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U-21 hurlers’ face neighbours

Since Clare made the breakthrough in winning their first provincial U-21 hurling title in 2009, Banner teams have dominated the championship. They have won four of the last eight titles, including three-in-a-row in 2012, 2013 and 2014. Next Wednesday’s semi-final tie between Clare and Shannonside rivals Limerick will take place at the Gaelic Grounds, the first meeting of the counties at this level since the final of 2015, when Limerick were victorious. This year’s manager, John Carmody, is happy that there is no pressure heading into next week’s game. “A number of the players involved this year were in the team that suffered a big defeat in Waterford last year and they will want to atone for that. We are playing the All-Ireland favorites in their own back yard and we are confident that the players will perform and express themselves on the evening,” commented the Kilmaley man. “There is a huge rivalry between the counties and form goes out …

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Minor hurlers can upset the form book

WHEN Cork stripped their great rivals, Tipperary, of the Munster Minor Hurling Championship title in a semi-final replay at Pairc Uí Rinn on Monday evening, it installed the Leesiders as favourites for Sunday’s final clash with Clare at Semple Stadium. Clare’s progress to the final has surprised some, as their semi-final opponents, Limerick, were fancied to make it a fifth successive provincial final appearance, given that they had a fair scattering of last year’s squad that contested the All-Ireland final in their ranks. However, Clare’s greater hunger for victory proved decisive in last week’s clash and they emerged as deserving winners in a tie that required extra time. The fact the Cork v Tipperary tie was still level after extra-time, which led to Monday’s replay, confirms the view held by the Clare management that the four semi-finalists were evenly matched and that there will not be much between the teams on Sunday. In the drawn tie, Brian Turnbull and Daire …

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Ticket mania grips the county

TICKET-mania has gripped the county ahead of what is a huge week for Clare GAA, when four teams will be trying to progress in their respective championships. The minor and senior hurlers face Cork in Thurles on Sunday, the senior footballers host Mayo in round 3A of the qualifiers on Saturday while, on Wednesday evening next, the U-21 hurlers will play Limerick in the Munster championship semi-final. The Munster Hurling Championship has always had a special appeal and on Sunday, Clare will contest both the minor and senior finals on the same day for only the fourth time ever. Clare won the minor title in 1981, when captain by John Lynch from Sixmilebridge, but suffered defeat in the senior final. Clare lost to Tipperary in the 1997 Munster minor final but won the senior crown the same day. Less than two months later, both teams were crowned All-Ireland champions. 1997 was the first year of the back-door system. Clare lost …

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Five changes to minor hurling team

The Clare minor team to fave Limerick in the Munster minor hurling semi-final this Wednesday evening shows five changes in personnell from that which comfortably overcame Waterford in the opening round at the beginning of April. Omitted are corner backs Cian McInerney and Conor Ferns, midfielder Cathal Darcy and forwards Gearoid Cahill and Conor Tierney. They are replaced by Sean Crowley, Bradley Higgins, Eoin Fitzpatrick, Riain Considine and Paul Corry. The game throws in a 7.30p.m and extra time will be played in the event of a draw. The winners will go through to the provincial final on Sunday week where they will play either Cork or Tipperary who play this Thursday evening in the second semi-final. The team is Eamonn Foudy (Inagh-Kilnamona); Sean Crowley (Kilmihil) Ross Hayes (Crusheen), Bradley Higgins (Kilmaley); Diarmuid Ryan (Cratloe), Cian Minogue (Bodyke), Aidan McCarthy (Inagh-Kilnamona); Keith White (Inagh-Kilnamona) Lee Brack (Clarecastle); Tiernan Agnew (Sixmilebridge) ,Riain Considnne (Cratloe), Eoin Fitzgerald (Inagh-Kilnamona); Paul Corry (Sixmilebridge), Gary …

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Exciting championship draws

The Clare senior hurling and football championship round 2 draws have thrown up some very interesting pairings. Senior hurling champions Ballyea will face their immediate predecessors as champions Sixmilebridge while in the losers section Feakle will take on Clooney-Quin with Cratloe facing Crusheen and the losers of both these games will be in the relegation dog fight In senior football neighbours and great rivals Doonbeg and Cooraclare will clash while there will be an all parish affair with the meeting of Lissycasey and Clondegad. The stand out game in the losers section of the senior football championship is the meeting of St. Breckans and Miltown St. Josephs. In the intermediate hurling championship hot favourites Kilmaley will face Smith O’Briens. The draw in detailis; Senior Football; Winners section; O’Currys v Kilmurry-Ibrickane; Eire Og v Cratloe; Lissycasey v Clondegad; Doonbeg v Cooraclare; Losers section; Kilfenora v St Josephs, Doora-Barefield; Ennistymon v St.Senans, Kilkee; Wolfe Tones v Corofin; St. Breckans v Miltown St. …

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Judgement day at Thurles

Sunday is judgement day noted joint Clare senior hurling manager Gerry O’Connor. “We will be judged as a management and the players will be judged. Being absolutely honest, we have targeted this day and that brings its own pressures but so be it. “I remember 1995 in Thurles and ’96 in the Gaelic Grounds and form went out the window on both days. Donal [Moloney] and myself have been involved in a huge amount of U-21 games and form goes out the window. It comes down to the team that is most focussed on the day and best prepared. “Then there is the Paul Kinnerk and Joe O’Connor factor also. It’s very unusual. We have soldiered long and hard and Donal, Paul and myself have had our greatest memories from Thurles. These guys [Clare players] have grown up performing in Thurles. We expect a top-class display.” When it was put to him that the public perception is that Clare will …

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Clare and Limerick face-off in Thurles

A NUMBER of cross-overs between Clare and Limerick makes this Sunday’s Munster Senior Hurling Championship semi-final in Thurles even more exciting than usual. Paul Kinnerk, such a central figure in much of the success Clare enjoyed at provincial and national U-21 and senior levels in the past half-dozen years, is now the Limerick coach. Their physical trainer is Joe O’Connor, who trained Clare’s All-Ireland winning team in 2013 under manager Davy Fitzgerald. If that wasn’t enough, there is the involvement of Wolfe Tones clubman from Shannon, Alan Cunningham as part of the Limerick backroom team. He played a key role in the success achieved by Limerick city club Na Piarsaigh in winning the Munster and All-Ireland club titles and is still part of the Limerick city club’s backroom team. On Sunday, the former Clare player and coach finds himself in the opposite camp to his son Aaron, who is a key member of the Clare panel and likely to feature …

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Champions Ballyea make a winning start

Champions Ballyea made a winning start to the 2017 Clare senior hurling championship when they accounted for Wolfe Tones at Cusack Park this Sunday. At the end of a well contested first half they led by the odd point in eleven, 0-6 to 0-5. In the opening ten minutes of the second half each side added two points to their half time tallies before the title holders stretched their lead to three points by the three quarter stage. Wolfe Tones closed the gap to the minimum again but the crucial score came seven minutes from time when Tony Kelly burst through for the game’s only goal which helped his side to a 1-16 to 0-12 victory. Goals from Eimhin Courtney, David Reidy and Shane O’Donnell helped Eire Og to a comfortable victory over O’Callaghans Mills at Shannon. Courtney’s goal separated the sides at half time when the score was 1-10 to 0-10 and the Ennis side went on to hold …

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