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Posing in Barna Woods.

Gorgeous Portrait of Daisy

Well there I was last week thinking it had been a while since my last stay at the wonderful Twelve Hotel in Galway when I saw the bags being packed and loaded in the car. I supervised proceedings to ensure that my bag was packed too, as I wasn’t going to be left behind no matter where we were off to. Snuggling down in my bed in the back seat, we set off and I sniffed that we were heading North, which was very promising indeed. We stopped on the way for a quick dogguccino in Clarinbridge but in short order, we continued on to Galway city and out the other side. This was really looking promising and I howled with excitement as we pulled into the Twelve. I strutted into reception and who was there to greet me only my favourite receptionist, Monika, who always makes a great fuss of me. Going up to our room, there was another …

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HURLING: Clare clash with Dublin to form part of Limerick double header

CLARE will return to the TUS Gaelic Grounds as they face Dublin this Saturday in their crunch All Ireland quarter final showdown, writes Ivan Smyth. Brian Lohan’s side will take on Dublin the quarter-final on Saturday at 4pm in the first game of a double header with Galway facing Tipperary at 6.15pm. This will be the third Championship game this year Clare will play at the Ennis Road venue. The Banner beat Limerick in the round robin stage of the Munster Championship by a single point before losing out by the same margin in the decider. This will be Clare’s first game since that Munster final defeat as they try and secure successive semi final appearances and set up a rematch against Kilkenny. Dublin reached this stage of the competition after finishing third in the Leinster Championship. They trailed Joe McDonagh Cup winners Carlow by a point at half time in their Preliminary Quarter Final clash last weekend before powering …

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Ogie Fanning of Clare celebrates a goal during their Minor All-Ireland championship final at Thurles. Photograph by John Kelly.

HURLING: Banner blast past Galway to claim All-Ireland victory

All-Ireland Minor Final Clare 2-22 Galway 4-11 At Semple Stadium, Thurles A stunning third quarter paved the way for a glorious afternoon for Clare hurling as the All-Ireland minor title was claimed for only the second time in the county’s history on the back of a famous five-point victory, writes Joe Ó Muircheartaigh. This was when a rampant Banner side breached the Galway goal on two occasions and turned what was a one-point interval lead into a convincing 2-16 to 2-8 advantage that had Galway reeling, on the ropes, and on their way out. The Tribesmen had laid waste all opponents on the way to the decider, but in Clare they met their match as Ogie Fanning’s goal inside a minute of the restart put a fire under them that ultimately burned Galway’s challenge. The second came via a James Hegarty free that was fumbled to the net by the keeper on 36 minutes and from there it was just …

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From lines to footsteps in the sand

Brian O’Connell, his management team, and his players have dragged Clare minor hurling off the floor in the past two seasons writes Joe Ó Muircheartaigh, who spoke to the Shannon man who never had any doubts about taking up the job and bringing this generation as far as they could go. July 14 2021, Semple Stadium, Thurles. A Wednesday evening, in high summer, but it was like a morning in the darkest of winter, so dark it was just black, with no white, never mind any primary colours. Dickensian. Depressing. Bleak House and Hard Times were two tomes that came from Dickens’ quill – this was those and much more and it was the worst of times as Clare’s minor hurlers were on the receiving end of a 6-28 to 0-6 hammering from Cork that evening. Where do you go from there? How do you even go on? Brian O’Connell’s answer was to jump at the opportunity to manage the …

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‘Focus on the job and not the occasion’ – Damian O’Halloran

Damian O’Halloran brings All-Ireland minor winning experience to the Clare set up from his involvement with the Galway sides that won titles in 2017 and ’18 – now for a third title in the grade that would be the sweetest of all, writes Joe Ó Muircheartaigh Been there and done that! There are a few of the Clare backroom team that have ticked these boxes where competing in All-Ireland finals is concerned. Of course, Dónal Moloney is the obvious one to default to when fitting that bill, on the back of his sterling, and ever-continuing, job of journeywork at underage level that brought with it four All-Ireland final appearances in five seasons during his first coming. Damian O’Halloran is the other, with the Inagh-Kilnamona man looking ahead to his fourth All-Ireland final day out, but where this day will differ from the previous three is that this will be his maiden voyage with a saffron and blue bib on his …

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The Dawn of Clare’s greatest hurling day

Clare’s minors will be hoping to bridge a 26-year gap on Sunday as 1997 was the year that the first and only All-Ireland minor title came to the county. Joe Ó Muircheartaigh recalls the win from the most famous day in Clare hurling history. We’ve heard it before but we’ll say again: when explaining away the fortunes of a team, if you go back far enough you’ll always find that their darkest hour comes before the dawn of greater days. It can be said of Brian O’Connell’s minor team of the past two years that had the legacy of the 40-point defeat to Cork in 2021 hanging over them until it didn’t and at once they started out on a journey that has led to Sunday’s All-Ireland final. It can be said of the last Clare team to reach an All-Ireland minor final – the 2010 team that in the words of joint-manager Gerry O’Connor were “a beaten docket” in …

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Eoghan and James gunning for glory

In what has been an epic minor season to date, two of Clare’s standout performers have been Eoghan Gunning and James Hegarty, who apart from their primary role as defenders have made important contributions to the scorecard writes Joe Ó Muircheartaigh who spoke to them ahead of Sunday’s All-Ireland final. To borrow the vernacular of a different GAA time, they’re real tearaways, with a cut and dash about them that lifts those around them on the field – the team and its performance and the watching public riding along with every ebb and flow of the proceedings before them. Corner-back and captain Eoghan Gunning; centre-back and every bit the leader that his captain is, James Hegarty. Second-year minors and driving forces from deep in Clare push to win the Irish Press Cup for only the second time. They weren’t born the first time it happened, while the last time a Clare minor team reached the All-Ireland final frontier in 2010, …

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