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Ogonnelloe Scores With East Clare’s First GAA Indoor Astro-Turf Arena

OGONNELLOE Hurling Club is striking a major blow for the local community by not only developing East Clare GAA’s first indoor astro-turf arena but, in the process, a much-needed physical education facility for the parish’s local national school. One of the county’s smallest clubs, Ogonnelloe GAA has embarked on an ambitious but targeted “Building Our Future” development plan that is focussed as much on delivering for community than results on the field. The new indoor centre will go way beyond acting as a facility for advancing the skills of the club’s hurlers. Instead, it will serve all age groups in the close-knit community, including delivering local primary school a dedicated physical education facility. On the GAA side, the 40 metre by 20 metre facility will be central to the club’s plans to regenerate hurling in the parish among children and young adults after a difficult decade or so. It will also be a major boost for one of the great …

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GAA set May dates for Banner’s return to inter-county action

THE Clare hurlers are set to begin their National League campaign on the weekend of May 8/9, while the county’s footballers will return to action the following weekend, according to the GAA fixture calendar released today. Intercounty teams are to resume training on April 19, and the football league will see a regionalised format this year, with Clare facing Cork, Laois and Kildare in Division 2 South. They will begin with an away tie against Kildare. After the action begins the hurlers will have five league games, but the competition will not have a specific final this year, with the winners of Divisions 1A and 1B being joint winners, or if they meet in the championship, this will double as a final. As in 2020 the Munster and Leinster hurling championships will be knock out, with a back door qualifier system. The football championship will be knock out, with no qualifier system. Both the football and hurling championships will get …

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Clare Clubs Give Backing To Éire Óg Motion For Strategic Review of Clare GAA

Clare GAA clubs have given unanimous backing to a new committee being put in place to conduct a strategic review aimed at improving standards in the county. It comes from an Éire Óg motion which calls for Clare GAA to “establish an independent committee to develop a five year strategic plan”. It detailed that the committee should consist of five people who are independent of the county board, and drawn from business and commercial interests with a strong record of commitment and involvement in the GAA. The key areas identified for the committee to focus on are finance and fundraising, optimisation of the Centre of Excellence at Caherlohan and other facilities, Coaching and Games Development, Governance, Public Relations along with marketing and social media. The motion was the brainchild of former Clare minor coach Niall O’Connor. Each club who spoke on the evening gave their backing to the motion, with chairman Jack Chaplin outlining that a member of the county …

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Collins commits to Clare footballers for eighth consecutive season

COLM Collins said he thought “long and hard” before committing to a return as Clare senior football manager for another season. Collins confirmed this week that he would be staying on in the role that has seen him lift Clare from division four to division two and to the brink of a place in football’s top tier. It means an eighth year at the helm for the Cratloe man since succeeding Mick O’Dwyer, making Collins the longest serving manager with the same county in Gaelic football. Clare’s preparations for a season unlikely to have a definitive roadmap for weeks to come are at a very early stage. Collective training is not allowed under the current level of restrictions so players are currently undertaking individual strength and conditioning programmes. Collins and his backroom team have also started preliminary work on tactics via Zoom meetings The Allianz leagues are expected to be pushed back from the original start dates of February 27 …

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Hayes warns funds crisis will put voluntary sector at risk

COMMUNITY and voluntary organisations across the county are at risk and facing a funding crisis, the chairperson of the Killaloe Municipal District has warned. Councillor Pat Hayes said that the public health restrictions have left the sector reeling and fighting for survival, despite the fact that it continues to make a huge contribution to the Covid-19 response, particularly in rural parts of Clare. He is now calling on government to open up funding opportunities so that organisations can apply to cover some of their basic running costs. “What you have here is a double blow to the sector,” the Fianna Fáil member outlined. “If you take a community hall or GAA facility, they’ve had to shut down which means they’ve lost any income they might normally be able to generate. Most of them still have basic costs to cover and restrictions on gatherings have meant that most of the normal fundraising events have been impossible.” Councillor Hayes said that while …

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Sixmilebridge GAA Club members speak out over ‘unbelievable’ online abuse

By Ronan Judge THE chairman of one of Clare’s biggest GAA clubs has called on the association to do more to stand up for employees who are the subject of online attacks. Chairman of Sixmilebridge GAA, Paddy Meehan, told The Clare Champion that some of the abuse directed at Clare County Board secretary Pat Fitzgerald, is “unbelievable.” Allegations of online abuse against Pat Fitzgerald are the subject of a garda investigation. Meehan says, “Pat Fitzgerald is a paid employee of the GAA and I don’t believe they have stood up for him and I don’t think they have backed him 100%. Maybe if employers start backing people… because you see it nowhere else. There was a case in Kerry there where a former soccer player was being abused and it went to court. It has to stop, this online abuse, people hiding behind computers. That’s where we’re coming from. I have often went to the Clare County Board, had issues …

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Stage set for inaugural Michael Cusack Day in Carron

THE significant contribution to Irish culture by the founder of the GAA will be celebrated next Sunday, with the inaugural Michael Cusack Day in Carron. A Shane Gilmore sculpture representing the central role of gaelic games in communities across the island of Ireland will be unveiled, exactly 173 years on from Cusack’s birth in Carron. A tree for each county will also be unveiled, along the Burren Fairy Trail and GAA Trail near the Michael Cusack Cottage, thanks to the support of the TOMAR Trust. Sunday’s event also will feature the launch of Going WeLL, a national wellness experience programme being developed nationally by the GAA to encourage people to take better care of their mental and physical health, and by so doing, to reconnect with their communities. Going WeLL is being rolled out on a pilot outreach basis to a range of communities, schools and FET (Further Education and Training) Centres from the Michael Cusack Centre this winter. It …

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Rural isolation fears over approach of winter in pandemic

RURAL isolation is emerging as a major concern across much of Clare as a direct consequence of the pandemic, with older people particularly affected. The ongoing closure of venues like pubs, as well as restrictions on social gatherings and attendance at sporting events, is said to be cutting off lifelines for many older people, many of whom are continuing to cocoon. “When you hear an older person saying that life doesn’t seem worth living any more, there’s something really wrong there,” said the Inagh native Niall Garvey, who is head of Muintir na Tíre. “I would say that, at the moment, the restrictions on pubs and matches are really big issues,” he said. “But, what I think is one of the biggest things is the fact that people are no longer calling on their neighbours. People are afraid to call in to see each other in the way they would have done before the pandemic.” Mr Garvey noted that during …

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