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Clare dethrone the champions

By Seamus Hayes Clare 0-16 Tipperary 0-15 Clare’s top scorer in recent seasons, Colin Ryan, hit the winning point at Sixmilebridge to send Clare into the semi-final of the 2015 Waterford Crystal senior hurling tournament. The finalists for the past three years produced another close contest when they clashed at O’Garney Park before an attendance of 1,342 on a bright but cold afternoon. In winning, Clare dethroned the holders and set up a semi-final meeting with Cork in Cork next Sunday. It was a win Clare deserved but they nearly let it slip. Four points clear with five minutes remaining, the home side was under a lot of pressure in the closing minutes. Four unanswered points helped the visitors to draw level with a minute remaining before Ryan struck for the winning score. Playing with the aid of the breeze, Tipperary had the better of the early exchanges and raced into a two point lead after five minutes. As the …

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Cusack Park compromise for wheelchair users

AN ad-hoc group, representing Clare people with disabilities, has secured a compromise as regards their seating accommodation in the plans for the upgrade of Cusack Park. In the plans being prepared by the Clare County GAA Board for the revamp of the stand at the county grounds, areas at either end of the stand were initially earmarked to accommodate wheelchair users. However, people with disabilities, who are loyal GAA supporters, were incensed with this proposed positioning, leading to a meeting on Monday night with officials of the county board at which a compromise was reached. Under the new plans presented to the group, wheelchair users will be facilitated with 22 disability accessible seats and 22 seats for carers in a position between the 21m and 50m line on the Cloister side of the stand. In addition to benefiting from covered accommodation, wheelchair users can now look forward to having a much better viewing point on big match days in Cusack …

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Cooney’s goal steers Tulla into Munster semi-final

  St Joseph’s Tulla 1-11; Causeway, Kerry 0-12 St Joseph’s Tulla progressed to the Munster colleges Senior B hurling championship semi-final and a meeting with Coláiste Chríost Rí from Cork, when they overcame the strong challenge presented by a fancied Causeway Community School from Kerry,  in Rathkeale on Friday afternoon. From an early stage, it was a close affair but, in the final analysis, the Clare side were that bit better balanced and this proved decisive. The game’s only goal proved to be a crucial score and it came after just 10 minutes, when Gary Cooney’s powerful strike from the edge of the 13m line beat the Kerry defence. At half time, the winners held a two point advantage, 1-5 to 0-6, but the Kerry side will argue that Darren Chaplin’s effort, six minutes from the interval, should not have been allowed. The umpires disagreed but after consultation, the referee allowed the score. From my position on the sideline, the effort was …

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Understrength Clare to test Tipp

SIXMILEBRIDGE will host the Waterford Crystal senior hurling quarter-final between Clare and Tipperary on Sunday at 2pm. A repeat of last year’s final, which Tipperary won at the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick, the Premier outfit go into Sunday’s tie with the benefit of a first-round win, as a result of which they will carry the favourites’ tag on Sunday. On Friday, January 9 at Dr Morris Park, a hat-trick of goals from Seamus Callinan helped the holders to a 4-16 to 1-16 win over Mary Immaculate College from Limerick. Callinan, one of the stars of last season, finished that game with a tally of 3-7. Tipperary fielded a relatively strong side in last week’s game, while experimenting in some positions. Paul Curran, Shane McGrath, Conor O’Mahoney, Pádraic Maher, Kieran Bergin, Gearóid Ryan, Patrick Maher, Seamus Callinan and James Woodlock all saw action against the Limerick college and are expected to be in the squad again this week for the clash …

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Coughlan targets March 5 return date

CLARE and Kilmurry Ibrickane footballer Enda Coughlan is hoping that he will be given the all clear to resume playing on March 5. The 29 year old Garda injured the cruciate in his left knee playing championship football for his club in Doonbeg against Kilkee last July. Since the operation on September 9, Coughlan has been training six nights weekly in the gym and on the running track. “It’s coming on very well. I was up with (surgeon) Ray Moran before Christmas and he said that there is only 14% strength deficit between the legs. Once that’s down to 10% you can go back playing. I have a few other things to work on and I’m back up to him then on March 5 and hopefully I’ll be cleared to play then,” the Clare utility footballer told The Clare Champion this week. Coughlan has been told that gaining full confidence in the repaired knee is possibly the most difficult step …

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Lifetime achievement award for Eugene

AT the Clare Camogie awards night, Kilmaley’s Eugene McMahon was named as the Lifetime Achievement Award winner for his service to the sport. Eugene has served club and county with passion, dedication and love of the game over a number of years. He is a founding member of Kilmaley Camogie Club, where he has managed and trained teams. Eugene has given of his time, experience and expertise to county teams, including the Clare junior team of 2006, winners of Munster and National League honours, as well as getting to the Junior All-Ireland semi-final. Eugene was also involved with the Clare Camogie Supporters Club. Eugene’s wife, Anne and daughter, Claire accepted the award on his behalf. The volunteer of the year award went to Cratloe’s Audrey McMahon. Audrey has been secretary of the club since it was formed four years ago.

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Low fitness levels among teens

NEW research has  found a measurable negative impact on the health of blood vessels in 15 and 16-year-old boys with low fitness levels. This disturbing detail was released to mark the launch of Aviva Health’s Schools’ Fitness Challenge 2015 Boys with low fitness levels, who performed poorly in a 20m shuttle run test, were also more likely to be overweight, have higher blood pressure and cholesterol when compared to children with moderate to high fitness levels. Heart disease, which involves the build-up of plaque in the walls of blood vessels, is the leading cause of death in Ireland. The research found that boys with low levels of fitness had significantly more plaque in the walls of the arteries supplying the brain than the boys with high levels of fitness. In 2014, nine Clare schools (50% of secondary schools) signed up for the Schools’ Fitness Challenge. A total of 13,067 students (7,242 boys and 5,825 girls) from 26 counties across Ireland successfully …

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Healy retires from inter-county football

ENNISTYMON’S Laurence Healy has opted to end his nine year inter-county football career. The 33 year old school teacher was not a regular starter in 2014 and has decided to call a halt as Clare near the start of their 2015 division 3 NFL campaign. “I loved the training part and playing with the best players in the county. Getting to mark some of the best players in Ireland was also something I enjoyed. Last year I was on the panel but I was a sub. When you’re used to starting it’s hard to face into being a panellist. Steven Gerrard had the same issue at Liverpool,” Healy joked. “I’m not good at being a sub anyway. I know that from last year. I suppose you’re selfish in that way in that you just want to be playing. It was great that the team went well but it’s just not the same when you’re not playing,” he conceded. Healy said that …

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