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Tag Archives: All-Ireland senior hurling championship

It’s Meow or never for Clare against the Cats

With the way the championship has unfolded, fate has been rather favourable to Clare. It goes without saying that Brian Lohan’s side would have loved to have captured provincial silverware and certainly would have appreciated lifting the inaugural Mick Mackey Cup much more. However, apart from that set-back, the hand of destiny has thrown up Leinster duo Wexford and Kilkenny, two sides that Clare would arguably have handpicked themselves if they had the choice to potentially tee up a historic fifth competitive outing against Limerick in the All-ireland decider. All that speculation aside, the reality is that while the Wexford game was expectedly close, they were possibly the perfect team for Clare to pip at the post too. Not reaching anywhere near the heights of their previous provincial displays would have meant an early exit against a much clinical side. However, Wexford left a wounded Banner in the contest so when Brian Lohan’s side did manage to find their groove …

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Both Clare and Cats have points to prove says legend Larkin

Former Kilkenny hurler Eoin Larkin feels both his native county and Clare have something to prove as the race for Liam MacCarthy has come down to the final four. Larkin, who certainly knows about winning in Croke Park, having claimed eight All Ireland titles with his county, feels that Kilkenny will be keen to show that their defeats to Galway and Wexford in the round robin series were only momentary blips. Meanwhile, he also believes that Clare will want to confirm that their performance for the first 60 minutes against Wexford was simply a hangover from the Munster final. The James Stephens clubman argues this is the more unpredictable of the two semi finals as both sides lie just 70 minutes away from an All Ireland decider. “It probably is the more unpredictable semi final. Clare produced a performance in the Munster final. What Clare will turn up in Croke Park though? Kilkenny are in the same boat because they …

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Banner legend says Clare must play the men not the shirt

Two-time All-Star John Callinan thinks that the key to success on Sunday is matching Kilkenny’s legendary physicality and then letting Clare’s speed take over. BACK in 2018 Justin McCarthy gave a stirring speech at Clare County Council headquarters in Ennis when the Clare team he coached to beat Kilkenny in the National League finals of 1977 and ’78 were accorded a civic reception. In it, he told a story about a fellow countyman of his — the greatest to ever wear the jersey in fact — being behind the goal at one of the finals telling a Kilkenny selector what needed to be done to beat Clare. The moral of the story was that the heavyweights wanted to keep things to themselves — interlopers upsetting the status quo were allowed or wanted. That attitude mightn’t have gone away completely, but it has been blown away over the past 40 or so years with the successes of Galway, Offaly, Clare, Wexford …

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Clare won’t be kitten around against The Cats in Croker

There’s a notable surge of excitement as well as apprehension ahead of tomorrow’s penultimate stage clash with Kilkenny at GAA headquarters (5.30pm). Much of that is based on the old adage that ‘what’s rare is wonderful’, a novelty factor that not only extends to being only Clare’s third All-ireland Semi-Final appearance in the past 16 years but also a dearth of championship clashes with Kilkenny in the same period. The thing is though that being only the eighth ever championship encounter between Clare and Kilkenny, seven of those have involved Brian Lohan as the Cats always provided a major stumbling block to the Banner’s ambitions during they golden era. “They were always tough, tight games and difficult opponents to play against,” recalled Lohan this week. “They were the type of opponent that didn’t need a huge amount of possession in that they could get a very good return on the amount of possession they had. Invariably they had quality scorers …

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Groundhog Day for Bill Murray and Clare

The hurling Gods! You just can’t be up to them. Who knows, maybe that’s what makes the game so great. We never know what they have ordained and they hardly know themselves, but when we saw Bill Murray take his seat beside his golfing pal JP McManus in Semple’s Ard Comhairle, we should have known that this would be different. We should have known too when Frank Murphy suddenly appeared — and like any good backman was touch-tight on Murray — that it was already different. There was more: Murphy had a hooded eye and concentrated look bearing all the hallmarks of a man up for championship; meanwhile, Murray always has those crazy eyes that say, “I’m up for championship.” We all were up for it — at least we thought we were, but truth told for long periods of the afternoon we weren’t; instead, we were underwhelmed. It helped Bill Murray take centre stage — he was the man, …

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Clare’s consistency can see them over the line – Bugler

Brendan Bugler believes Clare’s consistency so far in this year’s Championship bodes well for their aspirations this weekend. With Brian Lohan’s side travelling to FBD Semple Stadium for their quarter final showdown with Wexford, the pressure is on to replicate the performance produced in the epic Munster final a fortnight ago. Bugler feels that although Wexford have been building momentum ever since they managed to defeat Kilkenny on away soil in the final round of group games, Clare’s consistent performances will ensure they are confident of reaching a first All Ireland semi final since 2018. “Clare have really good hurlers. There is a massive desire there and they have given a performance every game. It’s been a really good year so far. This is another test and a big challenge. It’s such a huge occasion but I’m sure Brian will have worked on getting them back up for this game again after the Munster final.” The former All-Ireland winning defender …

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