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A lifelong love of Clare and Cratloe hurling

A couple of pivotal factors combined to allow Frank O’Brien maintain his interest in Clare and Cratloe hurling while he lived and worked in Birmingham for 33 years.Now 84 and living in Tulla with his sister May, Frank feels that not drinking or marrying was a big help in his regular visits home, when Clare were playing league or championship hurling. “No, I never married,” Frank confirmed to The Clare Champion. “That was a big help. Needless to tell you, I won’t call it a handicap but I suppose if I was married, I wouldn’t have been as free. That’d be a terrible anchor altogether.  The fact that I wasn’t drinking in England was a big help as well. They drank differently in England than they did in Ireland,” he notes. Frank was never gone for more than a month. Aside from the hurling, he also visited his elderly parents. Before he emigrated in the late 1950s, Frank had served …

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The more Kilmurry play, the luckier they get

Ability, self-belief, emotion and steely resolve have been clearly visible in the plentiful mix that has propelled Kilmurry-Ibrickane to Croke Park.Last Sunday in Limerick, it fell to Michael O’Dwyer, Stephen Moloney and Noel Downes to avail of the summer-like surface in The Gaelic Grounds and leave Portlaoise breathlessly adrift. Some of their breathlessness can be linked to the fact that they only had 15 men for 20 seconds and had to make do with just 13 for the last 21 minutes. Unwittingly, yet almost to the letter, Portlaoise followed Kilmurry’s 2005 example. That day in Ballinasloe, Kilmurry had two men sent off and tumbled out at the All-Ireland semi-final stage, at odds with the world. Last weekend, Portlaoise imploded. As early as Brian Mulligan’s indiscretion was, he just had to go. Kilmurry didn’t relax though and rely on their numerical advantage. They tore at Portlaoise, playing the best football ever played by the club, at a pace that Portlaoise couldn’t …

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Clare players in the hunt for Harty Cup glory

While there isn’t a Clare school involved, there is still huge Clare interest in the Dr Harty Cup, Munster Colleges Senior A hurling final, at Nenagh this Sunday.Five Clare players are members of the Ard Scoil Rís panel as the Limerick school contest the final for the first time. They take on champions Thurles CBS in what promises to be a lively contest.In addition to the five players, Ard Scoil have Clonlara’s Jimmy Browne as one of their backroom team, which is headed up by manager Derek Larkin.The Limerick side is unbeaten in this year’s championship. They started the campaign with a draw against Midleton CBS and followed up with wins over St Colman’s and Cashel to take top spot.In the quarter-final they had to work hard for a four-point win over Our Lady’s Templemore before reversing last year’s semi-final result when accounting for St Caimin’s from Shannon at Meelick. In this game, Clare’s Cathal McInerney, joint captain of the …

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Reason to celebrate for Spancilhill owner/trainer

Spancilhill owner-trainer Noel Glynn had good reason to celebrate after his Becauseicouldntsee justified good support when landing the €17,000 Irish Stallion Farms EBF Beginners’ Chase at Fairyhouse last Saturday.Second on two of his four previous outings over the larger obstacles, Becauseicouldntsee made no mistake this time round as he strode to a hugely impressive win that catapults him into the upcoming Cheltenham Festival picture in a big way. Sent off 3-1 joint-favourite, the seven-year-old by Beneficial, who won a point-to-point at Killaloe in 2008, was always in the van and, jumping really well in the hands of top jockey Davy Russell, he turned into the home straight in this two and three-quarter mile contest with a healthy lead. Facing up to the final fence, the opposition had been well and truly burned off as Becauseicouldntsee went on to beat fellow joint-favourite Corkskeagh Royale by a distance. Glynn, who has over 20 horses in training at his Durra House yard, where …

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Hosts through to Fitzgibbon Cup semi-final

This year’s Fitzgibbon Cup hosts, NUI Galway, booked a place in the semi-final when they scored a 1-24 to 1-12 win over St Patrick’s, College, Drumcondra, at Dangan on Wednesday.Seven Clare men were in the starting line-up and an eighth was introduced in the second half. They were again without the injured Cormac O’Donovan (Clonlara) and Caimin Morey (Sixmilebridge).Scariff’s Diarmuid Nash turned in another outstanding performance at corner-back while Patrick Kelly from Clarecastle had his best game in this season’s campaign at wing-back. Other Claremen in the starting line-up were goalkeeper Donal Tuohy (Crusheen), full-back Noel Casey (Kilmaley), midfielder Domhnaill O’Donovan (Clonlara), wing-forward David Barrett (Newmarket) and full-forward John Conlon (Clonlara). Kevin Heagney from Corofin was introduced during the course of the game.The winners were three points in front at half time when the score was 0-12 to 1-6 and they went on to hold the upper hand in the second period.In the semi-final, NUI Galway will play either Limerick …

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First-time winners at Cumann na mBunscol finals

The finals of the Clare Cumann na mBunscol indoor camogie and hurling competitions were staged in Cratloe on Wednesday.As was the case last year, two new schools were added to the roll of honour. This brings to seven in camogie and nine in hurling the number of different schools that have been victorious since the inception of the competitions in 2000.There were some tremendous contests in both competitions in the past number of weeks.  The camogie competition comprised 32 teams and the group winners were Inagh/Cloonanaha, Quin, Kilmurry, Sixmilebridge, Ennis NS, Clonlara, Kilnamona and Feakle. Kilnamona and Feakle progressed to the final. Thirty-three teams signed up for the hurling competition group stages. The group winners were Inagh/Cloonanaha, Barefield, Ennis CBS, Kilmurry, Clarecastle, Cratloe, Clooney, Clonlara and Feakle. Clonlara and Cratloe were involved in a play-off to see who would progress to the second round proper. Clonlara won that particular game before Kilmurry and Barefield emerged to contest the final. Kilnamona …

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