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Tag Archives: clare

County makes room for plethora of new legends

By Peter O’Connell THIS county has produced a platoon of fabled men and women. Cup an open ear towards the distant mists of time and hear the deeds of Brian Boru, Máire Rua, Biddy Earley and Captain Edward Kennedy resonate. If you were to happen upon a game of hurling, at a time of your choosing during the 20th century, the feats and skills of Pa ‘Fowler’ McInerney, Tommy Daly, Jimmy Smyth, Ger Loughnane, Brian Lohan, Seán McMahon and Jamesie O’Connor would leave you certain this was a county not short of sporting legends. A county not scraping around, searching forlornly for men worthy of having the saffron and blue placed on their backs, as reputedly Brian Boru had at the Battle of Clontarf in 1014. At close to 6.30pm on the evening of Saturday, September 28, 2013, a wondrously skilled group of young men nailed their place in the sporting and broader historic annals of their county. Long after …

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“I was in shock” -O’Donovan

WHEN James McGrath sounded the final whistle, Clare achieved something that didn’t look likely when they lost to Cork in the Munster Championship or when they stumbled past Wexford in the qualifiers. Just before getting on the bus to leave Croke Park, Domhnall O’Donovan acknowledged earlier in the year, he didn’t think Clare were real contenders. “At the start of the year, if you’d told me I’d be here, I wouldn’t have believed you. Then, as we built momentum, we were thinking ‘we could actually do this’. Tipperary were knocked out and Kilkenny were knocked out and it was a much more even championship and we realised anyone could beat anyone, so we realised we could do it, if we believed.” The Clonlara corner-back said he was in a state of shock when the game ended. “I couldn’t believe it, I was in shock. I’m delighted that getting that point in the draw actually meant something; if we lost it …

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Eight hurleys made for outfielders to face Nash thunderbolts

AFTER the drawn game everyone knew that any 21 yard free for Cork was likely to result in a goal and on Saturday evening Cian Dillon said that especially large hurleys had been made for defenders to use whenever Nash came up the field. “It was kind of funny in training when Fitzy told us there might be 12 or 13 of us on the line and that we’d be getting hurleys made for us. We had eight especially big hurleys to try and stop them! It didn’t work for the first one, he didn’t really connect with the last one, maybe he was put off by the amount of us!” the Crusheen defender said. Clare led by four points at the break, but it had been eight points earlier on. While Cork had found their stride, there was still great confidence in the Banner dressing room, Dillon said. “At half time, in every game we’ve played this year, we’ve always …

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“I’m glad the point meant something”

“I’m glad the point meant something. It would have meant nothing if we’d lost the match” said Domhnall O’Donovan of his last gasp point which resulted in Saturday’s replay. He made his comments while being interviewed in front of thousands of Clare people at the team’s homecoming in Ennis this evening. The Clonlara corner back also said the score had been “one of the best things I’ve done in my life.” Captain Patrick Donnellan said he hoped Clare “will have many more of these days” and he said the under 21 success had helped to focus the seniors. “We’re on the crest of a wave and the under 21s showed us the way to a degree,” he commented. Donnellan now has his first Celtic Cross and he said the All Ireland will be well celebrated. “Days like yesterday have been few and far between in recent years so we’ll make the most of it.” Wing forward John Conlon said his nerves had …

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Conlon reflects on a dream come true

ONE of five Clonara men to play a part in Clare’s epic 2013 All-Ireland final win, John Conlon has long dreamed of this day. The 24 year old Clonara man, who hurled with ferocity and poise in what was a momentous 70 minutes of hurling, set his sights on hurling in Croke Park, long before he wore a county jersey. “I remember when I was younger sitting in the Nally Stand and looking out. I was wondering ‘will I be here one day?’ You train, train and train. You have the bad days and these are the amazing days,” Conlon said afterwards. He watched the 1997 All-Ireland final from the Nally Stand and speaking on Saturday evening, he found it hard to comprehend that he was now an All-Ireland winner himself. “This is the stuff of dreams. I remember being out in the back garden when Limerick played Wexford. (1996) I was looking at the TV inside the window saying …

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Three week gap can be challenging – Canning

ONE man with recent experience of preparing for an All-Ireland senior hurling replay is Galway’s Joe Canning. The Portumna man was in Thurles last Saturday week as a Bord Gais ambassador at the All-Ireland U-21 final. Canning rescued a replay for Galway with an injury time equaliser, 12 months ago. The replay with Kilkenny was the first in an All-Ireland since 1959. With hindsight, he says Galway would prepare differently but he feels gearing up for a replay is a challenging proposition. “We lost, so we’d have other ways of going about it that we might think of now. At the same time, it’s unknown territory for every team that’s in it. When you’re going into an All-Ireland, you’re thinking you’re going to win or lose, you’re not thinking about a replay,” he suggested. Canning remembers the weeks bridging the draw and replay dragged appreciably. “How to deal with the three weeks between the matches is the big thing. You’d …

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