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Clare fall flat away to Galway

Galway 3-13 Clare 1-11 THE Clare footballers were emphatically beaten by Galway in Salthill on Sunday afternoon, in what was their first defeat of the 2017 NFL division 2 league season. In a game dominated by an exceptionally strong wind and torrential second half rain, Clare conceded three goals, having let in none in their opening games against Derry and Down. Goals from Eamon Brannigan and Shane Walsh helped Galway to build a 2-8 to 0-5 interval advantage. Too often Galway players broke from deep with no Clare player tracking. Clare needed to start the second half with a couple of scores but instead Johnny Heaney and Barry McHugh pointed for Galway, who now led by 11 points. A Keelan Sexton goal, set up by Cian O’Dea, gave Clare brief hope but nine second half wides, cost them. Clare did miss some decent goal scoring opportunities, while goalkeeper Joe Hayes made a couple of excellent saves. “We had goal chances …

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Keenan is king of the ring

Martin Keenan, who won his first Irish title three years ago in the colours of Ennis Boxing Club, hit the headlines on Friday night in the National Stadium when he captured the Irish Elite Super-heavyweight title in style, to etch his name in Clare’s sporting history. It was a big surprise for the unranked, unheralded Ennis lad, who went from strength to strength in these championships and totally upset the odds that were stacked against him from the outset three weeks ago. He is the first Clare fighter to reach the podium since James Clancy won the heavyweight title back in the 1990s for Kilfenora, with Ennis boxing legend Ollie Markham in his corner. Keenan took a 4-1 split decision over Thomas Carty from the Glasnevin club in a torrid battle, after recovering from an indifferent first round, in which he found Carty’s southpaw reach virtually impenetrable. He was off-target with his usually devastating right-hand shots to the head but …

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Conor Ryan out for season

ALL-Ireland winning senior hurling centre-back Conor Ryan is taking a year out of the game on medical advice. Speaking to The Clare Champion, he said, “Unfortunately, this is not something that I want to do. It’s a decision forced upon me. Hurling and football is a huge part of my life and I have put playing above all else. To step away is extremely difficult.” Joint Clare senior hurling team manager Gerry O’Connor confirmed, “We have asked him to join the analysis team and he probably will take up that offer. He is an integral part of our group. He has addressed the group and explained his position. He is a top-class guy. He is a loss to the team but, thankfully, he won’t be a loss to the group. “The return of Davy Mac [McInerney] softens the blow a little but it will take at least two or three weeks to re-integrate himself into training and we will take …

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Clare footballers aim for 70-minute effort

THE absence of captain Gary Brennan and half-forward Seán Collins has hampered Clare’s panel depth, as they aim for a first league win over Galway since 1995. Both were substituted against Down on February 12, carrying hamstring injuries and neither have recovered, while Brennan is also focusing on preparing for Ballyea’s All-Ireland club final against either Cuala or Slaughtneil. The Clare Champion understands that Ballyea panellists Pearse Lillis, David Egan and Shane Brennan will be available to the footballers this Sunday. “Gary or Seán haven’t trained since we played Down. Both of them came off injured, so I wouldn’t expect to see either of them this week, or maybe not for the Cork game either. Cathal and Kevin Harnett were the two lads with injury concerns going into the Down game. Both of them have got another few weeks under their belts and they are grand,” Clare selector David O’Brien confirmed. Galway are also on three points, having drawn with …

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St Anne’s seek football breakthrough

ST Anne’s Killaloe will be hoping to make history on Saturday by winning a Munster senior football title for the first time. Coming from a traditional hurling area, St Anne’s have surprised many by getting to the final with a team that includes just six players who play regular club football. Not surprisingly, they will carry the underdogs’ tag against Boherbue Community School from Cork, with the throw-in time scheduled for 12.30pm at Ballyagran. Managed by teachers John Gleeson (Ballina) and Raymond Murray, who hails from Mountbellew in Galway, a final decision on the line-up will not be made until shortly before throw-in, as they await a fitness report on Liam Harte, who missed the semi-final due to injury. According to Gleeson, Harte’s chances of playing are 50/50. Harte’s brother Colin is the team captain and he will fill the centre-back position. Others that the Killaloe side will be looking to as they seek to bring home Corn Sheáin Uí …

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St Joseph’s chase a third Munster title

ON Saturday, St Joseph’s Spanish Point will attempt to win a third Munster colleges title. They will play St Augustine’s College, Dungarvan in Bansha at 12.30pm, as they seek to add to Munster titles won in 1983 and 1995. Four clubs, St Joseph’s Miltown, Kilmurry-Ibrickane, Cooraclare and Doonbeg supply players to the panel, many of whom were part of last year’s team that was beaten in the U-16½ Munster final. St Joseph’s beat Beara from Cork in the first round, Miltown Castlemaine (Kerry), Douglas (Cork) and Causeway Comprehensive (Kerry) to reach the final. St Joseph’s are managed and coached by Paul Reidy (Kilmihil), John O’Sullivan (Miltown), Cathal Crowe (Ennistymon) and Paul Dillon (Doonbeg). Two years ago, the school won the Clare U-15 competition and last year won in Clare U-16½, while they lost the Munster final to Kenmare. Fourteen of the current team are eligible again next year. “We didn’t expect to go on this sort of run but we …

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Magnificent Clare trounce Kilkenny

Clare 2-19 Kilkenny 0-12 What a difference a week makes. Those of us, and there were quite a few, who feared the worst on Sunday after witnessing the disappointing seven point loss to Cork in the opening round a week earlier were treated to a thrilling performance which resulted in a thirteen point win over Kilkenny at Cusack park this afternoon. Its a result that few could have forseen but it was fully merited. Unlike the opening round eight days earlier, Clare’s hunger for victory was a key ingredient in this win. They dictated matters from the throw in and they had hit Kilkenny for 1-3 without reply after just four minutes. The gap was seven points inClare’s favour at the end of the first quarter and its fair to say that Kilkenny never looked like they might get back into contention. The half backs who had been in great difficulty against Cork, excelled this afternoon. Indeed, the entire defence …

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Clare need improved display to tame Cats

TWO years ago, Clare and Kilkenny finished up at the bottom of Division 1A in the hurling league, which led to them playing off to determine who would make the drop to 1B. That situation, which saw Kilkenny surviving in the top flight thanks to a one-point win, is sure to be recalled this week as the counties meet in this season’s competition. It may only be Round 2 of the 2017 competition but both suffered defeat in their first outing last weekend, which means there is a little more urgency about getting points on the board this weekend. Of the two, Kilkenny were the more impressive last week, running their neighbours Waterford to a point at Nowlan Park. Clare, on the other hand, were a good bit off the standard required in their clash with Cork at Páirc Uí Rinn and will need to show a much-improved performance if they are to trouble the Noresiders at Cusack Park on …

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