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Hurlers in hospital

TWO club hurlers remain in hospital this week following injuries sustained in matches on Sunday. Kilmaley’s Diarmuid McMahon is in hospital in Galway, having suffered a serious head injury while playing for his club in a challenge game against Ardrahan. The principal teacher at Stonehall National School in Newmarket-on-Fergus, Diarmuid has been a key figure in Kilmaley’s senior team for more than a decade. Speaking on behalf of the club, secretary Patrick O’Malley wished Diarmuid “a speedy and full recovery”. Teenager James McMahon, meanwhile, was also removed to hospital in Limerick, after helping Newmarket to victory over Sixmilebridge in the U-21 A championship quarter-final at Gurteen. A student at St Caimin’s in Shannon, James is understood to have picked up an injury midway through the first half but played on until near the end of normal time. “It’s unfortunate that James picked up this injury and, on behalf of the club, I wish him well and we hope to see …

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Footballers beat Cork in league for first time in 23 years

Clare 2-11 Cork 0-9 AN outstanding second half display, during which Clare outscored Cork 1-9 to 0-4, helped the home county to their first league win over Cork in 23 years. The game was played in sometimes very challenging conditions in front of a crowd of 985 people in Cusack Park. Clare are now joint second with Galway in the division 2 table, on five points after four games. They are just a point behind leaders Kildare. Clare captain Martin McMahon felt that the panel of players were honest with each other following last weeks defeat to Galway in Salthill. “We worked really hard this week at training. We went back to basics and really got stuck into each other. Tactics were right today and everyone just worked as hard as they could,” the Kilmurry Ibrickane man said. “Today we said that we were going to try and keep it nice and tight. I think our forwards worked really hard. …

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Olympian visits Ennis Tri Club

LAST week, Ennis Triathlon Club hosted triathlon Olympian Bryan Keane, who participated in a club training day and launched the club’s 2017 race event calendar, consisting of a duathlon on Sunday, March 26 and the iTri Triathlon on July 22. Bryan Keane represented Ireland in the triathlon at the Rio Olympics in 2016 after making a comeback from a potentially career-ending injury he suffered when he was knocked from his bike while out training. Following two years of rehabilitation, Keane came back to his best and became the first Irish man to stand on a World Cup podium. He has risen up the rankings throughout the past number of seasons and qualified for the Rio Olympics along with the world’s top 50 triathletes. Bryan also represented Ireland in cycling and running in his early career. The focus of the training day and event launch was to provide an insight into the philosophy of multi-sport training for the club members, who …

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Footballers must meet Cork with intensity

FOLLOWING their three league defeats in 2016, all away from home, Clare won their subsequent games. Their reaction to those losses is why they are currently playing Division 2 football. A similar reaction is now required if Clare are to avoid a struggle to hold their current status. Outside of the panel and management, very few Clare people expected them to beat Galway in Salthill last Sunday. However, there was a definite expectation that Clare would compete hard for the hour and 10 minutes and, at the very least, push Galway. That did not happen, which was the most disappointing aspect of their display. In most of their league and championship games, over the last three seasons in particular, Clare have brought an honesty of effort to the field. Whatever the result, that effort level has not often dipped. It did last Sunday, though. Their tackling, tracking, support play, decision making when in possession and a cutting desire to win …

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O’Connor hoping to start before NHL ends

TUBBER’S Pat O’Connor, who was recently appointed as the Clare senior hurling captain for 2017, is keeping his fingers crossed that he will manage some game time before Clare’s participation in the 2017 league ends. Speaking to The Clare Champion this week, he paid tribute to the physios and medical team at Santry. “I am hoping to play some bit before the league ends but, realistically, getting up to the pace required, the time frame might be a bit too soon.” He continued, “At this stage, I have little or no pain. I am back into full gym and I can swing a hurley. The next step is to get into contact. Realistically, I will be looking at the Clare Champion Cup to get back to sharpness.” The All-Ireland medal winner from 2013 said being appointed Clare captain is a “massive honour”. “I was nearly the last to find out, as I couldn’t make training that evening. It was a …

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Keenan is king of the ring

Martin Keenan, who won his first Irish title three years ago in the colours of Ennis Boxing Club, hit the headlines on Friday night in the National Stadium when he captured the Irish Elite Super-heavyweight title in style, to etch his name in Clare’s sporting history. It was a big surprise for the unranked, unheralded Ennis lad, who went from strength to strength in these championships and totally upset the odds that were stacked against him from the outset three weeks ago. He is the first Clare fighter to reach the podium since James Clancy won the heavyweight title back in the 1990s for Kilfenora, with Ennis boxing legend Ollie Markham in his corner. Keenan took a 4-1 split decision over Thomas Carty from the Glasnevin club in a torrid battle, after recovering from an indifferent first round, in which he found Carty’s southpaw reach virtually impenetrable. He was off-target with his usually devastating right-hand shots to the head but …

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Conor Ryan out for season

ALL-Ireland winning senior hurling centre-back Conor Ryan is taking a year out of the game on medical advice. Speaking to The Clare Champion, he said, “Unfortunately, this is not something that I want to do. It’s a decision forced upon me. Hurling and football is a huge part of my life and I have put playing above all else. To step away is extremely difficult.” Joint Clare senior hurling team manager Gerry O’Connor confirmed, “We have asked him to join the analysis team and he probably will take up that offer. He is an integral part of our group. He has addressed the group and explained his position. He is a top-class guy. He is a loss to the team but, thankfully, he won’t be a loss to the group. “The return of Davy Mac [McInerney] softens the blow a little but it will take at least two or three weeks to re-integrate himself into training and we will take …

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Clare footballers aim for 70-minute effort

THE absence of captain Gary Brennan and half-forward Seán Collins has hampered Clare’s panel depth, as they aim for a first league win over Galway since 1995. Both were substituted against Down on February 12, carrying hamstring injuries and neither have recovered, while Brennan is also focusing on preparing for Ballyea’s All-Ireland club final against either Cuala or Slaughtneil. The Clare Champion understands that Ballyea panellists Pearse Lillis, David Egan and Shane Brennan will be available to the footballers this Sunday. “Gary or Seán haven’t trained since we played Down. Both of them came off injured, so I wouldn’t expect to see either of them this week, or maybe not for the Cork game either. Cathal and Kevin Harnett were the two lads with injury concerns going into the Down game. Both of them have got another few weeks under their belts and they are grand,” Clare selector David O’Brien confirmed. Galway are also on three points, having drawn with …

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St Anne’s seek football breakthrough

ST Anne’s Killaloe will be hoping to make history on Saturday by winning a Munster senior football title for the first time. Coming from a traditional hurling area, St Anne’s have surprised many by getting to the final with a team that includes just six players who play regular club football. Not surprisingly, they will carry the underdogs’ tag against Boherbue Community School from Cork, with the throw-in time scheduled for 12.30pm at Ballyagran. Managed by teachers John Gleeson (Ballina) and Raymond Murray, who hails from Mountbellew in Galway, a final decision on the line-up will not be made until shortly before throw-in, as they await a fitness report on Liam Harte, who missed the semi-final due to injury. According to Gleeson, Harte’s chances of playing are 50/50. Harte’s brother Colin is the team captain and he will fill the centre-back position. Others that the Killaloe side will be looking to as they seek to bring home Corn Sheáin Uí …

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St Joseph’s chase a third Munster title

ON Saturday, St Joseph’s Spanish Point will attempt to win a third Munster colleges title. They will play St Augustine’s College, Dungarvan in Bansha at 12.30pm, as they seek to add to Munster titles won in 1983 and 1995. Four clubs, St Joseph’s Miltown, Kilmurry-Ibrickane, Cooraclare and Doonbeg supply players to the panel, many of whom were part of last year’s team that was beaten in the U-16½ Munster final. St Joseph’s beat Beara from Cork in the first round, Miltown Castlemaine (Kerry), Douglas (Cork) and Causeway Comprehensive (Kerry) to reach the final. St Joseph’s are managed and coached by Paul Reidy (Kilmihil), John O’Sullivan (Miltown), Cathal Crowe (Ennistymon) and Paul Dillon (Doonbeg). Two years ago, the school won the Clare U-15 competition and last year won in Clare U-16½, while they lost the Munster final to Kenmare. Fourteen of the current team are eligible again next year. “We didn’t expect to go on this sort of run but we …

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