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Tag Archives: National Hurling League

David Fitzgerald of Clare is congratulated by Brian Lohan, Clare Manager, following their Munster SHC Round Robin, Round 3 game at Thurles. Photograph by John Kelly

Hurling: If the cap Fitz, wear it

Off the back of a memorable championship summer in which Clare encouragingly made their championship mark, David Fitzgerald is relishing the prospect of trying to surpass that achievement in 2023. Just as the Banner’s swashbuckling provincial performances ignited the whole county, Fitzgerald was also performing to new heights in the Saffron and Blue jersey, scoring 2-18 in just seven championship ties on the way to deservedly becoming Inagh-Kilnamona’s first All-Star recipient (since Catherine O’Loughlin in 2005 at least). Being his seventh championship campaign, the stars had finally aligned for Fitzgerald in terms of finally nailing down a starting place. You see, prior to 2022, his versatility of being able to play in either defence or attack essentially made it difficult for him to be a master of one position as evidenced by 11 of his 24 championship appearances between 2016-2021 being from the bench. “To be honest, with the versatility, just trying to be consistent in a position was tough …

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Hurling: ‘We will set out to win every game’ Ken Ralph

It was an enthralling hurling summer that Clare understandably never wanted to end but while supporters still bask in those indelible championship memories, the players and management themselves have long since parked 2022 and have been gearing towards not only emulating but eclipsing those feats in the coming season. Of course, with such ambitions comes heightened expectations, something which selector Ken Ralph only welcomes as they prepare for their first real tests of 2023 over the next eight weeks. “I would hope that expectations have risen because we had a reasonably good year last year. Obviously it didn’t end too great but we were happy with the majority of our championship run and we have to push on now. We have to kick on and improve and with that inevitably comes expectation and we hope to meet that this year and try and go a couple of steps further than we did last year.” Having incrementally finished each of their …

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Hurlers travel to the Tribes

National Hurling League Division 1 Round 5 Galway v Clare at Pearse Stadium Salthill, Sunday 1.45pm (James Owens, Wexford) It’s not only Brian Lohan’s first competitive clash with Galway but also Clare’s first meeting since that epic 2018 All-Ireland Semi-Final Championship series. That thrilling two match wrestle for supremacy still inevitably holds plenty of regret for Clare who had opportunities to win on both days but ultimately failed to do so in Croke Park or Semple Stadium. Four years on and Galway probably stand their best chance in the country of finally toppling back-to-back All-Ireland champions Limerick who made their breakthrough in that subsequent 2018 decider to dethrone the Tribesmen. The same goes for Clare who despite a veritable ward full of injuries, have finally warmed up to their task in the last two outings against Offaly and Limerick and will look to finish the National League on a high. Ironically, while there’s nothing technically to play for as Cork …

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Buoyant Banner will be relishing Cats’ trip to Clare

National Hurling League Division 1 Group B Round 5 Clare v Kilkenny at Cusack Park Ennis, Saturday 3pm (Johnny Murphy, Limerick) Put simply, Clare will relish having a real cut at Leinster champions Kilkenny in Cusack Park this Saturday. It’s not solely because it’s the perfect gauge of their development so far either as the Banner also hold an enviable record against Brian Cody’s side that no other county can currently match. Clare are unbeaten in five matches against Kilkenny in as many seasons, starting with that rousing nine point Division 1 Semi-Final victory in 2016 on their way to bridging a 38 year gap to the county’s last National League crown. A sixth positive result would provide the perfect lead-in to the start of the Munster Championship against Waterford a fortnight later in terms of belief and confidence, something that Kilkenny currently possess in abundance having powered to four straight victories thus far. The thing is that Clare have …

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Kelly points the way as Clare see off Dublin challenge in National Hurling League Division 1

National Hurling League Division 1 Group B Round 4 Clare 0-34 Dublin 2-23 A MOMENTUM building victory for Clare who secured their first victory over Dublin in Parnell Park since 2005 to leapfrog their hosts in the Division 1 table this afternoon, reports Eoin Brennan. Highlighted by a 20-point haul for talisman Tony Kelly, Clare were full value for victory too after leading for the majority to cement back-to-back league victories for the first time this season. Recovering from a slow start in which the visitors found themselves trailing by 0-5 too 0-2 by the ninth minute, Kelly popped up with three in a row to ensure a 0-6 to 0-6 stalemate by the water break. Despite facing into a stiff breeze, Clare grew in confidence with six of the next seven points including two from Shane O’Donnell to move 0-12 to 0-07 clear by the 23rd minute. However, the Banner would be sucker-punched by a brace of late goals …

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Hurlers make five changes for league quarter-final

THE Clare starting 15 shows five changes from the side that drew with Limerick in their last league game, ahead of Saturday’s league quarter-final against Waterford in Walsh Park.  Seadna Morey (Sixmilebridge) makes his first start of the year at corner back in place of Rory Hayes, while Cathal Malone replaces David Fitzgerald at wing back.  Aidan McCarthy (Inagh-Kilnamona) starts at wing forward in place of Diarmuid Ryan, Gary Cooney (O’Callaghan’s Mills) comes in for Ian Galvin at corner forward, and Aron Shanagher (Wolfe Tones na Sionna) starts at full forward in place of Niall Deasy. Saturday’s game throws in at 3pm. Donal Tuohy (Crusheen) Seadna Morey (Sixmilebridge) David McInerney (Tulla) Jack Browne (Ballyea) Patrick O’Connor (Tubber) – Captain Conor Cleary (St. Joseph’s Miltown) Cathal Malone (Sixmilebridge) Shane Golden (Sixmilebridge) Colm Galvin (Clonlara) Peter Duggan (Clooney-Quin) Tony Kelly (Ballyea) Aidan McCarthy (Inagh-Kilnamona) Gary Cooney (O’Callaghan’s Mills) Aron Shanagher (Wolfe Tones na Sionna) Podge Collins (Cratloe) Substitutes: Keith Hogan (Clooney-Quin) David Fitzgerald …

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A chance for hurlers to experiment

Waterford may only have a very slim outside chance of avoiding the Division 1 A relegation play-off but the fact that they have not managed a home win in this season’s competition is sure to be a major driving force, when they entertain Clare in the final group game in this season’s Senior Hurling League, which is scheduled for a 2.30pm start at Walsh Park on Sunday. After suffering their only defeat in this season’s competition when going down to Wexford on Sunday last, Clare are keen to return to winning ways. Victory on Sunday will keep them near the top and they could well be top of the table come Sunday evening, depending on other results. Last week’s cancellation of all fixtures, due to the heavy snowfalls across the country, will have given players a welcome rest at a time of the year when they are particularly busy, especially those who were involved in colleges competitions. The delay “has …

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Banner fans dream of silverware

Hurling fans faced into the 2018 season with hope more than confidence. The loss of a few regulars to retirement, travel and injury has meant that some key players from the past decade have had to be replaced. Defeat in the final of the Munster league by neighbours Limerick, on a day when the Banner men failed to match the physicality of their opponents, only added to those fears. Fast forward just three weeks and victories over Tipperary and Kilkenny in the opening two rounds of the national league have Clare fans instead dreaming of silverware again. Tipperary and Kilkenny are difficult to beat on any occasion but adding to the excitement about these results is the fact that they were fully merited. Indeed, Clare should have won both by a much greater margin, particularly Sunday’s game in Nowlan Park. While all involved are entitled to be pleased with these results, it must be remembered that their opponents, in both …

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