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Clare to make changes for Armagh visit?

UNLESS Clare beat Armagh in Ennis on Sunday, their hopes of having a crack at promotion will splinter beyond rescue. Conversely, a Clare win would be a massive morale boost, backed up by the points that would leave them in a great position, with games away to Limerick and at home to Fermanagh to come. Armagh are top of Division 3, with three wins and a draw. The latter result was at home to Fermanagh last Saturday night, when Kieran McGeeney’s team allowed an eight-point second-half lead to evaporate. Following Clare’s six-point loss to Tipperary, management will have a few decisions to make regarding who to start. Only about six of the starting 15 played anywhere near the required level. Those who did included Cathal O’Connor, Shane McGrath, Martin McMahon, Podge Collins, Ciaran Russell and Dean Ryan. That leaves huge scope for improvement, which will be the minimum demand on Sunday. Management will have to decide whether to give the …

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Enforced changes for Clare

By Seamus Hayes Both the Clare senior hurling and football teams have been forced to make changes ahead of this weekend’s league action from the teams which tasted defeat last weekend. For this Saturday’s clash with Dublin in the hurling league in Cusack Park, Davy Fitzgerald and his management team have made two changes in personnel. Colin Ryan is unavailable and his place in the forward line goes to Aaron Cunningham while Donal Tuohy had been handed the goalkeeping position ahead of Pat Kelly. Tony Kelly, fresh from his man of the match performance in the mid week replay of the Fitzgibbon cup hurling final, will lead the hurlers attack while the captain of the winning University of Limerick team, David McInerney, will line out at corner back Meanwhile, football manager Colm Collins has been forced into one change with David Tubridy ruled out due to injury for the Banner side’s clash with Armagh on Sunday, also at Cusack Park. …

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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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