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Ennis students play at Thomond Park

THE past couple of months has seen plenty of activity at St Anne’s Special School in Ennis. As part of an Xcessible Youth Sport Initiative, the school has teamed up with Ennis Rugby Club to introduce tag rugby to some of their students. The initiative was held under the auspices of Munster Rugby and culminated with students and staff heading to Thomond Park to take on other schools who have also taken part in the programme throughout Munster. Donal McMahon was charged with running the programme on behalf of the local rugby club and had nothing but praise for all involved. “I was amazed at the enthusiasm and the skills which the students showed during the initiative. They were so quick to pick up the basic techniques and, obviously, enjoyed the programme. We had lots of fun and it was a hugely enjoyable project to be associated with. “Ennis Rugby Club has always been pro-active in teaming up with charities …

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Taekwon-Do medals for Quin trio

The Irish Taekwon-Do Team returned from the ITF World Championships in Jesolo, Italy with an impressive haul of five gold, six silver and five bronze medals, placing them fourth overall out of 60 countries. Among the Irish squad of 39 were three competitors from Quin Taekwon-Do club and each of them returned with a medal. Stephen Ryan, head instructor in Quin Taekwon-Do club was competing and coaching at the event and won the silver medal in 4th to 6th degree patterns, beating off opposition from Finland, Russia, New Zealand and Italy before narrowly missing out on the gold to his Canadian opponent, Maxime Bujold. The last time these two faced each other in the final was at the 2006 World Cup, with Maxime taking the decision on that occasion also. Stephen though feels his performances are only improving with age and experience, and will now reflect on whether to focus fully on coaching or to continue to compete at the …

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Interesting hurling championship pairings

Clare senior hurling champions, Cratloe, surprisingly beaten in the opening round of the 2015 competition on Saturday last, will face Whitegate in a must win round two game in order to get back into the race for the title. The draws for round 2 in both the senior and intermediate competitions has thrown up some interesting pairings which include the meeting of Sixmilebridge and Crusheen, the clash of neighbours Ballyea and Kilmaley and they meeting of East Clare neighbours Tulla and Feakle. Dates for these games have yet to be finalised but it is expected to be July at the earliest before they take place. Meanwhile, the eagerly awaited replay between Clonlara and Clarecastle is set to go ahead this weekend at the county headquarters in Cusack Park Senior hurling— Winners section—Newmarket v Clooney-Quin; Clarecastle or Clonlara v O’C. Mills; Kilmaley v Ballyea; Sixmilebridge v Crusheen; Losers Section—Whitegate v Cratloe; Eire Og v Tubber; Inagh – Kilnamona v losers of Clarecastle …

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Double whammy for Clare footballers

Clare senior football manager Colm Collins received a double whammy at the weekend with news that both Podge Collins and Martin O’Leary will be injury absentees for the county’s Munster senior football semi-final clash with Cork the weekend after next. Podge Collins was forced to retire 15 minutes into Cratloe’s opening game defence of the Canon Hamilton Cup against Ballyea on Saturday evening. He sustained a cruciate knee ligament injury and had his worse fears confirmed as regards the seriousness of the injury following a scan in Dublin on Sunday. The 23 year-old talisman had decided to throw in his lot with the Clare footballers this year who are managed by his father Colm. The news is that he may be out for the rest of the season as he faces reconstructive surgery followed by a prolonged period of rehabilitation. Given that scenario it’s unlikely that he will return to competitive action again this year. In fact, Podge Collins had …

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Second half McCarthy hat trick wins epic cup final

Newmarket Celtic 4 Bridge United 2 THE 2015 Prego Menswear Clare cup final had it all; great goals, red and yellow cards, unflinching commitment, a big crowd, a torrential downpour, late and even later tackles. The contest was always edgy but laced with moments of real quality from these neighbours, both of whom were desperate to leave the County Grounds in Doora with the Clare Cup. [doptg id=”72″] Late on Saturday evening Newmarket Celtic brought the cup back to their village for the fourth successive year and the 14th time in all. To say they earned it would be a rather underwhelming way to put it. The holders were 2-0 down at half time and looked bereft of ideas and hope. Mikey McNamara put Bridge United 1-0 ahead in the 23rd minute finishing neatly after Niall Quinn failed to hold a low cross from Chris Lake. Newmarket had dominated possession during the opening 20 minutes but hadn’t created any clear …

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Ballyea too sharp for champions Cratloe

  Clare senior hurling champions Cratloe suffered a shock defeat from Ballyea when the sides clashed in the opening round of the 2015 competition at Cusack Park on Saturday evening. They can still retain the title, however, but from here on they have to win all games in the competition. Ballyea were fully deserving of this victory on an evening when they were the sharper side throughout. [doptg id=”71″] This result could well prove to be very costly for Cratloe football boss Colm Collins who is also the Clare senior football manager. Ahead of Clare’s Munster semi-final date with Cork on June 14, two members of the county panel, Podge Collins and Martin O’Leary(he hurls with Ballyea) picked up injuries in this hurling tie which led to their replacement. Collins injured his knee and is now very doubtful for the clash with Cork while O’Leary suffered a collar bone injury which is expected to keep him out of action for …

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The Rock of Cashel’s hurling legacy

THE U-21 grade, introduced in 1964, is one of the most attractive competitions in hurling. This championship has proved to be a solid bridge from minor to senior. The first two championships, in 1964 and 1965, were contested by Wexford and Tipperary, with honours even. Clare has consistently performed well, but had to wait until 2009 before Ciarán O’Doherty became the first Clare man to raise aloft the magnificent Cross of Cashel. Since then, the county has enjoyed unprecedented success, with Conor McGrath, Paul Flanagan and Tony Kelly, all leading Clare to victory. The Cross of Cashel shines a light on all 51 All-Ireland U-21 finals, conjuring up the great names who made this grade special. From a Clare perspective, there is a lot to be taken from this book, with Clare teams and captains photographed in colour. It also includes team-sheets, scoring records and there is a synopsis of each All-Ireland final since 1964. The foreword is by John …

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Cusack Park to close for eight months

UPGRADING works at Cusack Park in Ennis will begin on June 15, Clare GAA secretary Pat Fitzgerald has confirmed “The contractor wants the site handed over in total. It’s an eight-month contract and the work must be completed by the end of the eight months,” Fitzgerald explained at a meeting of the GAA county board. “There are other issues with the Cloister side. We went for planning and there are fairly significant costs involved with preparation, much more than €20,000, €30,000 or €40,000. More information was sought and the cost of preparing that won’t be far off €20,000,” he continued. “Decisions have to be made,” the secretary went on adding, “We would have anticipated that we may be able to use the venue. If we don’t hand it over, the eight months may be much more, maybe 10, 11 or 12 months. The contractor has to be told”. Responding to a query from Clonlara chairman, Flan Mullane, as to where …

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