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Tulla aiming to clinch Munster title

A HUGE East Clare will journey to Ballyagran this Saturday for the Munster Colleges Senior B Hurling Championship final, in which St Joseph’s, Tulla will face CBC from Cork at 3pm. Beaten finalists in 2013, Tulla reached the quarter-final last year where they lost out to Newport, who were then beaten in the semi-final. In the 2013 final, the East Clare side were unlucky to go out to Dungarvan CBS at Golden after extra time. The majority of that Dungarvan side were part of the Waterford colleges side that won the Harty Cup title that same year. This season’s captain, Evan McMahon, along with his Feakle clubmates, Con Smith, Stephen Conway and Martin Daly, and Broadford’s Darren Chaplin, played in that final and they will be hoping that the experience they have gained in the past two campaigns will be a key factor in helping them to get over the line this week. The Tulla school’s only other appearance in the final was …

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O’Mahony renews contract with IRFU

Rugby star, Peter O’Mahony has signed a three year contract with the IRFU which will see him remain at Munster until at least June 2018. The dynamic back row made his senior debut for Munster against Ulster in January 2010 and has since made 68 appearances for Munster scoring 10 tries. Peter made his Ireland debut in the 42 – 10 win over Italy in February 2012. The 25 year old has won 27 caps for his country and his most recent appearence in the green jersesy was in the 18 – 11 victory over France in the RBS 6 Nations Championship. Peter is the current Munster captain and captained his country during the 2013 Summer Tour of North America. IRFU performance director, David Nucifora, said, “Peter’s performances for Ireland over the past few seasons have been exceptional. The esteem in which he is held by Irish rugby is reflected in the fact that at the age of just 25 …

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Varley calls time on rugby career

An injury to his left foot during a training session in July 2013 has finally caught up with Munster’s Damien Varley. The 31-year-old hooker has three caps for Ireland and made 121 appearances for the province, scoring 12 tries. Damien, who lives near Killaloe, has only made one substitute appearance for the province this season in the victory over Leinster in October. He underwent surgery three months ago on the injury but has decided to retire after exhausting all possible avenues to a return. He played club rugby with Garryowen before joining the Munster set-up. He joined London Wasps in 2008 but returned to Munster the following year and shared in some of the provinces greatest moments. He started in Munster’s historic win over Australia in Thomond Park in November 2010 and was the starting hooker in the province’s Magners League winning Grand Final against Leinster in May 2011. Varley first represented Ireland against Australia in June 2010, and his …

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Championship draws throw up interesting pairings

There are no shortage of talking points following the draw for the 2015 Clare senior and intermediate hurling and football championships, which took place on Monday evening at Treacy’s West County Hotel. Senior champions, Cratloe will open their hurling title defence against Ballyea, while their opponents in the first round of the football championship will be Kilmurry-Ibrickane. The hurling championship (senior and intermediate) has a new format this year and will be run similar to the senior football competition. Sixteen teams will play eight first round games, after which the eight winners will be drawn against each other with the eight losers drawn against each other. At the end of last season, five senior clubs lost their status and were relegated to intermediate. Two of these, St Joseph’s and Wolfe Tones, will face each other in the first round of this season’s intermediate race The senior hurling champions from 2013, Sixmilebridge face Éire Óg in the opening round, as they seek to …

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Galway snatch victory in injury time

Galway 2-15 Clare 1-17 A Jason Flynn point from a 60m free near the sideline, in the second minute of ‘injury time’, gave Galway a one point win over Clare in the opening round of the Allianz hurling league at Pearse stadium on Sunday. Flynn held his nerve to score his ninth point of the afternoon from the controversially awarded free. It was a harsh call against Jack Browne who was penalised for picking the ball off the ground but more annoying for Banner county followers was the failure of the match official to take any action when Galway officials changed the match ball ahead of the free. That said, however, great credit must go to the Galway full forward whose strike sealed the home win. Clare did have a chance to tie up the game when they were awarded a free overt 100m from goal. Goalkeeper Patrick Kelly saw his effort drift wide of the target and with it …

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Injury rules eight players out of opening league tie

By Seamus Hayes The centre forward position on the Clare team, named on Saturday evening, to play Galway in the opening round of the Allianz hurling league (division 1 A) at Pearse Stadium this Sunday afternoon has been left vacant. It was widely anticipated that Ballyea’s Tony Kelly would be selected to lead the attack but the U. L. student is one of eight panelists named as being unavailable for this game due to injury. Also ruled out are David McInerney, Peter Duggan, Darach Honan, Nicky O’Connell, Jamie Shanahan, Davy O’Halloran and Eoin Enright. Clarecastle’s Bobby Duggan is believed to be in the running to fill the vacancy while Conor McGrath, a surprising omission from the starting line up, is also believed to be in contention. The team named is Patrick Kelly; Domhnaill O’Donovan, Cian Dillon, Jack Browne; Conor Cleary, Conor Ryan, Pat O’Connor; Brendan Bugler, Colin Ryan; Pat Donnellan, A.N.\ Other, Colm Galvin; John Conlon, Shane O’Donnell, David Reidy.

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Lynch aims to make up for 2014 disappointment

LAST year was a huge disappointment for the Clare senior hurlers, according to 2013 All-Ireland medal winner, now turned selector, Fergal Lynch. “We didn’t perform last year and we will be trying to rectify that this year. We will be trying to win every league game,” he told The Clare Champion. “The league is all about learning about players and how lads will react under pressure. There are eight or nine teams vieing for top position and every game is a championship game. The teams coming up from Division 1B are nearly as strong, if not as strong, as those that are in Division 1. The league will provide us with plenty of food for thought as we look at players and see how lads react,” the Clooney-Quin clubman said. Lynch, who plays club football with Cratloe, is in his second season as a member of Davy Fitzgerald’s backroom team. Acknowledging that there is a conveyor belt of players in …

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No easy league games, says Galway boss

EVERY county has massive ambitions heading into the 2015 National Hurling League, according to Galway boss, Anthony Cunningham. He pointed out that Kilkenny are league and All-Ireland champions; Clare will want to come back and repeat what they did in 2013; Tipperary want to pick up from where they left off in September; Cork are the Munster champions; Limerick were very unfortunate not to beat Kilkenny last year, while Galway were very close to Tipperary and Kilkenny. “There will be no easy games in what will be a very competitive league,” he pointed out as he looked ahead to this Sunday’s opening league tie when the Tribesmen will entertain Clare at Pearse Stadium. “We will probably be stronger in the second half of the league. At present, we have a good few injuries and we are unlikely to see players such as Davy and Niall Burke, Conor Cooney and Joe Canning before March. Five or six of our players have …

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