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Tough test for U-21s

CLARE are still the Munster and All-Ireland U-21 hurling champions but they were made battle all the way at the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick on Wednesday before they emerged as three point winners over the home side. The victory, achieved in front of an attendance of 5,316, puts them into the final on Wednesday week. It took Clare a while to get a grip on this semi-final and, for much of the first half, Limerick enjoyed the upper hand. Clare were fortunate to be on level terms at the mid-point but from here on, they improved with each passing minute “Courage and the experience of having won last year got us over the line,” said selector Cyril Lyons. There were some great performances on the evening and one of these came from centre-back, Caimin Morey. There may have been some raised eyebrows when he was named in this position, having played in attack in last year’s team but he was …

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Defence inspires minor Munster victory

Clare 1-16   Waterford 1-11 INSPIRED by a magnificent defence, Clare ended a 21-year wait when they captured the Munster minor hurling title by defeating the holders Waterford at Semple Stadium on Sunday.Entering the final as the underdogs, the Banner outfit deservingly booked a place in the All-Ireland semi-final next month after outplaying the favourites in a game that produced some great passages of play and some excellent scores.The first half was an evenly contested affair and the sides were level on four occasions and went to the break at 0-6 each. Early in the second half the holders edged into a two-point advantage but once Clare struck for the game’s first goal eight minutes after the resumption, their confidence grew. From here on they played some great hurling to take the title in style.They were four points clear at the three-quarter stage when Waterford had their goal but Clare refused to buckle and struck the next six points without reply …

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Dublin enjoy easy victory over disappointing Clare

  Dublin  2-22  Clare  0-15 FAILURE to match Dublin’s all-round sharpness and big match experience proved costly for Clare in the senior hurling championship qualifier at Croke Park on Saturday. In the end, Dublin won comfortably to secure a date with Antrim this weekend, while it’s back to the drawing board for Clare after this disappointing result.For a while in Saturday’s game, Clare looked like they might progress but, for the majority of the tie, Dublin were the better side.  They won the tactical battle, were the stronger side physically and showed superior fitness.The Clare defence struggled throughout and this was particularly true of the full-back line. Since his elevation to the senior team, Cian Dillon has been superb at full-back but on Saturday he struggled against the outstanding David O’Callaghan.The quality of the ball delivered to O’Callaghan was key to his dominance, particularly in the opening half, when he shot six points from play. It was a day when …

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One wall handball success

KILKISHEN Handball Club member, Colin Crehan created history last week when he was crowned the national U-16 one-wall handball champion at the tournament final in Castlebar. Colin, who lives in Oatfield, was ranked an outsider for the title particularly when he faced up to world champion Donal Rynne from Leitrim in the decider. However, showing strength of stamina and skill, Colin upset the pre-final favourite triumphing by six aces, 24–18 to claim the title, which was presented to him by president of the Irish Handball Association, Tony Hannon. On his way to the final, he had comfortable wins in the first and second rounds before beating Gavin Crystal, Tyrone and Darren Doherty, Monaghan in the quarter-final and semi-final respectively.

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Trouble between the sticks

TWO East Clare men, who have given many years to their GAA clubs, believe they have come up with a solution to what is currently proving to be a big problem in GAA games.In the early part of this decade, Feakle native Michael McMahon served as a mentor with the U-12 hurlers in Tulla where he resides.“At this level, young lads tend to follow the ball and not stay in their positions. The mentors with our team used to split up and take different positions in order to keep the players where they should be. I used to be behind the goals dealing with the backs. Referees would rarely have umpires so, more often than not, I would end up being asked to act as umpire as well,” Michael explained this week.He went on to recall, “We were playing the ‘Mills and one of their players came through and I expected that he was going for goal. I was standing …

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Reviving the game

IT’S often lamented that hurling is in a geographical straitjacket, unable to move beyond the counties where it is strong for over 100 years.There’s less talk about how confined the game can be within the counties where it actually has a strong base, such as Clare. Despite the All-Irelands of the ’90s, the game has failed to penetrate huge tracts of the Banner and many young people grow up without having any opportunity to play. One club showing progress, however, is St Breckan’s of Lisdoonvarna, whose U-14 hurlers this year captured the Bord na nÓg C Championship and the Féile Division 4 title.One of the driving forces behind the success is Peter Casey, who was over the successful side and who began working to revive hurling in the town less than 10 years ago.Before that the game had been dormant; the previous success of Peter’s father John in getting it going some years back having stalled.Peter hurled for Corofin after …

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Cusack impresses against Sunderland

NEWMARKET-on-Fergus man Shane Cusack played the second half on Tuesday’s soccer friendly at Thomond Park when Sunderland played a Munster selection.Cusack, who recently returned from Colchester where he had spent the last year, turned in an impressive display when he was introduced for the second half in a game played as part of the Shane Geoghegan Memorial Day.

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O’Loughlin takes coaching role at Inagh-Kilnamona

CLARECASTLE’S Fergie O’Loughlin is returning to hurling management in Clare and this week he has teamed up with Inagh-Kilnamona.Davy Fitzgerald coached the mid-Clare club after Waterford bowed out of the All-Ireland title race. The Sixmilebridge man was again the club’s first choice as coach for this season but his involvement with Waterford has meant that he has been unable to give his time to date this year.Inagh native Eoin Garvey, who coached Carlow for a number of seasons, agreed to step in for a few weeks but his commitment to a major walk during the coming weeks means that he is not available to continue in this role.This has led to the appointment of Clarecastle man O’Loughlin who is also training Galway side, Castlegar, this year.O’Loughlin trained Ballyea to the Clare senior final a few years back when they came up against his native Clarecastle who he was also training that year. He committed to the Magpies for the final …

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