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Wheels back in motion

At the end of the 2020 competitive season, Ruan cyclist Imogen Cotter was making huge strides having been called up to ride with a top tier professional team. A visit home over Christmas saw Cotter contract Covid-19, and though fearful of the damage that might do to her career prospects, the Clare woman is back on track for 2021. She spoke with Ronan Judge. What do you do when your world is in perpetual motion and that world stops? You keep doing what got you to that place: work hard and focus. You keep pedalling. So it was for Belgian based aspiring pro-cyclist, Imogen Cotter. 2020 brought the highs of a World Tour trial and the chaos wreaked on the sporting calendar by the pandemic. Whether at home in Ruan or with her team Keukens Redant in Belgium, Cotter held fast to the commitment that has been the guide rope of her ascent through Irish cycling. It hasn’t always been …

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Conlan reaches world’s top sports stars

AN employee at the Department of Transport in Shannon, Jim Conlan regularly converses with Premier League managers, Olympic gold medal winners, world champion boxers and celebrated actors. The Ballynacally man acts as sports producer for West Clare community station RCB Radio, while he also has a sideline as a freelance journalist, providing material for outlets here, in the UK and America. He became prominent recently after a Sky Sports soccer account tweeted footage of Jim asking a scowling Pep Guardiola if Manchester City would be in the market for a new forward, before the manager gave him an abrupt one word answer, ‘no’. It was a rather rude reply from an often impatient manager, while Jim feels he might have touched a nerve, as the question had a certain subtext. “The question was basically did he have confidence in Gabriel Jesus taking over the mantle from Sergio Aguero and to try and see was he looking for a third option …

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Ten Clare students get LIT Sports Scholarships

TEN Clare students were among the 78 students that received the Limerick Institute of Technology Sports Scholarship this academic year. The ten from Clare are Gearóid McMahon (Athletics), Chloe Towey (Camogie/Ladies Football), Seán Rouine (Gaelic Football). Gavin Cooney (Gaelic Football), Killian Nugent (Hurling), Robin Mounsey (Hurling), Aisling Morrissey (Ladies Football), Lee Devitt (Soccer), Meg Brennan (Soccer), Tara McEvoy (Swimming/Lifesaving). Adrian Flaherty Sports Recreation & Facilities Officer, LIT, said despite these challenging times for sport, the aim of the scholarships remains clear. “Now in its fourth year, the LIT’s Sports Scholarship Programme provides athletic support, focuses on individual welfare, and includes off-field mentoring and education support to its recipients,” said Mr Flaherty. “Despite the impact of the pandemic on sport we continue to meet the goals set out by the scholarship programme in new ways. This year has been a challenge, but lessons learnt through participation in sport include resilience, team work and working to overcome obstacles, disappointments and setbacks. The …

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Collins commits to Clare footballers for eighth consecutive season

COLM Collins said he thought “long and hard” before committing to a return as Clare senior football manager for another season. Collins confirmed this week that he would be staying on in the role that has seen him lift Clare from division four to division two and to the brink of a place in football’s top tier. It means an eighth year at the helm for the Cratloe man since succeeding Mick O’Dwyer, making Collins the longest serving manager with the same county in Gaelic football. Clare’s preparations for a season unlikely to have a definitive roadmap for weeks to come are at a very early stage. Collective training is not allowed under the current level of restrictions so players are currently undertaking individual strength and conditioning programmes. Collins and his backroom team have also started preliminary work on tactics via Zoom meetings The Allianz leagues are expected to be pushed back from the original start dates of February 27 …

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No January fight for Paddy Donovan

ENNIS boxer Paddy Donovan had been due to have his sixth professional fight in the UK on Friday week, but it is now set to happen next month. “The fight that was to be on January 22 had to be cancelled because of Covid, there’s no boxing being held in the UK, the British Boxing Board of Control have suspended all boxing. It looks like he’s going to be fighting on February 19, in the UK again,” his trainer and manager Andy Lee said. At present no opponent has been finalised. The 22 year old Donovan has won all of his first five contests, three by way of knockout and is widely seen as an outstanding prospect.

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Clarity amid the chaos for McEvoy

Confirmation last week that the re-arranged Olympic Games will go ahead in Tokyo this summer has provided a timely boost to Ennis swimmer Rory McEvoy, he spoke to Ronan Judge. 22-year-old Rory McEvoy is at the start of an intensive block of training at the Sports Ireland campus in Dublin as he bids to to book a place on the plane to Japan.  The postponed Irish Olympic Trials are just around the corner and after the uncertainty of the last 12 months, McEvoy is fully focused on the task at hand. After a welcome visit home to see family at Christmas, McEvoy is back in the pool with fellow members of Swim Ireland’s high performance unit as Olympic preparations step up a notch. “Since we came back last week, it’s full steam ahead for the next two weeks. I’m based in Dublin and training out of the Sports Ireland campus in Blanchardstown. We’re in the thick of one of the …

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Sixmilebridge GAA Club members speak out over ‘unbelievable’ online abuse

By Ronan Judge THE chairman of one of Clare’s biggest GAA clubs has called on the association to do more to stand up for employees who are the subject of online attacks. Chairman of Sixmilebridge GAA, Paddy Meehan, told The Clare Champion that some of the abuse directed at Clare County Board secretary Pat Fitzgerald, is “unbelievable.” Allegations of online abuse against Pat Fitzgerald are the subject of a garda investigation. Meehan says, “Pat Fitzgerald is a paid employee of the GAA and I don’t believe they have stood up for him and I don’t think they have backed him 100%. Maybe if employers start backing people… because you see it nowhere else. There was a case in Kerry there where a former soccer player was being abused and it went to court. It has to stop, this online abuse, people hiding behind computers. That’s where we’re coming from. I have often went to the Clare County Board, had issues …

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Goals Prove Crucial As Kerry Break Banner Hearts In Munster MFC Final

Munster MFC Final: Kerry 2-14 Clare 1-7 Clare’s bid to bridge a 67 year gap without a Munster minor football title just came short as Kerry continued their dominance of the grade with an eighth consecutive crown. It was already a historic night in the Gaelic Grounds with silverware being handed out three days before Christmas, but for Kerry it will be a night that will live long in the memory with another record going into the history books. There may not have been any silverware coming back out the Ennis road with the Clare squad, but there are plenty positives to be gleaned from a year that yielded a Munster final appearance that looked unlikely in the shadow of two lockdowns. There can be no fault attributed in terms of the workrate and effort of this Clare side who battled to the end, but at times the execution was not at the level shown by their opponents and those …

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