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Flawless Kilmurry heading for final

Kilmurry Ibrickane 1-14   Portlaoise 0-8 Sensational. Kilmurry Ibrickane crossed the footballing Rubicon in Limerick last Sunday on an afternoon that culminated with a Clare club reaching an All-Ireland club football final for the first time. Portlaoise’s indiscipline definitely helped but the Clare and Munster champions best ever display contributed more significantly to Kilmurry reaching the national decider on March 17 in Croke Park. Tactically, Kilmurry out-thought Portlaoise, who were perhaps slightly complacent. Michael O’Dwyer and Noel Downes, who scored a combined 1-5 from play, largely operated in a two man full-forward line, with Johnny Daly playing a deeper role. Blossoming in the space available in the Gaelic Grounds O’Dwyer ran riot, kicking three points from play and contributing to at least four further points, via frees won or from open play. Downes showed that he hasn’t lost his class or big-match temperament, kicking 1-2 from play. The goal, 13 minutes into the second half and a minute after Downes had …

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Playing to tactics pays dividends

PUTTING Portlaoise on the back foot had been a priority for Kilmurry Ibrickane, according to midfielder Peter O’Dwyer. “They’re a real running team, they’re a flair team and they move the ball quickly. We felt we had to take the game to them and get a good start. We didn’t want to be chasing the game against Portlaoise, they’re a confidence team. We just wanted to move the ball quick, be in their faces, tackle hard, get it into the full-forward line quickly and get scores, which is what we did.”Often teams struggle to make the best use of a numerical advantage and he felt that during the second half they had been guilty of some over-elaboration. “Sometimes a team that goes a man down can be galvanised by it and play a bit better. They’ve a bit more room and they move the ball a bit quicker because they have to. When you’ve an extra man you can end …

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Portlaoise manager rails at ref

ONE of the talking points on Sunday afternoon was the abuse heaped on referee Michael Duffy at half-time as he made his way to the dressing room.Portlaoise manager John Mulligan was clearly irate as the Sligo official left the field but afterwards he said the first-minute sending off of his son wasn’t the issue. “All I asked was what do you have to do to give a proper hand-pass. He was saying we were throwing the ball. In fairness, he has a job to do and he wasn’t going to entertain me.”He claimed that Duffy seemed to have been implementing the experimental rules being used in the National League. He also disagreed with the first red card. “The game was on, the guy went for a tackle and he caught him a bit high. It was certainly a foul, maybe a yellow card. If the ref is going to be consistent, and I don’t want to sound like a bad …

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Coughlan shocked at first minute red card

Kilmurry Ibrickane captain Enda Coughlan was the primary beneficiary of Brian Mulligan’s first-minute sending off. The All-Ireland finalists’ centre-back became the loose man and he took immediate advantage, rampaging up field and kicking an inspirational third-minute point.“It was a hard call to make for the ref, very early on in the game,” Coughlan said of Mulligan’s red card. “It was a high tackle but if it got a yellow card you wouldn’t have heard too many roaring on our behalf. When he walked it was a bit of a shock to all of us,” he acknowledged. The county and Munster championship-winning captain felt that Kilmurry learned from their own indiscipline in the 2005 All-Ireland semi-final. They had two men dismissed that day in Ballinasloe, when they lost to Ballina. “We know how they feel. We lost our discipline in 2005 and we lost the game. We learned from that. They, unfortunately, lost their discipline today,” he said. Kilmurry’s 1-4 to …

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Hurlers expected to overcome Laois

Impressive performances against Galway and Kilkenny in the Walsh Cup and Walsh Shield in Leinster in recent weeks suggest that Laois will prove difficult opponents for Clare in round two of the National Hurling League (Division 2) at Portlaoise on Sunday (throw-in 2.30pm).The Midlanders didn’t have a game last week when the race for the title got underway, as their scheduled game with Kildare was cancelled due to inclement weather. It has, like most of the other games that fell foul to the weather last weekend, been re-scheduled for Saturday week.The last competitive meeting of the counties at senior level was in round two of the league two years ago when both were in Division 1. That game was played in Scariff and Mark Flaherty, top scorer against Down last week, was also the top scorer on that occasion, with 1-12 to his credit.While the team to face Niall Rigney’s Midlanders wasn’t announced at the time of writing, it is …

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Easy start to Clare’s league campaign

Clare 2-10   Down  0-6 Clare opened their campaign to get back to the top division in the Allianz Hurling League with, as expected, a comfortable win over Down at Cusack Park on Sunday. While the result was never in doubt, there were some worrying aspects from a Clare viewpoint and there will have to be an improvement in a number of areas ahead of this Sunday’s game with Laois in round two.The home side should have had a few more goals but a combination of excellent goalkeeping by Graham Clarke, allied to some poor finishing, meant that a number of chances were wasted and against stronger opposition this could prove costly.There will be concern in the Clare camp at the fact that Down recorded 20 wides, 11 coming in the second half.“The scoreboard looks bad but we had a lot of wides. Fellas worked hard and never dropped the heads and they responded in the right way. They worked very, …

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Tough opening match for Banner County

ST Joseph’s, Doora-Barefield man Patsy Fahy will take charge of the Clare senior camogie team for the first time in a competitive game when they travel to Athenry on Sunday to play Galway in the opening round of this season’s national league.Grouped with Galway, Dublin and Wexford, the Banner County squad have been handed a tough task against such experienced opposition.“I will know a lot more on Sunday about what is ahead of us this year. Galway would be in the top four in senior camogie, along with Kilkenny, Cork and Tipperary, so we know that we have a difficult task but we have trained well and we are looking forward to the game,” Fahy said this week.Clare will face their neighbours without Dee Corcoran, Aoife Ryan, Denise Lynch and Laura Linnane, who have indicated that they will not be playing this year.“We will have a relatively young team on duty on Sunday but we also have some experienced players …

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Clare ladies fall in Meelick

Tipperary 1-11   Clare 1-8 The Clare ladies fell to a disappointing second home league defeat in Meelick last Sunday.Gillian O’Brien’s unstoppable second-half goal was the decisive score, in a game that included three sin binnings.Minus a number of regulars, including Sinéad Kelly, Fiona Lafferty and Ailish Considine, Clare played some good football but didn’t have the balance or depth of the Tipperary panel.Shortly after Mairéad Morrissey pointed Tipperary ahead from a free, Niamh Keane goaled for Clare after her shot was dropped over the line by Tipperary goalkeeper Nora Noonan.Come the interval, Tipperary had re-established their advantage and led 0-7 to 1-3, following points from Morrissey, Gillian O’Brien and Anne Marie O’Gorman.Louise Henchy, Sinéad Sexton and Eimear Considine, with a top-class score, responded for Clare.Considine pointed twice inside the opening three minutes of the second half to put Clare 1-5 to 0-7 ahead, before Morrissey and Áine Kelly traded points.It was at this stage in the game that Gillian O’Brien …

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