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Last minute winner for Kilmaley

Crusheen, Clonlara and Kilmaley booked their tickets to the semi-finals of the Clare senior hurling championship at Cusack Park on Saturday afternoon with victories over Clooney-Quin, Newmarket and Ballyea respectively. Overall the standard of play was disappointing with most of the excitement generated in the clash of Kilmaley and Ballyea which required extra time. From an early stage it was clear that there would be little between these neighbours. Kilmaley had marginally the better of the first half and were deserving of their four point interval lead, 1-9 to 0-8, with the goal coming from Michael O’Neill. Ten minutes from the end Tony Kelly converted a penalty awarded for a foul on substitute David Egan and from here to the final whistle, extra time looked likely. Tony Kelly pointed Ballyea into the lead in the final minute of normal time but Cian Moloney levelled in the second minute of ‘injury time’ to leave the sides at 1-13 each when Rory …

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Galway must match Kilkenny’s intensity

THE intensity and work rate that Galway will need to beat Kilkenny on Sunday must be twice what it was against Tipperary, according to captain, David Collins. The Liam Mellows clubman said the positivity that is in the squad this year has helped him. “If it wasn’t, I would be sitting down and out and would not be playing. The depth in the squad is massive and we need that going forward,” Collins told The Clare Champion. Asked at what stage in their semi-final against Tipperary did he feel that it would be their day, he replied, “When I saw Johnny Glynn hooking Maher and Mannion picking the ball up and putting it over the bar, I said ‘this is it, this is our game, we are on the curve’. The work rate and the intensity that the boys kept bringing was superb and we need to keep that going now. “We have kept it going in training and we …

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A wonderful time for GAA in Gort

HAVING players from one’s club involved with the county panel on All-Ireland final day heightens the interest within the club, Gort club chairman John Quinn believes but he equally holds the view that being involved in the All-Ireland final means as much to the clubs that don’t have a player on the panel. “Having club members involved creates additional interest and gives a connection with what is going on. It also creates a problem with the distribution of tickets, which is a challenge as well and it’s a nice problem to have. It is a policy in our club that members will be looked after first, in particular working members who are active in the club week in and week out. It would be the right thing to do to distribute the tickets amongst the grassroots of a club.” Aidan Harte and Greg Lally from Gort are part of the Galway senior panel this year, Jack Grealish is a member …

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Cunningham believes in players’ talent

A little over 12 months ago, there were doubts as to whether or not Anthony Cunningham would be given another term in charge of the Galway senior hurlers. They had been knocked out of the All-Ireland race and some supporters were impatient but the St Thomas’ clubman, who had just completed three years in charge, clearly believed in the players. “You always want to stay with a team you believe in and I believed that these guys have talent. We have worked hard in the last three to four years in bringing the standards up. Kilkenny have led that. The work that goes into inter-county teams now and what they do on their own is massive and I am delighted to have had the chance of working with this group,” he said. Looking ahead to Sunday’s date with Kilkenny, he confirmed that the Tribesmen have no injury worries. “We came out of the game the last day [Tipperary] really well. …

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Calls for a united front at Clare GAA meeting

Speculation that there would be calls for the resignation of county board chairman Michael McDonagh along will calls for changes to the senior hurling management team at the September meeting of Clare GAA on Thursday evening, proved to be wide of the mark. A call from Ruan GAA for ‘a discussion on the results and performances of Clare inter county hurling and football teams and a review of proceedures for management teams applications and re-appoinmtments with a view to ensuring that clubs will have the opportunity to discuss openly the performance and results of all teams at season’s end prior to management teams re-appointment’ was before the meeting While a number of delegates supported the proposal, there was no proposal to change any of the existing management teams and the meeting ended with board vice chairman Joe Cooney calling for all ‘to support each other. If people have issues come in here to the county board and have them discussed. …

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Contesting both finals great for Galway

Gort’s John Commins is one of a relatively small band of Galway hurlers to win All-Ireland minor, U-21 and senior hurling championship medals. He can readily appreciate what it means to be contesting both finals on Sunday. He told The Clare Champion, “It’s great for Galway hurling to be in the minor and senior finals this year. I am delighted to be involved with the minors. From the senior perspective, it’s great to be back in the final after 2012 and I am looking forward to both games”. In addition to his medals with Galway, Commins won a county title with Gort in 1983. He went on to add a Connacht medal, while he is the holder of two Railway Cup medals with Connacht. He was drafted into the Galway minor team in the early 1980s and won an All-Ireland medal in 1983. He was called up to the U-21 squad and won All-Ireland honours with them in 1986, after …

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20 years on from All-Ireland hurling victory

IT’S the small things that stick in Anthony Daly’s mind. On Saturday, September 2, 1995, the night before Clare’s first All-Ireland final since 1932, Daly went for a walk through his home village. One last look at the old place before life changed the following afternoon. “Half the village was gone. I went for a walk at about 10 o’clock with a hoodie on me but there was hardly anyone around. The pubs were half empty. Everyone was in Dublin,” Daly recalled, as the 20th anniversary of Clare’s second All-Ireland win closed in. “I stayed at home at my mother’s. My brother (Paschal) was home from England, Lord have mercy on him. He used to come home for all the big games. I went to bed around half eleven and I definitely slept for five hours anyway, I’d say. I was afraid I mightn’t but I nodded off. We had to be up at about half six because the bus …

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’95 All-Ireland, a vivid journey for Marty

TWENTY years ago, September 3, 1995, Marty Morrissey carried out one of the shorter but more dramatic interviews of his career. With Clare were trailing Offaly in the All-Ireland final, he approached a tightly-wound Ger Loughnane as he came back onto the field for the second half. After some preliminaries, the Mullagh man asked the Feakle man, ‘Do you think you’re going to do it?’ With absolutely certainty and burning intensity Loughnane responded “We’re going to do it”. Twenty years on, managers never speak to reporters between the throw-in and the final whistle but, at that time, it happened in virtually every live match at half-time. Marty says he’d like to see it coming back. “I think it’s an awful pity to be honest with you. When there’s hundreds of thousands watching, or millions on All-Ireland final day around the world, every little bit contributes to a unique occasion. It’s something I’d love to see reintroduced, but I have my …

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