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Fighting for quarter-final places

Attendances at hurling and football championship games to date have, for the most part, been disappointing but an improvement is expected this weekend as it gets to the business end of the season. Four quarter-final places remain to be filled in both the senior and intermediate hurling. While there is much to look forward to in each of the four senior games, the clash of neighbours Inagh-Kilnamona and Kilmaley on Saturday evening is expected to be the top attraction. At whatever grade these clubs have played each other over the years, they have rarely failed to provide plenty of talking points. They have both had a lot of success at underage levels and this is particularly true of Kilmaley, who have won minor A and U-21 A titles in recent years. Many of the players who featured in those wins are now filling key roles at senior level. Champions Cratloe know there are no second chances from here on. Already …

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Glorious Galway must find a sweeper

IT can be cogently argued that Galway and Tipperary have contrived to save the summer of 2015. Until Barry Kelly threw the sliotar in at 3.30pm last Sunday, the year had been pock-marked by rain, immovable layers of cloud, footballers going to ground after a bit of hair ruffling and dull hurling. The country could probably put up with most of the aforementioned issues but eyes glazing over as the summer’s hurling evolved was almost definitive proof that the season would go down as one that had nothing going for it. The Galway and Tipperary hurlers were almost the last hope and how they delivered. The 70 minutes of hurling that unfolded contained more sub-plots than a week-long viewing of Coronation Street. Under less sublime circumstances, anyone from Colm Callanan, David Burke, Cathal Mannion, Darragh Gleeson, Cathal Barrett or Tipperary substitute Noel McGrath would have had their input immortalised. Their magnificence was dwarfed however by the rapier finishing of Seamus …

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Ennistymon face Kilmurry-Ib in round 2

Fears that champions Cratloe would be drawn against Kilmurry-Ibrickane in round 3 of the senior football championship weren’t realised when the draw was made at GAA headquarters in Clareabbey on Monday evening. A repeat of three first round games was possible when club representatives attended a meeting of the CCC where the draws took place. At the outset it was confirmed that there was no stipulation preventing repeat pairings. Title holders Cratloe, surprisingly beaten by Cooraclare on Sunday evening, were first out and they will face St. Senans Kilkee on Sunday week. Kilmurry-Ibrickane were drawn to play Ennistymon is what is already being billed as the tie of the round. The maroon and white  colours will be evident when St Josephs Doora-Barefield face St. Breckans as both wear these colours. Lissycasey, another club whose colours are maroon and white who are  fresh from their merited, if surprise, win over Eire Og will take on O’Currys on Saturday week in Cooraclare. The …

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Shock results in senior football championship

Round 2 in the Clare senior football championship produced a number of shock results, not least of which was the defeat of champions Cratloe who went under by a point to Cooraclare on Sunday evening in Clarecastle. There was little between the sides throughout the contest and they went to the break at 1-5 each. Cooraclare showed the greater hunger in the second half and this helped them to get over the line and into the quarter finals while the champions will be in round 3 action as they seek to keep their hopes of a third title in a row alive. Last year’s beaten finalists Eire Og are out of the title race after suffering a two point loss to Lissycasey on Saturday. A strong second half showing from Lissycasey proved decisive as they outscored the town aside 0-6 to 0-1 in the final twenty five minutes to book their passage to round 3. Eire Og now find themselves …

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New World for recycled Cusack Park stand

People currently building their homes could be getting a piece of Cusack Park over the coming weeks and months. Tony Donlan is an owner of Limerick-based company, United Metals and this week he has been dismantling the famous Cusack Park stand, which is being exported to northern Spain and is due to be melted down, recycled and returned to Ireland. Limerick man Tony, who is the son of Clare parents, owns the company with his business partner, John Hegarty. Between the pair they have 85 years experience in the metal recycling industry. There are 120 people working with the company and, speaking to The Clare Champion, Tony said the process gives the company a niche for their demolition work and their site clearances. “It’s providing employment and it’s being exported and recycled. We have an industry in Limerick, where we put it through a process and put it through a shears,” he said. “It’s exported out to Bilbao in northern …

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Round 3 hurling pairings decided

The draws for the third round in both the senior and intermediate title races were made on Monday evening along with the draws for the relegation play offs in both grades. Having gone out to their neighbours Ballyea on Sunday, Kilmaley now have to meet their neighbours at the other side, Inagh-Kilnamona in what is already being labelled the tie of the round. There are a number of interesting pairings in both codes and in both the championship and relegation play offs and all tiese are scheduled for the weekend of August 22 and 23. The pairings are; Senior championship round 3; Eire Og v Crusheen; Tulla v Newmarket; Cratloe v O’C.Mills; Inagh-Kilnamona v Kilmaley; Senior relegation play off; Clarecastle v Feakle and Whitegate v Tubber Intermediate championship round 3; Ruan v Scariff; Newmarket v Clarecastle; Corofin v St. Josephs; Sixmilebridge v Inagh-Kilnamona Intermediate relegation play off; Crusheen v Cratloe and Ogonnelloe v Killanena By Seamus Hayes

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Four quarter final places filled in senior hurling title race

Four quarter final places in this year’s Clare senior hurling championship have been filled following round 2 in the race for the Canon Hamilton trophy. Sixmilebridge, Clonlara, Ballyea and Clooney-Quin booked their places in the last eight with wins over Crusheen, O’Callaghans Mills, Kilmaley and Newmarket respectively. The latter four are still in the race and they will compete with Cratloe, Inagh-Kilnamona, Tulla and Eire Og for the remaining quarter final places. Out of the race after two defeats each are Tubber, Whitegate, Feakle and Clarecastle and they now will play off to determine which one will drop down to intermediate grade for next season. Veteran Niall Gilligan scored ten points as the Bridge defeated Crusheen 0-17 to 1-12. This was a well contested tie between two evenly matched sides at Clarecastle on Saturday evening. In the opening game at Clarecastle Danny Russell scored a dozen points in Eire Og’s four point win over Tubber (0-16 to 1-9). Clarecastle was …

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Bullseye for Pieta House as Anderson visits Ennis

PERHAPS the most entertaining night’s sport that will be seen on TV in 2015 came in the early days of January, as Gary Anderson won the World Darts Championship, pipping the legendary Phil Taylor, and overcoming some ferociously bad luck in the process. Taking on the 16-time World Champion, the Scot would have felt he’d need every scrap of good fortune going but, instead, he suffered bounce-outs and Robin Hoods (where darts rear-end each other for no score) galore, before eventually winning 7-6, taking the world title for the first time. Millions watching on Sky felt the title was slipping from the Flying Scotman’s grasp as the night went on, and the champion admits he shared their fears. “Aye, yeah, everything was against me, the three darts falling out – you know, at one stage I said it’s definitely not meant to be. That was the way my luck was going but I just stuck in. In the second leg …

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