There are no shortage of talking points following the draw for the 2015 Clare senior and intermediate hurling and football championships, which took place on Monday evening at Treacy’s West County Hotel.
Senior champions, Cratloe will open their hurling title defence against Ballyea, while their opponents in the first round of the football championship will be Kilmurry-Ibrickane.
The hurling championship (senior and intermediate) has a new format this year and will be run similar to the senior football competition. Sixteen teams will play eight first round games, after which the eight winners will be drawn against each other with the eight losers drawn against each other.
At the end of last season, five senior clubs lost their status and were relegated to intermediate. Two of these, St Joseph’s and Wolfe Tones, will face each other in the first round of this season’s intermediate race
The senior hurling champions from 2013, Sixmilebridge face Éire Óg in the opening round, as they seek to return to the top. Clonlara, with Sean Stack now in charge, will face last year’s semi-finalists Clarecastle in the opening round, while last year’s beaten finalists, Crusheen will be up against Inagh-Kilnamona.
Among the stand out pairings in the football championship, apart from the clash of Cratloe and Kilmurry-Ibrickane, are the meeting of West Clare neighbours, O’Curry’s and St Senan’s Kilkee and also the meeting of Doonbeg and Miltown.
The pairings are as follows
Senior Football—O’Curry’s v St Senan’s, Kilkee; Kilmurry-Ibrickane v Cratloe; St Breckan’s v Lissycasey; Clondegad v Shannon Gaels; Kilrush v St Joseph’s, Doora-Barefield; Éire Óg v Ennistymon; Cooraclare v Wolfe Tones; Doonbeg v Miltown;
Senior Hurling—Inagh-Kilnamona v Crusheen; Kilmaley v Whitegate; O’Callaghans Mills v Tubber; Ballyea v Cratloe; Tulla v Clooney-Quin; Clonlara v Clarecastle; Sixmilebridge v Éire Óg; Newmarket v Feakle
Intermediate football—Group 1—Kildysart, Kilfenora, Clarecastle, Éire Óg; Group 2—Liscannor, Kilmihil, Corofin, Naomh Eoin;
Intermediate hurling—Ogonnelloe v Clarecastle; Parteen v Ruan; St Joseph’s, Doora-Barefield v Wolfe Tones; Inagh-Kilnamona v Cratloe; Killanena v Corofin; Sixmilebridge v Smith O’Brien’s; Scariff v Crusheen; Broadford v Newmarket.
By Seamus Hayes, sports editor