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GAA draws

THE first Clare GAA team into competitive action in 2011 will be the senior footballers, who will begin their challenge for the McGrath Cup on January 9 against UCC.Twelve teams will participate in the competition, which will be played on successive weekends, with the final set for January 30, the week before the national league campaign begins.Should Clare manage to overcome the challenge of UCC, they will go through to a quarter-final date with Cork IT.The Clare senior hurlers will have their first competitive outing of 2011 on January 16, when they take on Tralee IT in the opening round of the Waterford Crystal Tournament. A quarter-final date against Limerick IT awaits the winner.Dates for the start of the season annual tournaments, along with the draws and dates for the provincial minor, U-21, junior (football) and intermediate (hurling) were made at a council meeting last week when the dates and venues for the senior championship games were finalised.Clare hurlers will …

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High wide count costs Doonbeg

IF Doonbeg had been a tad sharper up front, they would have spent this week and next preparing for the visit of Nemo Rangers to Shanahan McNamara Park. That they are not is largely down to themselves. Their wide count reveals most of the relevant information. Doonbeg kicked 13, while Stradbally, who weren’t exactly brilliant in attack either, sent seven efforts the wrong side of Nigel Dillon’s goal. Several of their attacks also ground to a halt when additional point efforts dropped short and landed into Dillon’s lap. Still, Doonbeg’s profligacy outdid the Waterford champions and that is why they will be especially frustrated at having lost a game they were capable of winning.Ironically, David Tubridy pointed the game’s first score from a free, won by Frank O’Dea, after just two minutes. They didn’t manage another score until six minutes into the second half and that barren stretch cost them.Inside the opening 12 minutes, Shane O’Brien kicked three wides, one …

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’Bridge get a dose of the Blues

Newmarket-on-Fergus 3-7 Sixmilebridge 1-10 Newmarket supporters seemed oblivious to the driving rain as they burst on to Cusack Park, Ennis, to celebrate their shock three-point victory over hot favourites Sixmilebridge after a thrilling minor hurling A final on Sunday.This was Newmarket’s sixth title in total and their first since 2007, yet their delirious fans hugged their young heroes as if it was their first.This merited win over their neighbours and arch-rivals was one of their sweetest county titles for a variety of reasons. Another season of underachievement at adult level had left Newmarket supporters feeling very despondent. The famed Blues badly needed a boost having suffered narrow defeats in the Clare Champion Cup, Intermediate League and Junior A deciders.Written off by most hurling pundits and even some within their own club at the start of the year, Newmarket, who displayed a greater hunger and will to win, achieved this success against all the odds.Having dethroned reigning champions Kilmaley at the …

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Clonlara crowned minor B champions

Clonlara 4-10 Wolfe Tones 1-11 Clonlara were crowned minor B hurling champions at Clarecastle on Sunday when they accounted for Wolfe Tones in a game that was evenly contested.Wolfe Tones led by two points at half-time and were still well in contention at the start of the final quarter. However, the ability of Clonlara to cut off the supply of ball to Wolfe Tones’ scorer-in-chief, Aaron Cunningham, forcing the Shannon star to move out field in search of possession, proved decisive.Cunningham scored all but a point of his side’s tally, the goal coming after a defensive error on the winner’s part in the first half.Colm Galvin scored two early points for the winners, whose first-half goals came from Liam O’Grady and Tomas Begley but they trailed by two at half-time when the score was 1-7 to 2-2. Cunningham scored 1-6, with the remaining point coming from Kevin McCafferty.Early second-half points from Galvin and Ger Powell brought the sides level before …

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Magpies make no mistake in replay

A little fortunate to have earned a second chance a week earlier, favourites Clarecastle made no mistake in Sunday’s replay of the U-15A hurling final when they proved much too strong for Inagh-Kilnamona.After a number of changes due to weather conditions, the replay finally went ahead at Clarecastle on Sunday morning.  Inagh-Kilnamona agreed to travel to their opponents’ venue when weather conditions ruled out playing the game at a number of other venues. The Magpies upped their performance considerably from the drawn tie to deservingly take the honours.Bobby Duggan has been one of the stars of underage hurling in Clare in 2010 and he turned in a magnificent performance in Sunday’s final, finishing with a tally of 1-10. It was Duggan who scored the equaliser from a difficult long-range free a week earlier.Inagh-Kilnamona failed to re-produce the form of recent weeks in the replay and it proved costly.The Magpies were two points clear, 0-5 to 0-3, at the end of …

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Clare youths off to a good start

Roscommon 0 Clare 2 CLARE had a good victory over Roscommon in the first round of the Inter League Youths Cup at Newbridge, near Ballinasloe on Saturday.Niall Whelan gave Clare a great start by putting them ahead after only six minutes when he shot low to the right corner.Roscommon bounced back after the Clare goal but Colin Smith made a vital interception in the 10th minute at the expense of a corner. Shortly after this, Clare goalie Ciaran MacMathúna produced a good save.Midway through the first half, Clare were forced to make a change when Thomas Clair picked up an injury. He was replaced by Dylan Blake, whose first action was to fire in a cross which Darragh Sexton headed just wide of the target.Clare continued to have the better of the exchanges and Ruairí Norrby came close after a good move. Roscommon should have drawn level with just over five minutes remaining in the half but the chance was …

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Scariff tough it out for victory

Scariff 10 Dungarvan 6   Scariff were victorious in a hard and physical battle with Dungarvan to maintain top spot in the third division of the junior leagueRobbie Madden scored the game’s only try, which was converted by James Kelly, while Madden also landed a drop-goal.Scariff dominated most of the play and deserved the win. The score difference would have been higher only for numerous handling errors at critical moments from Scariff, while credit must go to an extremely well-drilled and tough Dungarvan defence.Scariff went ahead very early in the game, with good attaching play from both forwards and backs. With the ball being spread wide from a ruck, Madden saw an opening in the defence and slipped through it to score under the posts. James Kelly converted.Dungarvan then responded with a penalty. More pressure from Scariff led to a drop-goal opportunity for Robbie Madden, which he duly slotted home. Another penalty from Dungarvan left the score 10-6 at the …

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