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Limerick blow Clare away in final quarter

FOUR points up 15 minutes into the second half, it seemed that Clare had the measure of the Limerick U-21 footballers in Cooraclare on Wednesday night. The visitors, however, managed to outscore Clare 1-5 to 0-1 in the closing quarter and reserve a place against Tipperary in the Munster semi-final on March 18.Cormac Joyce Power’s goal eight minutes from full-time was the game’s key score and it helped establish a 1-8 to 0-9 lead for the winners, who should have had home advantage, but the game was switched from the Gaelic Grounds due to ice on the Ennis Road pitch.Wolfe Tones’ Gary Leahy kicked four first-half points for Clare, two from frees, to help the home county into a 0-6 to 0-2 interval lead. Podge McMahon kicked the remaining points and it looked as if Clare carried more attacking threat than Limerick.Shane Brennan, who excelled along with Seán Collins, kicked the opening point of the second half to extend Clare’s …

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Irish on form for Cheltenham

SHORTLY after 1.30pm next Tuesday a deafening roar from the packed stands at Prestbury Park will signal the start of the 2010 Cheltenham Festival.This four-day bonanza of national hunt racing sets pulses racing like no other fixture on the racing calendar and next week’s meeting hosts the prospects of some intriguing clashes. The anticipated duel between stable companions Kauto Star and Denman, first and second favourites on all bookmakers’ boards for the totesport Gold Cup, is set to be one of the races of the season. 2007 Gold Cup winner, Kauto Star, became the first horse ever to regain the crown when defeating reigning champion Denman last year and Clive Smith’s star chaser looks set to go off odds-on March 19 to land his third Gold Cup. Ruby Walsh, who has won the leading rider award at the festival for the last two years, rides the Gold Cup market-leader and the Kildare jockey again goes into the meeting with an …

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Frost elected as Munster Council’s vice-chairman

IT was a case of third time lucky for Robert Frost at the Munster GAA convention last Friday in Listowel. The O’Callaghan’s Mills man recorded a comfortable 34 to 18 win over Tipperary’s John Costigan in a contest for the post of vice-chairman.Frost replaces Kerry’s Seán Walsh, who became the council chairman in succession to Jimmy O’Gorman (Waterford), whose three-year term ended at the convention.Frost served in a variety of positions in his club including those of secretary and treasurer. He played hurling at all grades for the club. He is a former chairman of the Clare hurling board and vice-chairman of the county board and for the past number of years, he has been one of the Clare delegates to the provincial body.He is currently chairman of the provincial body’s coaching and games’ committee. Speaking this week after his election, he said that one of the areas he will be looking at is the urban and rural situation. “Rural …

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Lucky Clare remain unbeaten

Phew. If Clare senior football manager Micheál McDermott had been captain of the Titanic 98 years ago, the iceberg would have melted long before it interfered with the liner.  Hopefully, Clare’s luck will hold but they can’t rely on the chance that it will. Unless they improve radically, in virtually every sector of the field and on the sideline, they will receive an unmerciful hammering some day soon. Insipid in the first half and trailing 0-9 to 0-5 after 35 minutes, Clare didn’t improve thereafter. Their luck did though and two fortunate goals derailed Leitrim. The Connacht side’s goalkeeper, Gareth Phelan, was unable to field a couple of high balls, driven in by Barry Toner and Chris Dunning respectively and directly contributed to Leitrim’s defeat. They have now lost three of their first four games and have virtually no chance of achieving promotion. If Clare win in Ruislip next Sunday, they will have full points from four matches, with five …

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Five provincial titles for Clare boxers

CLARE boxers emerged from the Munster Youths Championships in Dungarvan last Sunday with five provincial titles and a bonus of progression to the Irish Championships, which will be held in the National Stadium in Dublin in a fortnight.Competition was fierce in all three age categories (15, 16 and 17) and also in the ladies’ category, where 15-year-old Antoinette Keane from the Ennis club joined seasoned Kayleigh McCormack from Kilfenora on the winners’ podium. It was Keane’s second attempt at championship success after bitter disappointment last year when she lost out narrowly on a rather dubious decision and so vindication was sweet this year.The star of the show from a Clare perspective was undoubtedly Ennis southpaw Lee Sherlock, who has shown tremendous promise to date and is unbeaten in all of his seven bouts in the current season. He outclassed Joe Dooge from Tramore in Sunday’s final and could well go all of the way in the forthcoming nationals. Sherlock began …

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’Champion honours teams of 2009

THE Clare Champion’s hurling and football teams of the 2009 senior championships will be honoured at a gala presentation banquet at the Clare Inn Hotel on Friday, March 26.The scheme, now in its fifth year, highlights The Clare Champion’s support for sport in the county. In addition to this scheme, the company sponsors the county senior hurling and football leagues, Cumann na mBunscol an Chláir and the Clare camogie U-16 competition.County champions Cratloe and Kilmurry-Ibrickane dominate the respective teams, capping a memorable season for their clubs.Cratloe delivered on the promise of recent seasons when they won their first senior title, beating the defending champions Clonlara in the decider. Kilmurry-Ibrickane retained the county senior crown and went on to add the Munster title. They are just one game away from being crowned All-Ireland champions.Four of the 2008 team are included, Nicky O’Connell, James McInerney, John Conlon and Donal Madden.The teams, chosen by The Clare Champion sports team of Seamus Hayes, Peter …

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Ryan leads the way for Kilmihil

A CONTRIBUTION of 1-4 from full-forward Timmy Ryan inspired Kilmihil to a one-point win over Lissycasey in a well-contested Garry Cup first round game at Kilmihil last Wednesday. The all-important goal came in the opening half following a mistake by the visitors, who were guilty of a number of bad misses during the course of this tie.Kilmihil led at the break on a score of 1-2 to 0-4 and quickly stretched their advantage to three points early in the second half. Lissycasey fought back but despite having a couple of late chances, they failed to get an equaliser.Best for Kilmihil were Shane Egan, Conor Crowley, David and Timmy Ryan, and Paul Finnucane, while Lissycasey’s best were Michael Melican, Seán  Hill, Martin Moran and Colin Lynch.Kilmihil: Keith Considine; Shane Egan, Johnnie O’Sullivan, Conor Crowley; Derek O’Connell, Karl Downes, Rory Mohally; David Ryan, Paul Finnucane; Aidan Downes, Paul Reidy, Philip Ryan; Shane Egan, Timmy Ryan, Declan Downes;Lissycasey: Joe Hayes; Michael Melican, Seán  …

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NUI Galway end 30-year wait for cup

A 30-YEAR wait ended for NUI Galway at the weekend when they won the Fitzgibbon Cup title for the first time since 1980.The competition hosts did it the hard way, coming from behind in both their semi-final and final to win by the narrowest of margins after extra time in each case.They went into Friday’s semi-final against Limerick IT as outsiders but at the end of a cracking tie, they were a point in front, 1-24 to 1-23.There was a huge Clare following at this tie in Dangan, which wasn’t surprising given that there was a very big Clare representation in both sides.The Davy Fitzgerald-managed Limerick side had James Gunning (Broadford), Conor Cooney (O’Callaghan’s Mills) and Cathal Chaplin (Broadford) in the full-back line with Nicky O’Connell (Clonlara) at wing-back and James McInerney (Newmarket) at centre-back. Seán Collins (Cratloe) was at midfield, with Bernard Gaffney (Newmarket) at left full-forward.Meanwhile, NUI Galway lined out with Donal Tuohy (Crusheen) as goalkeeper, Diarmuid Nash …

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