This weekend sees five games down for decision in Round Two of the Clare SHC.
The remaining five games in the round will be played off next weekend. Each team has their own incentive going into this weekend’s action with some aspiring to secure a quarter final spot and others attempting to avoid relegation. Four of the clashes are in Senior A, whilst Ruan v Whitegate is the only fixture in Senior B that takes place this weekend.
Clonlara v Inagh/Kilnamona
12:00 on 22/06/14 at Sixmilebridge:
A win for either side on Sunday will secure them a place in the quarter finals of the Senior A championship. Clonlara had to fight back in their first round clash against Ballyea to emerge victorious on a 3-22 to 1-16 scoreline. The South East Clare men were behind at half-time in that tie but their experience and class carried them over the line. Inagh/Kilnamona had five points to spare over Clooney-Quin in their first round match and led throughout. Sunday’s tie should be a close affair; both sides have been reaching the knockout stages of the Canon Hamilton Cup consistently over the last few years. Inagh/Kilnamona seems to have regressed this year, they were very close to relegation in the Clare Cup and the loss of experienced players like Eamonn Glynn, Ronan O Looney and Cathal Lafferty hasn’t helped their cause. To counteract that young players like David Mc Carthy and David Fitzgerald are getting their chance to fill that void. Clonlara seem to have a greater desire in 2014, they have failed to scale the heights they reached in 2008 and haven’t reached the County Final since 2009. However the marquee names that they possess are going to be very difficult to keep a lid on. Inagh Kilnamona will need the likes of Pa Kelly, Milo Keane, Tomas Kelly, Haulie Vaughan, Gerry Arthur and Conor Tierney at their very best if they’re to put a further two points on the table. Should Clonlara’s county stars, Colm Galvin, John Conlon, Domhnall O Donovan, Darach Honan and Nicky O Connell along with Cathal O Connell, Ian Galvin and Cormac O Donovan, perform there will be no stopping the champions of 08.
Newmarket on Fergus v Tubber
15:00 on 21/06/14 at Cusack Park:
It’s almost an annual fixture these two sides meeting. Needless to say both teams are very familiar with each other. Newmarket can secure a quarter final spot with a win, whereas Tubber will be in a relegation dogfight should they lose. In the numerous clashes in recent years between these sides, the Tubber men have yet to come out on top. Saturday could be their best chance as they face a Newmarket side crippled with injuries and fresh out of their worst Clare Cup campaign in over six years. Three points was the difference between these sides in their championship encounter last year so it will be a tough physical encounter this Saturday. Tubber will be looking to Patrick O Connor, Mark Earley, Ronan Taafe and Blaine Earley in their attempt to beat the County finalists. For Newmarket, Colin Ryan, Enda Barrett, Stephen Kelly, James Mc Inerney and Alan Barrett are expected to steer the ship. It looks like it should go in favour of Newmarket but it will be a close affair and one they’ll have to be fully tuned in for.
Clarecastle v Tulla
13:00 on 22/06/14 at Shannon:
The stakes are high for both teams, defeat for Tulla sees them go into a relegation battle, while victory for Clarecastle sees them advance to the quarter finals. Both sides have new management teams for 2014 with Brian Torpey in charge of Tulla and Rodger Mc Mahon dons the bainisteoir bib for the Magpies. Clarecastle will not win possession easily against this fiery Tulla team and so will have to make full use of what they do get. Tulla will have to monitor their ferocity on Sunday as they were reduced to 14 men in the last round following Niall Bolton’s dismissal. Clarecastle are gradually attempting to regain their place at the top table of Clare hurling following a number of years in the wilderness. They now have a team which has a nice blend of youth and experience. The Magpies will be eager to avoid their mistakes of last year which saw them win their first round match, only to lose matches in round two and three. Tulla are will be raring to go on Sunday and players like David Mc Inerney, Sean Torpey, Mark Lynch and Niall Bolton may help to get them over the line. Clarecastle will be looking for big performances from Patrick Kelly, Bobby Duggan, Jonathan Clancy, Stephen O Halloran and Stephen Ward. It promises to be a close lively affair but one in which Clarecastle should prevail.
Crusheen v Kilmaley
16:30 on 21/06/14 at Cusack Park:
The backstory to this tie adds a bit of interest, Crusheen manager John Carmody is a Kilmaley native and the man who was in charge when Kilmaley last lifted Canon Hamilton afloat a decade ago. That achievement is history now as Carmody faces off against his home club on Saturday, hoping to send them into a relegation pitfall. Crusheen’s victory over County champions, Sixmilebridge in the previous round was a mild shock but it taught us that this Crusheen side are not going to be satisfied with just being the most successful team to come out of their club since its inception, they still have the drive and determination to take down the big guns and now their attention is switched firmly on the men of Kilmaley. Kilmaley suffered a 14 point defeat at the hands of Cratloe in the last round and now they will be eager to recover from that hammering. Their senior status is at risk and they really need a win at the weekend or else they face the prospect of a do or die final round clash with Sixmilebridge. Kilmaley need the likes of Conor Cleary, Eoin Enright, Alan Markham, Daire Keane, Diarmaid Mc Mahon and Michael O Neill to put in massive performances if they want to get their first two points of the campaign. For Crusheen, Cian Dillon, Paddy Vaughan, Alan Brigdale, Gerry O Grady and Donal Tuohy must deliver in order for them to secure a place in the quarter finals. Crusheen should have enough to pull away in this one but one thing is for sure, Kilmaley will not suffer a 14 point defeat.
Whitegate v Ruan
18:00 on 21/06/14 at Tulla
It’s the clash of the intermediate champions of 2013 versus the intermediate champions of 2012. Neither side can afford to lose this one as both suffered defeats in the first round. It’s quiet simple, lose and you’ll be playing intermediate hurling in 2014 and both are eager to retain their senior status. Ruan fizzled out of their tie with Wolfe Tones in the first round and suffered a ten point defeat following the concession of late goals, this would lead to questions on their stamina, and these questions will be answered come 19:30 on Saturday evening. Whitegate were unlucky to lose out by three points in their encounter with a strong Éire Óg side. There is talk that Ruan are without wing forward Brendan Lyons for this tie and if this is the case, it will be a big blow for Ruan, not just because he is one of their more skilful hurlers but Whitegate’s half back line on paper is their strongest line on the pitch. Aidan Lynch, Killian Ryan, Jonathan Clohessy and Tadgh Hanrahan will need to be at their best for Ruan. Whitegate will be relying on Brendan Bugler, Andrew Fahy, George Waterstone and Eoin Quirke to help re-start their campaign. This tie will go right down to the wire but come the final whistle Whitegate should be ahead, just.