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Restart of U21 club campaign put on hold following request from county management

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*Photograph: John Mangan

Action in the U21 club hurling championship will not resume until Clare’s U20 hurlers have concluded their campaign.

Ordinarily held in early spring, the U21 championship was unable to conclude due to the outbreak of COVID-19 causing all games to be suspended. First round ties had taken place in the U21B while quarter-final victories were recorded by Clonlara and Sixmilebridge in the U21A.

Whitegate delegate, Ger Hogan queried if a decision on the resumption of the club championship had been made by Clare GAA officials at Thursday’s virtual meeting of the County Board.

Chairman Joe Cooney outlined, “The Clare U20 hurling management have asked us to leave it until their inter-county competition is finished. Hopefully they will have a long campaign”. He said that the matter would be reviewed when Sean Doyle’s side conclude their involvement in the U20 championship whenever that scenario occurs.

Clare’s U20 hurlers take on Tipperary in the Munster championship in Thurles on October 19th, should they prevail in this encounter Doyle’s side have a semi-final outing on October 26th.

Brian Coffey’s minors will be the first county team to get their campaign underway. They are in action on October 17th with Dermot Coughlan’s footballers lining out on October 24th.

In what will be a televised fixture, Brian Lohan will have his first championship outing as Clare senior hurling manager on October 25th against Limerick. A win here would set up a Munster semi-final with reigning All-Ireland champions Tipperary on November 1st at LIT Gaelic Grounds. Colm Collins’ senior footballers begin their provincial journey on November 1st where they meet Tipperary whose management team includes ex Banner netminder Joe Hayes.

It is unlikely that the U21 club football championship will commence, the September County Board meeting heard. Siobhán Finn of Kildysart question if plans were in place to start the competition but Cooney detailed that the County Board felt it would not be easy to begin a new competition given the rising number of COVID-19 cases. “If circumstances change, we will give it consideration,” the O’Callaghans Mills clubman commented.

Secretary of Bord na nÓg Peil, Anne Hayes informed the meeting that the U16 hurling championship should proceed. Concerns of a potential delay were voiced by Inagh/Kilnamona’s Paul Gannon and John McNamara of Sixmilebridge. The county Chairman stated that the matter was left to both underage bodies to sort, “There is a small bit of a backlog in the peil side, we are hopeful it will be cleared”.

Any potential worries were abated by Hayes, “The U16 hurling and football is going ahead. Our priority now is to finish off what we started”. The Lissycasey woman estimated that the U16 could start in the next two to three weeks. The importance of the competition in aiding player retention was stressed by delegates.

No update on the running of the U13 hurling championship was provided at the meeting following a request from Sixmilebridge’s McNamara.

Páraic McMahon is Head of News & Sport with The Clare Echo. The Newmarket-on-Fergus native also writes for national papers including The Irish Examiner, The Irish Independent and The Irish Times along with doing work for RTÉ, Today FM, TheJournal.ie and The42.ie. A graduate of Mary Immaculate College, Páraic was previously employed by The Clare Herald and Clare FM. If you have a story, tip or some feedback for him then send an email to - paraic@clareecho.ie

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