The draws for the 2019 Clare GAA club championships have thrown up some mouth-watering pairings across both codes.
Clare Senior and Intermediate Football Championships
The new look 13-team Clare senior football championship will see one of the main contenders exit the race for Jack Daly at the group stages, as 2016 finalists Cratloe have been paired with 2017 finalists Clondegad and 2014 finalists Eire Óg.
Following a recommendation from the football review committee, last year saw five teams relegated from the top tier in an effort to create a more competitive championship at both senior and intermediate levels. One of the stipulations involved was the accommodation of a group team if one materialised. That led to Loop Head peninsula neighbours Naomh Eoin and O’Curry’s deciding to take their successful underage pairing all the way through to adult level, while also competing individually at the intermediate grade. It was also decided to seed the semi-finalists from the 2018 championship for the 2019 draw, meaning St Joseph’s Miltown, Ennistymon, Kilmurry Ibrickane and Cratloe were all kept apart.
It means the 2019 Clare senior and intermediate football championships will now be played in a group stage format, with the senior series seeing three groups of three teams and one group with four teams. The intermediate championship consists of four groups of three.
In the senior championship, defending champions St Joseph’s Miltown have been drawn in Group One alongside the two most recent intermediate champions in 2018 winners Kilrush Shamrocks and 2017 champions Kilmihil. The newly formed peninsula alliance of Naomh Eoin/O’Curry’s is the other team in the four team group. Group Two will see Kilmurry Ibrickane begin their bid to reclaim their title from their neighbours in a group alongside Lissycasey and Corofin. The Bricks and Corofin have recent championship history having clashed at the quarter-final stage in 2018. Last year’s beaten finalists Ennistymon will have two West Clare rivals for company as they are joined in Group Three by Doonbeg and Cooraclare. The final group is without doubt the one that will earn the title of the Group of Death, with Cratloe, Eire Óg and Clondegad all vying for the two spots on offer for the knockout stages.
The intermediate championship sees two of the teams that were victims of last year’s cull go head to head as Kilfenora and Wolfe Tones are joined in Group One by Liscannor. Newly relegated St Joseph’s Doora Barefield will face Kildysart and Naomh Eoin in Group Two. There is a tasty west Clare derby in store when Kilkee and O’Curry’s clash in Group Three, and they are joined by Shannon Gaels. St Breckan’s were the final team to drop through the trapdoor last year after losing out to Lissycasey in the final relegation playoff, and they will take on newly promoted Junior A champions Eire Óg and Coolmeen.
2019 Clare SFC Groupings
Group One: St Joseph’s Miltown, Kilmihil, Kilrush Shamrocks, Naomh Eoin/O’Curry’s.
Group Two: Kilmurry Ibrickane, Lissycasey, Corofin.
Group Three: Ennistymon, Doonbeg, Cooraclare.
Group Four: Cratloe, Clondegad, Eire Óg.
2019 Clare IFC Groupings
Group One: Kilfenora, Liscannor, Wolfe Tones.
Group Two: Kildysart, St Joseph’s Doora Barefield, Naomh Eoin.
Group Three: St Senan’s Kilkee, O’Curry’s, Shannon Gaels.
Group Four: Coolmeen, Eire Óg, St Breckan’s.
HOW IT WILL WORK
The new format in both the senior and intermediate football championships will see the top two teams in each group go through to the quarter-finals. The bottom teams in each group will square off in the relegation semi-finals. In the case of Group One in the senior football championship, the team that finishes third will maintain their status for the 2020 championship but will not progress any further.
Clare Junior A Football Championship Draws
Group One: Ballyvaughan, St Joseph’s Doora Barefield, Meelick, Kilrush; Group Two: Cratloe, Banner, Ennistymon, Michael Cusack’s; Group Three: St Joseph’s Miltown, Clooney/Quin, Cooraclare, Killimer; Group Four: Doonbeg, Lissycasey, Kilmurry Ibrickane.
Clare Junior B Football Championship Draws
Group One: Clondegad, Moy, Coolmeen, St Breckan’s, Shannon Gaels; Group Two: Wolfe Tones, Parteen, Eire Óg, Corofin.
Clare Senior and Intermediate Hurling Championships
The format for the 2019 Clare Senior and Intermediate Hurling championships will follow that of recent years, with eight first round games to begin. The winners of those games will then square off where a place in the quarter-finals is the prize on offer for whoever comes through. The eight losers from the opening round will also meet. The four teams that lose a second consecutive game will see their interest in the championship come to an end and will contest the relegation semi-finals. The third round of games will see the winners of the losers section take on the losers of the winners section for the last remaining places in the quarter-finals.
Defending senior champions Ballyea have been drawn to take on 2017 runners up Clooney/Quin, while last year’s beaten finalists Cratloe will face familiar opposition in the form of Whitegate. Another two clubs with plenty of recent history do battle when 2018 semi-finalists O’Callaghan’s Mills go up against Clonlara, while Kilmaley will look to go one step further than their last four appearance 12 months ago when they take on neighbours Eire Óg. Elsewhere Feakle will begin life back in the top tier with a clash against Newmarket-On-Fergus, Inagh/Kilnamona renew rivalries with Tulla, Sixmilebridge square off with Clarecastle, and Wolfe Tones face their Munster intermediate winning manager James Carrig when they take on Crusheen.
The intermediate championship sees last year’s beaten finalists Tubber go up against Newmarket-on-Fergus, Bodyke take on Parteen, Clarecastle face Corofin, Killanena meet Inagh/Kilnamona, Eire Óg play Scariff, Broadford meet Ruan, Smith O’Brien’s square off with Sixmilebridge while Cratloe and newly relegated St Joseph’s Doora Barefield cross swords.
2019 Clare SHC First Round Draw
Feakle v Newmarket-on-Fergus; O’Callaghan’s Mills v Clonlara; Sixmilebridge v Clarecastle; Inagh/Kilnamona v Tulla; Wolfe Tones v Crusheen; Ballyea v Clooney/Quin; Cratloe v Whitegate; Kilmaley v Eire Óg.
2019 Clare IHC First Round Draw
Tubber v Newmarket-on-Fergus; Bodyke v Parteen; Clarecastle v Corofin; Killanena v Inagh/Kilnamona; Eire Óg v Scariff; Broadford v Ruan; Smith O’Brien’s v Sixmilebridge; St Joseph’s Doora Barefield v Cratloe.
Clare Junior A Hurling Championship Draws
Group One: Crusheen, O’Callaghan’s Mills, Clonlara, Ballyea, Clooney/Quin, Ennistymon; Group Two: Ogonnelloe, Broadford, Kilmaley, Meelick, Wolfe Tones, Inagh/Kilnamona.
Clare Junior B Hurling Championship Draws
Group One: Tulla, Clonlara, St Joseph’s Doora Barefield, Smith O’Brien’s, Parteen; Group Two: Whitegate, Cratloe, Clooney/Quin, Sixmilebridge, Tubber; Group Three: Eire Óg, O’Callaghan’s Mills, Wolfe Tones, Scariff, Clarecastle; Group Four: Newmarket-on-Fergus, Kilmaley, Feakle, Banner.
Clare Junior C Hurling Championship Draws
Preliminary Round: Ruan v Kilkee/Bealaha
Quarter Finals: Ruan or Kilkee/Bealaha v Corofin; Banner v Killanena; Clonbony v Bodyke, St Joseph’s Doora Barefield v Broadford.
It is envisaged that the junior championships will begin in early July, while the start date for the senior and intermediate championships is dependent on the progress of the county teams. A provisional start date of early August is currently pencilled in to the Master Fixtures plan, but this is subject to change if required. It was also agreed by clubs that any outstanding league games would not be doubled up with championship ties if that scenario arose in an effort to ensure that the leagues are completed as much as possible prior to the start of the club championships.