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“It Is Great To Still Be Training On The Dark Winter Nights”

Derrick Lynch It has been an eventful 2020 for Orla Devitt, and the Eire Óg clubwoman is hoping to cap it off with an appearance in the All Ireland ladies intermediate football final. This year saw Devitt begin a new job working Revenue in Limerick, but little did she know that the outbreak of Covid-19 meant that the role would change almost immediately. The UCC graduate was redeployed within a week of starting in the role to help with Covid-19 contact tracing, and while there was some respite and a return to regular work as case numbers fell, the spike over recent months meant that the call came once more as the workload increased. “It was hectic during the summer when the case numbers spiked and there was a shortage of contact tracers so we were fairly busy, It is calming down a bit now and they have hired more people to work on it so the workload is getting …

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Championship Corner With Colin Ryan

In the lead up to the Limerick game six weeks ago, I have to say my overriding feeling was more of trepidation than hope for the year ahead. I would not have thought I would be disappointed we did not make it to the last four, and massive credit must go to the players and management for this. The joy, distraction and entertainment they supplied was more than welcomed at a difficult time. We are extremely thankful as supporters to everybody who made this championship happen, and to be able to see Tony Kelly in full flow was an added bonus to the hurling folk throughout Ireland. The game last week had more of a lightweight flow to it with speed, agility, movement and transition from defence to attack at speed, all on show. This was in contrast to the heavyweight clash that preceded it, between Galway and Tipp. It is safe to say we are not at the level …

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Green Winter Shoots For Clare Tinged With Regret Of Opportunity Lost

Derrick Lynch As with most championship exits, the commentary in the wake of Clare’s defeat against Waterford last weekend has ranged from measured to mad. There are plenty points which will be a source of regret when the analysis of this game is carried out, but on a very basic level it was undoubtedly the number of unforced errors and concession of three preventable first half goals that ultimately led to Clare’s downfall. The injury sustained by Tony Kelly in the warm up which was aggravated even further inside the opening five minutes was also a huge factor, with the concession of that second goal while he was off the field receiving treatment being a real ‘salt in the wound’ moment in the game. As you would expect from the Ballyea man, he soldiered on to the bitter end but with his movements limited at corner forward, the spark that has lit the torchpaper over the last few games for …

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O’Connor Withdraws From Race For Chair Of Clare GAA

Derrick Lynch The shortlist of candidates to take over the reins as chairman of Clare GAA is down to three. It’s after Michael O’Connor confirmed that he is not standing in the race for the position, but will instead continue in his role as PRO for a fourth term. The Crusheen club chairman was among the four strong list of nominated candidates confirmed by the deadline, with PJ McGuane, Jack Chaplin and Robert Frost also in the running to succeed Joe Cooney, who has served the maximum five years in the position. Cooraclare’s McGuane and Cratloe’s Chaplin have confirmed they will be contesting the election, while O’Callaghan’s Mills clubman Frost told The Clare Champion that he will not be deciding if he is standing until the deadline this Friday. In a letter to clubs outlining his reasons for withdrawing from the race, O’Connor admitted to being “bowled over” by the “huge support” that had come his way over the last …

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Battling Banner Downed By The Deise

All Ireland SHC Quarter Final: Waterford 3-27 Clare 3-18 Clare’s 2020 championship came to an end in Pairc ui Chaoimh as Waterford set up a final four showdown with Kilkenny next weekend. Clare battled throughout but the toils of an unbroken three week run were evident as Waterford finished stronger and were much sharper in possession. Waterford had the dream start to the game with former professional soccer player Dessie Hutchinson raiding for a brace of early goals. Both were by products of sloppy Clare defending, with the opener coming after Austin Glesson slipped inside the cover before drawing a solid save from Eibhear Qulligan. The rebound was swept home by Hutchinson, and he repeated the trick less than five minutes later as a long delivery found him in behind the cover once more and he fired a clinical effort to the net. Clare had responded well to the sucker punch opening with Tony Kelly, Shane O’Donnell and a brilliant …

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“It Is A Big Opportunity For Us Now That We Are Down To The Last Six”

Derrick Lynch A second All Ireland hurling quarter-final in the last three seasons awaits Clare on Saturday afternoon as they make the trip to take on Waterford in Pairc ui Chaoimh. The Banner booked their spot in the last six with an impressive win over Wexford last weekend as Tony Kelly’s outstanding haul of 1-15 was instrumental in the victory. Having lost his place on the starting 15 for the opening qualifier win over Laois, Tubber’s Pat O’Connor put in a huge shift last weekend, including a brilliant point blank stop to deny Lee Chin a goal in the closing stages. He outlined that the squad know a huge chance awaits in Cork on Saturday. “It is great to be there and it is not every year you get to play in the quarter final of an All Ireland championship. We are down to the last six now and we are faced with a very good opportunity” he noted. Saturday’s …

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Championship Corner With Colin Ryan

When I was brought onto the panel in 2007, we were in a bit of a transition period. Our biggest problem was lack of belief and confidence, due to the fact very few players on the panel had success at intercounty hurling, whether that be underage or senior. The U21 win in ‘09 was crucial to the success in 2013. I felt like we finally belonged and we had beaten our peers in crucial games en route. This brings me to our current crop, sometimes I wonder if they are capable of winning an All Ireland and then I remember the confidence and belief they have gained from their abundant success at underage. While we still have a long way to go and to improve to be at the top table, in once off knockout hurling, you always have a chance when you have belief and these lads have it in spades. The performance last Saturday was a joy to …

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Elation For Keane As Clare Reach Ladies IFC Semi Final

Derrick Lynch As the euphoria in Tuam Stadium was dying down in the aftermath of Sunday’s win, Clare selector Ger Keane was heard to say “Right lads, are we back on Zoom so on Monday night?”. It summed up the manic nature of the 15 or so minute which had just unfolded with Clare’s championship future swaying in the wind before Laois eventually held off Kildare. The Kilkee native outlined that it was a surreal experience for all involved but felt that when reality hit, his side were deserving of their place in the last four. “It is unbelievable really to be honest. I am involved in football a long time but I was never involved in something so dramatic in waiting for the result to come in from the other game. We knew we just had to take care of our own business and after that it was out of our hands really. We built ourselves up for that …

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