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Friday 24 November 2017

Real hurling Sundays back with a bang

Paul Rodgers (4) from Scariff, at the Clare-Waterford match in Semple Stadium
Paul Rodgers (4) from Scariff, at the Clare-Waterford match in Semple Stadium

Conor Kane

MUSIC and early commentaries draining from packed bars; the smell of warm burgers and cold beer cutting through the Thurles air; ices, apples, minerals and chocolate; even the sun piercing the clouds.

Hurling Sundays are back. There's been the phoney war of some lesser-light fixtures already this 2013 season, but for many the hurling championship is only truly up and running when the first big clash takes place in one of the game's great amphitheatres.

And Semple Stadium in Thurles for a Munster first-round shootout on the first Sunday in June will do nicely.

Yesterday's meeting of Clare and Waterford had so many plots and sub-plots, underlying themes and major characters, it could have been scripted by Tolkien himself.

Since the Return of the King (Davy Fitzgerald) to his native Clare two years ago, his former infantrymen in Waterford sacked the Banner castle back in 2012, so the little man with the big heart (and voice) was hoping his Fellowship could reclaim lost territory this time around.

As animated as ever on the sideline, Davy saw Clare roaring into an early four-point lead, falling behind by four at half-time but heavily outscoring their rivals in the second period (what sort of half-time talk must that have been?) to win, pulling up 2-20 to 1-15.

Attention next week turns to Limerick, where the home side will aim to dash Tipperary's hopes of a return to the top of the tree. For Waterford it's now the maelstrom of the qualifiers while, for Clare, June 23 and Cork is the next date to concentrate the minds.

Clare cruise into semi-final: sport

Irish Independent

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