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Final should be a repeat performance for Clonlara

THE progress of South East Clare neighbours Clonlara (holders) and Cratloe to this year’s senior championship final indicates how much the balance of power in Clare hurling has switched. A new order has replaced the clubs with a long pedigree in Clare hurling lore.Following their intermediate victory in 2007, Clonlara created a number of shocks on their way to senior success last season and they quickly confirmed that their championship win wasn’t a fluke when they added the Clare Champion Cup to their trophy cabinet.There were still some who doubted their credentials this year but they have answered all in no uncertain manner in progressing to the finals of both the championship and league for a second season.Cratloe, it has to be said, have been knocking on the door in recent years. They were unlucky to lose out by a point to Newmarket in the quarter-final last season and that result probably drove them on this season.Many doubted that they …

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The future has arrived

LAST Saturday in Cusack Park the rug was pulled even further from under the confused feet of Clare’s hurling establishment. Cratloe’s place in the 2009 county hurling final has been wrought primarily from their belief in the outstanding youngsters eligible to wear the club jersey.Last weekend’s semi-final was as clear an indication of the new way in Clare hurling as any. While Kilmaley primarily looked to Colin Lynch, Diarmuid McMahon and Conor Clancy, Cratloe put all their faith in their young players to help the club alter the course of their hurling history. Although Kilmaley have a few able young hurlers in their ranks, Dara Keane in particular, it seems that Cratloe and Clonara have been best rewarded for their investment of both time and trust in their youngsters. There’s a deep-seated belief in Clare GAA relating to the value of experience. That sometimes results in young players not being trusted when it really matters and can see the players …

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Waterford to be the opponents for both codes

WATERFORD will provide the opposition for Clare in their opening games in both the Munster senior hurling and football championship in 2010.Last week’s championship draws paired the Banner men with Waterford in a first round in senior football and in a semi-final in senior hurling. The winners of the football tie, which will be played in Waterford, will proceed to a semi-final date with Limerick, a repeat of this year when the sides clashed at Ennis, where Limerick came out on top.Clare have home and away arrangements in place with both Waterford and Limerick and they are due to travel to both counties in their next championship meetings. This means that if they overcome Waterford to set up a second successive Munster semi-final clash with Limerick, it will be played at the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick next June.The meeting of Clare and Waterford in the Munster senior hurling semi-final is certain to arouse a lot of interest. When they last …

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