that combination played some very impressive hurling. Inter-county man Shane O’Donnell is a key figure in the Éire Óg line-up. While his tally in the semi-final win over Ballyea …

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Footballers secure division 3 status for 2016

Clare 1-14 Fermanagh 2-9 PLAYING the best football of their 2015 league campaign, Clare secured their division 3 status for 2016 with an ultimately narrow win over Fermanagh in Cusack Park on Sunday. It was their third league win of 2015. Played in front of an attendance of 938, Clare led 1-14 to 1-5 with just six minutes left and the game looked over. However Fermanagh hit the home county for 1-4 without reply in the closing minutes and until their last attack was repelled, there was a nagging anxiety amongst the Clare supporters that the already promoted Fermanagh might bang in a late goal, which would have relegated the home county. Clare knew that a win would keep them in division 3 next season and they set about making sure that happen, although it took them 13 minutes to score, when Jamie Malone kicked the games opening point. The exceptionally industrious Podge Collins added another before Fermanagh full forward …

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Bank holiday Cusack cup ties

ROUND two of The Clare Champion-sponsored Cusack Cup will take place on Monday at four venues, with all games throwing in at 2pm. In Doonaha, O’Curry’s will host Kilmurry-Ibrickane, who are on the trail of their fifth successive title. O’Curry’s were beaten by Clondegad in their opening game, while Kilmurry defeated Lissycasey by a point. Home advantage will help O’Curry’s but Kilmurry will still be favourites to pick up their second win of the campaign. In Lissycasey, the home club host neighbours Clondegad. Lissycasey are under a bit more pressure to get a result, given that they lost their opening game, albeit very narrowly. Clondegad are already on two points and another win would put them in a good position to push for a place in the semi-final at least. While this is a tricky one to call, Clondegad will start as marginal favourites in this all-parish derby. Elsewhere, Doonbeg host Miltown, who drew their opening game with Cooraclare. Doonbeg …

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Eire Og seal u-21 final spot

Eire Og 2-17 Ballyea 1-12 Eire Og booked their place in the final of the under 21 A hurling championship on Saturday when they accounted for Ballyea at Clarecastle. While the town side were deserving winners, a margin of eight points is a little harsh on Ballyea who were only two points adrift entering the final ten minutes. At the end of a well contested first half, Eire Og led by two points, 0-9 to 0-7. They scored the last two points of the half after Ballyea had hit three in a row to draw level twenty four minutes into the tie. The margin was still the same with ten minutes remaining. They swapped points twice in the opening ten minutes of the half before Eire Og hit a brace to open a four point gap only for Ballyea to reply with a brace. A Conor O’Halloran goal put the townies five clear but the cheering had hardly died down …

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Kilmaley secure u-21 A final place

Kilmaley 0-19 Clarecastle 0-13 They provided patrons with a very exciting minor A championship final in 2012 and they produced another exciting contest when they clashed in the under 21 A semi-final at Clonlara on Friday evening. At the end of a very tight contest in 2012, Kilmaley led by the minimum margin. On this occasion they led by six when Ger Hoey called a halt to proceedings and few will dispute the merit of their latest success. Over the hour they were the better balanced side and finished strongly to seal a place in next Saturday’s final. They took a 0-3 to 0-1 lead after ten minutes and by the end of the first quarter they had extended this to 0-7 to 0-2. Their advantage could have been greater but Clarecastle goalie Jonathan Griffey made a fine save from Aidan Kennedy when a goal looked likely. Three points separated the sides at half time when the score was 0-9 …

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