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Form points to Avenue retaining cup title

THE involvement of Bridge United B in the Clare Junior Soccer Cup final last year was a surprise. It is not often that a B team gets to the final of a premier competition and while they ended up losing 0-3, their march to the final was a huge achievement.No doubt their involvement surprised many but few, if any, would have predicted they would be back in the final a year on. That is just what they achieved and this Saturday evening, they will come up against holders, Avenue United A, at the County Grounds, with kick-off at 6.45pm.Twelve months ago, Bridge United were chasing a league and cup double as they had won the second division league title shortly before the cup final. This year, their cup campaign has been disappointing and they go into the cup final having been relegated from the first division.As was the case last year, Avenue will carry the favourites’ tag. They were unlucky …

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Shannon hosts Irish Close Championship

THIS weekend, Shannon will host the Irish Amateur Close Championship when the cream of Irish amateur golfers will be in action on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.The Wednesday open singles saw Ross Walsh capture the honours with 42 points. Ross returned 22 points for his opening nine highlighted by an eagle at the second and a birdie at the fourth. A steady back nine of 20 points anchored him to victory, highlighted by a birdie at the 18th. Ross had one to spare from a duo of Michael O’Connor and Ed Hickey both on 41 points. The highlight of Mike’s round was his opening seven holes, which he covered in level par with back-to-back birdies at the first and second. Further birdies were to follow at the 10th and 13th. Mike just edged out Ed Hickey on the back nine. Ed was around in two under gross recording three birdies at the second, fifth and eighth and an eagle three at …

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Manus Vieri wins top-grader

Pat McInerney from Manus won the top-graded race in Galway on Thursday night with his Manus Vieri.This was in the concluding A2-graded 525 bumper race for which the Donal Cooney-trained Varra Polly, owned by the Boys Club syndicate, went off the even-money favourite from trap two. On That Jarug set the pace from trap five to lead at the first bend from Dan Thenavigator in three and the Ennis-owned Mythical Tar in the inside lane. Chestnut Style, in trap six, made up ground going down the back to take up the running while Manus Vieri was also making progress. However, when they reached the home bend there was not much between the field. They were lined across the track and close to home Manus Vieri just got up to snatch it from On That Jarug. The son of Droopys Vieri-Baby Jean won by a neck in a time of 29.53. A half length back for third spot was Mythical Tar …

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Goal-den victory

Clare 3-10 Fermanagh 1-12 Lucky to be tied 0-5 each at half time, Clare rattled in three second half goals in Parnell Park on Saturday afternoon, which helped to secure the NFL Division 3 title.The first of these goals, netted by Marie Considine, six minutes into the second half, was the score that set Clare up for victory. Eimear Considine, who flew by helicopter to Dublin after sitting an early exam at UL, found Niamh O’Dea with a cross-field ball. The Kilfenora girl ran at Fermanagh before laying off to Marie Considine, who scored with a low left foot shot. That score put Clare 1-6 to 0-6 ahead but, while they stayed in control from there on, Fermanagh didn’t stop trying to get back in the game. While Clare upped their performance considerably in the second half, their first half display was very patchy. Were it not for the paucity of their shooting, Fermanagh would definitely have been ahead at …

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Goals give Newmarket the upperhand

Newmarket 4-15  Ballyea 0-11 GOALS win games and Newmarket highlighted this when they got their championship campaign off to a winning start with a comprehensive victory over Ballyea at Cusack Park on Sunday evening.They went into the game as favourites but, following their recent victory in the U-21B championship, Ballyea were expected to do well.When county minor Gearóid O’Connell won possession straight  from the throw-in and raced through before forcing Kieran Devitt to save at the expense of a 65’, there was a hint that a surprise might be on the cards. County minor captain Tony Kelly converted the resultant 65’ but two minutes later, the underdogs were rocked when a defensive blunder was punished and Eoin Hayes found the net. Full-back Kevin Sheehan’s attempted handpass was intercepted and this led to the opportunity for Hayes.Ballyea’s captain, Tony Griffin, responded with a point but they were dealt another blow when Colin Ryan took a pass from David Barrett and he …

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Earley inspires Tubber to merited win

THE final scoreline shows Tubber winning by the narrowest of margins but, in truth, favourites Cratloe were fortunate to be that close at Cusack Park on Sunday evening. Twelve months ago, Cratloe, then the defending champions, met Tubber in Round 4 of the championship at the same venue and the North Clare side emerged with a two-point victory. They showed the greater hunger for victory on that occasion and the same was the case on Sunday evening.A superb performance from Mark Earley at midfield was the highlight of Sunday’s game. He contributed 1-4 from play with all but a point of this tally coming in the opening half when the winners raced into a seven-point lead by the 20th minute.While Earley was outstanding on Sunday, there were others who contributed handsomely to this victory. Veteran Eamonn Taaffe finished as his side’s top scorer with 2-2 to his credit while the workrate of the team’s defence also deserves special mention.Conor McGrath …

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Points shared for the second year in-a-row

A STRONG wind blowing directly down the pitch made matters very difficult for both sides at Shannon on Sunday.Neither team will be particularly happy with their play when aided by the galeforce wind but when those involved sit down this week to review the game, they will express satisfaction at the end result which saw the spoils shared.Underdogs St Joseph’s held the lead from the second minute when Ivor White scored the first point in this year’s championship race, until two minutes from time when Domhnaill O’Donovan fired over the equaliser.In between, there were some hard clashes, some missed chances on both sides and some great defensive play.The teams also shared the spoils when they met at the same venue and at the same stage in last year’s championship race.Two early pointed frees from White were followed by like scores from play from Niall DeLoughrey, Emmet Whelan and White as the Doora-Barefield men raced five points clear by the end …

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CBS lose out in All-Ireland bid

Despite some impressive performances, Ennistymon CBS failed in their bid to make it through to the All-Ireland finals in the first-year basketball competition.In last Sunday’s play-offs at the community centre in Ennistymon they lost out to the group winners, Intermediate School from Killorglin, who will now contest the finals.In the opening game on Sunday morning, the home side lost narrowly to St Muirdeach’s from Ballina.They followed this with a good win over De La Salle from Waterford but Killorglin proved too strong and emerged winners.Liam Devitt was the North Clare side’s top scorer while Sean Garrihy, Eoin Leyden and Conor O’Loughlin were others to do well for the North Clare school.This Saturday, the school’s second-year girls’ team will travel to Causeway in Kerry for the play-offs hoping to make it through to the national finals, which are scheduled for the following Wednesday. On Saturday, they will play Causeway, Portlaoise and Donegal Town in the second year girls’ B play-offs. Qualification …

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