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Let the games begin

WHILE hopes were high that the event would go from strength to strength when it was launched back in 1971, Féile na nGael has developed beyond all expectations would prove to be.This weekend the 40th national festival of U-14 hurling, camogie and handball will take place across Clare involving over 5,000 boys and girls.Planning for this year’s event has been underway since the beginning of the year and all in the Féile executive are satisfied that this year’s promotion will match the high standard that has been set by previous committees.It’s been all of 24 years since the festival first came to the Banner county and the staging of the 1986 and 1987 festivals in Clare proved hugely successful. County officials are confident that this year’s event will be equally so.The teams will arrive on this Friday morning and first round games are scheduled for early afternoon before all teams, both hosts and visitors, will assemble at Cusack Park for …

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Clarecastle bridge 36-year gap

THE Cumann na mBunscol GAA season drew to a close in the past week with finals in the camogie and hurling championships taking place. The games produced some excellent entertainment and the outcome in most matches was in doubt right to the final whistle. Clarecastle 2-5Clonlara  1-4 Clarecastle bridged a 36-year gap to their last success in Division 1 hurling when they defeated Clonlara in the final at Sixmilebridge on Tuesday. This was a very evenly contested tie for the most part and the teams were level at half time when the score was 1-0 to 0-3, the goal coming from Kevin Mulcaire.The sides continued to be evenly matched until the last five minutes when Conor Ryan scored his team’s second goal that sent the magpies on the way to a title they last held in 1974. Clarecastle: Jake Kearney; Michael McCarthy, Darren Crowe, Mark McCabe, Kevin Hartigan, Jack Hayes, Hayden Starr, Kevin Mulcaire, Josh Kelly, Conor Ryan, Adam Cassidy, …

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St Joseph’s on top in underwhelming tie

Group 1 St Joseph’s 1-10 Cratloe 0-8 ST JOSEPH’S and Cratloe have produced some excellent contests at minor and U-21 levels in recent years but the standard of play when they met in this senior championship first round at Cusack Park on Saturday fell well short of what was expected.St Joseph’s dominated the tie and were full value for their victory in what was a dull affair. There was one very bright note and it was provided by Enda Lyons who gave an excellent display at corner-forward for the winners. He contributed 1-4 of their tally and it was his 1-3 in the opening half that sent the Doora-Barefield men on the road to this win.Through to the semi-final stages of the Division 2 league, St Joseph’s went into this game as hot favourites and they justified this rating as they dominated in most areas against a Cratloe outfit that failed to play to the standard they set in recent …

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Clonlara victorious over tenacious Ballyea

Clonlara 0-16 Ballyea 0-15 WHEN Ballyea goalkeeper Shane O’Neill landed his third point of the evening, in the fourth minute of injury time, it looked as if his side had secured a draw in their opening championship game of 2010 at Shannon on Sunday.There was still some time to play and when Darach Honan won possession from the puckout, Ballyea conceded a 60m free which Donal Madden converted to give his side a one-point win, a result they just about deserved, if only for the fact that they never let Ballyea go ahead.A five-point margin at half-time after playing with the aid of a strong wind didn’t appear a sufficient lead for Clonlara. With nine minutes remaining, they had extended this advantage to seven (0-15 to 0-8) and the champions of 2008 looked to be on their way to a comfortable win to add to the draw they secured in round one.Ballyea never gave up and as the game entered …

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St Breckan’s U-14s make hurling history

St Breckan’s 2-8 Broadford 0-10   HISTORY was made at Cusack Park on Sunday when St Breckan’s won their first underage hurling title, beating Broadford in the U-14C decider.The outcome was in doubt right to the end but the North Clare side never wilted and finished strongly to take the honours.Broadford played with the aid of a strong breeze in the first half but with just a point advantage at the interval, 0-5 to 0-4, things didn’t look good for them.They stepped up their play after the break and were still in front with five minutes remaining, as the new champions found it difficult to get on top when they had the aid of the breeze. Then Aidan Davidson scored the game’s first goal to put St Breckan’s in front for the first time. Darren Chaplin replied with a point to close the gap to the minimum.Philip Queally sealed victory for the North Clare side when he struck for 1-1 …

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Winning start for Banner

Clare 2-10 Dublin 0-9 CLARE got their senior camogie championship off to the start they wanted with a 2-10 to 0-9 win over Dublin on Saturday in Naomh Peregrine’s in Dublin.Clare, who travelled to Dublin without the services of stalwart full-back Siobhán Lafferty, who was ruled out through injury and Chloe Morey, who was sitting exams, were determined to get their campaign off to a winning start and also to avenge the defeat suffered in the National League a couple of months ago.Clare opened the scoring in the second minute with a point from play by Deirdre Murphy, who scored from a free two minutes later. Dublin were held scoreless until the sixth minute when their All-Star player, Louise O’Hara, pointed from play.Naomi Carroll pointed for Clare before O’Hara pointed again in the tenth minute following a poor clearance from the Clare defence. Clare added two more points to their tally through Murphy, from a free, and Mairéad Scanlon, from …

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Clare athletes take gold in Castleisland

CLARE athletes came away with three gold, one silver and four bronze medals at the Munster Juvenile U-9, U-10 and U-11 girls’ 2×2 team events and boys and girls’ U-14 and U-15 track and field championships in very cold and blustery weather conditions in Castleisland.Paraic McNamara, Marian, won gold in the boys’ U-14 high jump, Seamus McMahon, Shannon, took gold in the U-15 2,000m walk and Niamh O’Brien, Ennis Track, won gold in the girls’ U-14 2,000m walk.In the girls’ U-11 2×2 team 600m, Marian, Ennis Track and Kilmurry-Ibrickane/North Clare were among the 12 teams competing. Caoimhe Carmody, Marian, ran a fine race with a time of 2.06:20 and Emily Barry Marian ran a faster leg in heat two with a time of 2.04:10, for a combined total of 4.10:30, to win the bronze medals.In the girls’ U-14 2,000m walk, Niamh O’Brien, Ennis Track, and Niamh Jones, Marian, were among a big contingent from Munster and over five laps, Niamh …

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Greg LeMond to take to Clare’s roads this July

THREE-time Tour de France winner Greg LeMond will join cyclists and walkers from a range of Mid-West businesses in the fifth running of the BDO Get BACk Challenge on Saturday, July 3.The event will raise funds for sports participation among socially disadvantaged children using sports activity as the first step in heightening awareness of the issues of childhood obesity. Hospices across the Mid-West Region and Special Olympics will also benefit from the 100km cycle which has raised over €700,000 in the past four years.  At the announcement of the Get BACk Challenge cycle, Brian McGann explained, “It is a great honour to welcome a sporting legend of the status of Greg LeMond back to Limerick for this event. He has become a fantastic supporter of the Get BACk Challenge and his generosity with his time helps make the event so memorable for all who take part in it.” As part of his visit, Greg LeMond will also launch a number …

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