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Hurlers’ chance to get first points

AFTER a great start to the league with impressive wins over Tipperary and Kilkenny, the Dublin senior hurlers were brought crashing back down to earth on Saturday night, when they suffered a drubbing at the hands of Cork at Croke Park. An 11-point loss should see the Ger Cunningham-managed side come to Ennis on Saturday for their meeting with Clare determined to get back to winning ways and secure a place in the play-offs. Another defeat could see the Ger Cunningham-managed Dubs with relegation worries on their minds going into the final game of the group stage. Davy Fitzgerald and his team will be hoping that the improvement shown in their game against Tipperary will continue and lead to a Clare win this weekend. Clare will have to win their remaining two games and hope that other results go in their favour if they are to have a chance of avoiding the dreaded relegation play-off. It’s unlikely that all of …

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Two departures from Clare panel

Nicky O’Connell and Davy O’Halloran have turned their backs on the Clare senior hurling panel. Clonlara’s O’Connell, an All-Ireland senior and U-21 medal winner and O’Halloran, from Éire Óg, also an U-21 All-Ireland medalist, left the panel last week after they were punished for an alleged breach of discipline. O’Connell’s brother Cathal (Tots) was also disciplined by the team management but he has not withdrawn. He was with the squad for last Sunday’s league tie with Tipperary. It is understood that the trio were given a three-week programme of physical training and informed that they would not play any part in three league games as a result of a breach of the strict discipline guidelines put in place by the team management. The alleged breach is understood to have occurred on the Friday prior to the opening league game against Galway. Davy O’Halloran and Nicky O’Connell have played key roles in the Munster and All-Ireland successes that Clare have enjoyed …

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Eimear sets her sights on Rio

FOLLOWING confirmation at the weekend that she has been awarded a full-time contract with the Irish Rugby 7s side, 23-year-old Kilmihil girl, Eimear Considine, has taken a step closer to participating in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. An Irish and PE teacher in Glasnevin, Considine has been playing senior football for Clare since she was 16 and has also represented the county senior camogie team for several years. “You’d never even imagine, that you might be in the Olympics,” she told The Clare Champion this week. Considine had not played rugby before and, incredibly, she was approached to try out via a message on LinkedIn, which she almost missed completely. “I have never played rugby. I’d heard of a lot of people who have transferred over to it and I always wanted to try it but I didn’t know how to go about it. I got a message on LinkedIn, which I only joined because we were …

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Clare coast into Munster semi-final

Clare 2-11 Waterford 0-3 Clare coasted into next Wednesday’s Munster U-21 football semi-final meeting with Tipperary in Thurles, following a facile win over Waterford in Miltown. Played in front of an attendance of 518, Clare restricted Waterford to just a single second-half point. Clare put the game away in the opening three minutes of the second half, when Jamie Malone raced through for a superb goal. Prior to that, Keelan Sexton had put over a nice point from play, set up by Dale Masterson. Malone won the subsequent kick-out and buried his second goal. Sexton followed up with a superb left-footed score, putting Clare into a 2-6 to 0-2 lead. Waterford had battled gamely in the opening half but following Clare’s burst after half-time, the confidence and ambition visibly drained from their opponents. Malone’s first goal, six minutes before half-time, helped Clare into a 1-4 to 0-2 interval lead. The goal opportunity was presented to the Corofin man following excellent …

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Clare U-21s face Waterford in Munster opener

THE Clare U/21 footballers will play Waterford in the Munster quarter-final in Miltown next Wednesday at 7.30pm. The winners will play Tipperary in Thurles on Wednesday March 18 in the provincial semi-final. The Clare starting team is as follows: Killian Normoyle (Lissycasey); Cian O’Mahoney (Doonbeg), Jack O’Dea (Kilfenora), Conor Brennan (Éire óg-captain); Darren Nagle (Liscannor), Conor O’Brien (Doora-Barefield), Cian O’Dea (Kilfenora); Dara Walsh (Éire óg), Jamie Malone (Corofin); Liam Corry (Éire óg), Paddy O’Malley (Éire óg), Dale Masterson (St Breckan’s); Martin O’Leary (Kilmihil), Keelan Sexton (Kilmurry Ibrickane), Eimhin Courtney (Éire óg). Clare took part in the Hastings Cup tournament in January, beating Offaly and in recent weeks they have played Wexford and Louth in challenge games, winning both. “The Wexford game in particular was a good work out. Both teams were close to full strength. We have another game this week (Limerick) and then we’ll be winding down towards the game. We’ll have a couple of handy enough session at …

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Minors can no longer play senior county

The days of playing for one’s county while still eligible for the minor grade will end this season. At last weekend’s GAA Congress, delegates voted in favour of a motion, put forward as a result of the Minor Review Group’s report, which bars any player still eligible for minor grade from playing either at U-21 or senior inter-county level. This will certainly mean there are players who will miss out on playing, particularly at U-21 level for their county, until they have passed their 18th birthday. Kilmurry-Ibrickane’s Keelan Sexton is currently a member of the county minor, U-21 and senior football panels. Over the past few years, the Clare U-21 hurling panels have included players who were eligible for minor grade. Amongst those that were called up to the county U-21 squad, while still eligible for minor, were current senior panelists Conor McGrath, Patrick O’Connor, Tony Kelly and Davy O’Halloran. Players must now be over 17 before they can play …

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Pointless Clare facing relegation play off

By Seamus Hayes Tipperary 2-19 Clare 0-20 Despite showing improved form on their previous league outings, Clare suffered their third defeat in succession when going under to Tipperary at Cusack Park in round 3 of the Allianz hurling league on Sunday afternoon. Goals in the 43rd and 66th minutes proved crucial in a tie played before 7,363 patrons. Tipperary showed the greater sharpness on the day and this was a crucial factor on the day. The visitors started brightly and led 0-4 to 0-1 after twelve minutes. With centre back Conor Ryan in excellent form Clare hit the next four points to lead by one, 0-5 to 0-4, after twenty minutes. The home side failed to build on this, however and the premier outfit fought back and led by four, 0-13 to 0-9, when the half time whistle sounded. Clare returned with Aaron Cunningham in at wing forward in place of Shane Golden but Tipperary hit the first two points …

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Five changes on hurling team for clash with Tipperary

By Seamus Hayes There are five changes in personnell and a number of positional changes to the Clare team for this weeks clash with Tipperary from that which lost to Cork in Pairc Ui Rinn two weeks ago. David McInerney, Tony Kelly, Conor McGrath, Paul Flanagan and Shane Golden come into the starting line up in place of Domhnaill O’Donovan, Jack Browne, Conor Cleary, David Reidy and Bobby Duggan. The positional switches see Brendan Bugler revert to wing back and Pat Donnellan revert to midfield after playing the opening two games further afield McInerney and Kelly return after injury while McGrath, a second half substitute in both of Clare’s openin games, will have his first start of the season. Its a must win game for Clare if they are to have a chance of avoiding being involved in the relegation play offs. the team is; Pa Kelly; Paul Flanagan, David McInerney, Cian Dillon; Brendan Bugler, Conor Ryan, Pat O’Connor; Pat …

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