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Magnificent defence paves road to glory

Clare 0-15  Kilkenny 0-14 Inspired by a magnificent defensive performance, Clare were crowned All-Ireland U-21 hurling champions at Croke Park on Sunday when they dethroned the title-holders, Kilkenny, in a tremendous contest. Conceding just six frees in the hour, one of which resulted in a point, this disciplined performance from the backs laid the foundations for this historic victory.

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Conlon – The Banner talisman

Even if John Conlon hadn’t zipped over three stirring second half points, the Clonlara man of steel would still have been a legitimate contender for man of the match. Twice inside the opening 20 minutes, Conlon won frees that were then pointed by the ice cool Colin Ryan. He also won the puck out and placed Darach Honan, whose deflected shot won a ’65, pointed by the Newmarket free taker.

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the homecoming…

THEY might be too young to have clear memories of Clare’s homecoming after the 1995 Munster final, but what the U-21 panel looked out onto on Monday night was evocative of that summer night 14 years ago. On both evenings, O’Connell Square and the streets leading off it were thronged with well-wishers and supporters as a rare carnival atmosphere rested over the centre of Ennis.

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Collins puts his shoulder to the wheel to overcome injury

FOR the only time last Sunday, Clare wing-forward Seán Collins was unable to control what he was doing. Luckily enough, it was within the confines of an ecstatic Clare dressing room.

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Tuohy save pulled the game from the fire for the Banner

FOR a brief moment early in the last quarter of Sunday’s final, Clare manager John Minogue worried that they might not get the victory they were chasing.  “When Kilkenny went two points clear, I was concerned. It took a fantastic save from Donal Tuohy to keep us in the game. We were on the rack a little bit at that stage but we steadied the ship,” he reflected moments after Sunday’s final.

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Not a bad debut for a first-timer

NOT bad for a full debutante! When Cork referee Cathal McAllister blew the opening whistle at 4.30pm, it signalled the start of Cian Dillon’s inter-county hurling career.

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Lyons praises character of ‘great’ winning squad

“YOU don’t win All-Irelands if you don’t have character and there is great character in this squad”. So said Clare team coach Cyril Lyons shortly after Sunday’s historic All-Ireland U-21 victory over Kilkenny at Croke Park.

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Blazing a scoring path

A nine-point haul in an All-Ireland final is a tremendous achievement and certainly worthy of special praise. Newmarket’s Colin Ryan achieved such a feat on Sunday when his scores played a crucial part in Clare recording a memorable, one-point victory over defending champions Kilkenny.

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