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HURLING: Munster Final fever returns as Clare top Tipp in Thurles

Munster Senior Hurling Championship Round 5 Clare 1-24 Tipperary 0-24 It’s Clare and Limerick in the Munster Senior Hurling Final for a third successive year after Clare completed a merited final group win over Tipperary in Semple Stadium, writes Eoin Brennan. Having never won in Thurles before 2018, Clare recorded their third straight victory in a row over the Premier on their own home patch, soaring as much as eight clear by the turn of the final quarter. In the end, Brian Lohan’s side did make harder work of it than entirely necessary but on the flip side, never looked like losing the whip hand at any stage in what was Clare’s first clean sheet of the campaign. Level six times by the 38th minute, Clare, now backed by the conditons, upped the ante considerably as led by inspirational performances from key protagonists Shane O’Donnell, John Conlon and Cathal Malone, the visitors hit 1-5 without reply to swung the pendulum …

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Banner’s final push for Premier achievement

Having witnessed the strong hopes of the minors and Under 20’s end in heartbreaking circumstances over the past week, Clare’s Munster hopes revert once more to Brian Lohan’s flagship side that are bidding to guarantee their place in a third successive Munster Senior Final when traveling to Thurles to take on hosts Tipperary this Sunday (4pm). Not since Brian Lohan was a player himself have the county contested three provincials deciders in a row but having secured back-to-back championship victories over Cork and Waterford, that is now a reality if Clare can work the oracle once more on Sunday. Indeed, such are the myriad of permutations and ramifications for Sunday’s final round ties between Tipperary and Clare and Limerick versus Waterford that it’s best to concentrate on the controllable, namely the fact that their Munster Final fate is very much in their own hands as a win or draw on Sunday guarantees their place once more. “It’s the Munster championship, …

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‘There’s nothing sweeter than beating your rivals’ – Paddy Purcell (Clare Cup soccer final preview)

Clare Cup Final Avenue United V Newmarket Celtic Frank Healy Park, Ennis Saturday, May 25 at 5.30pm Be under no illusions this is Clare soccer’s biggest rivalry. Any time these teams meet it’s the equivalent of Liverpool against Manchester United or Barcelona versus Real Madrid. Geographically both have nearer neighbours but in truth neither have more fierce rivals. That of course is due to the fact that they are two of the most successful teams in Clare soccer. Each know that to win domestic silverware they will have to beat each other. It’s David Russell’s fifth year in charge of Avenue United and they’re aiming for three cups in a row which will complete a double double (league and cup winners 2022). Newmarket under Paddy Purcell have had massive success with a historic FAI cup to go with the Presidents Cup and Munster Champions trophy. With rivalry like that are the managers rivals similar to Ferguson and Wenger or Klopp …

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‘We are very much looking forward to this one’- Eoin Hayes (Clare Cup soccer final preview)

For Eoin Hayes, the hunger never goes and that’s why the most garlanded player in the history of the game in Clare thanks to his exploits for club, county and country is taking this Clare Cup final as seriously as he did his first over a decade ago. “One thing people might say is that you take things for granted when you win, but when you win nine cups in a row I don’t think you’re taking anything for granted,” says Hayes. “I might be going for my tenth title but there are a few who haven’t won any and want their first. On a personal level I am 34 years of age and who knows when it will end. “I know that there are lots of people, for one reason or another and usually it’s injury, step away in their 30s. Thankfully I am still playing at a good level and still have speed and power. Those things are …

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‘We know them inside out’ – Ronan Kerin (Clare Cup soccer final preview)

Manager David Russell has mentioned the class of 1986 to ’88 in passing because it’s a reference point for his team as they bid to go where they did in putting three Clare Cup titles, or the Haughey Cup as it was called then and The Avenue have possession of, back-to-back. The team of John ‘The Man’ O’Connor, Ray Casey, Brian ‘Charlie’ Donnellan, Gearóid Mannion, Johnny Purtill et al – the team that helped make The Avenue the club they are today and became the benchmark for the teams that followed. And when it comes to taking on the baton and driving things forward this team that Ronan Kerin captains has made considerable strides, firstly by bringing Avenue back to the top in Clare – that translates into chasing down Newmarket Celtic that dominated for a decade and more. The first big breakthrough was the Clare Cup final win against them two years ago, while they retained it the following …

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Late Lardner header seals Hermitage victory

CLARE LADIES’ SOCCER CUP FINAL Hermitage 3 – Tulla United 2 Once more Frank Healy Park witnessed drama at its finest. A forgettable opening forty five minutes gave way to an action packed second 45 that had the large crowd in attendance fully engaged and entertained. Two sides who possessed character in abundance traded blows like heavyweight boxers. There was a distinct difference in their approach but a resounding similarity in application. It has to be said that Tulla played the more attractive football with incisive passing, intricate interplay and neat one-two’s but they just couldn’t seem to breach a rock solid Hermitage rearguard superbly marshalled by Ciara Duggan and Emma Ikiebey. When in possession the town club opted for a more direct style when trying to release their attackers with long balls over the top but they also met a wall of resistance in the outstanding Caoilfhinn Perill. The vast majority of the opening half saw Tulla dominate possession …

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Ballyea in a league of their Eoin after powerful finish

Under 18A Hurling League Final Ballyea 1-20 Sixmilebridge 1-11 A devastating finish saw Ballyea complete a remarkable 13 point second half turnaround to snatch their first ever Under 18A League title on the away soil of O’Garney Park in Sixmilebridge on Wednesday evening. Having led for the previous 30 minutes, the ‘Bridge seemed set for victory themselves when accentuating their 0-8 to 0-7 half-time edge with a goal after only 25 seconds of the restart as good play from Stephen Gavin was finished to the bottom right corner by Donal O’Leary. However, it was if subconsciously the home side assumed that the job was done as they would be sorely second best for the remainder as the defiant visitors outscored them by 1-13 to 0-03 in the final 30 minutes. Eoin Kennedy found his range from frees while the talismanic Eoin O’Connor provided the real spark to ignite Ballyea’s challenge when fielding a Dillon Killoughery delivery to cut in from …

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900 million fans shows the popularity of volleyball

Volleyball is one of the most popular sports there is with over 900 million fans worldwide. That fanbase is growing all the time and the sport consistently ranks in the top five of the most watched global sports. At the end of the month Ireland will head to San Marino for the CEV SCA (European Volleyball Small Countries Association) Championship where they will face Scotland, Malta, Northern Ireland and hosts San Marino in the group stages. The Banner County have had huge success in the sport with the Senior and Junior All Ireland titles residing in the county courtesy of the Coláiste Muire and the Munster Thunder clubs. The strength of the sport in Clare can be highlighted by the fact that four Banner players will represent Ireland in the tournament. Amy O’Sullivan, Catriona Ní Riordan, TJ Sweeney and Maria Jones will all proudly don the green jersey in Serraville from May 30th to June 2nd. Three of the girls …

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