Loughrea remain the favourites for hurling crown

Loughrea and Clarinbridge are back in action at the earlier time of 1.45pm this Sunday in Pearse Stadium in the keenly anticipated Cooper Senior County Hurling Championship final replay.

Despite playing second fiddle to Clarinbridge for long periods the last day out, Loughrea are still the bookies’ favourites to win the Tom Callanan Cup and are priced at 4/6, with Clarinbridge at 6/4, and 17/2 the draw with Mulhollands.

As a result of Loughrea’s strong finish to force the replay,many people are tipping them to go on and complete the job this weekend. They learnt a lot in their drawn encounter against Portumna and were far superior the second day, and the fear for Clarinbridge is that the same may happen again.

Loughrea’s management team of Joe Sweeney, Greg Kennedy and Leo Keary will have had no problem motivating their charges as many of their big-game players did not kick into action until they were almost out of the championship. But when the game needed to be rescued, Damien McClearn, Gavin Keary, Johnny Coen, Johnny Maher, Neil Keary and Johnny O’Loughlin stood tall and reined in the Bridge men, while substitutes Tom Regan, Kenneth Colleran and Greg Kennedy also made notable contributions. 

Loughrea will know they cannot allow Mark Kerins the freedom and space he had two weeks ago and he can expect to be closely marshalled this Sunday. Kerins had a massive influence on proceedings in the drawn game and, if he is nullified to some degree this weekend, the Bridge will have to look to Eoin Forde, Paul Coen, Alan Kerins and Stephen Forde to weigh in with more scores from play.

Clarinbridge manager Micheál Donoghue has a major injury concern over midfielder Barry Daly who is suffering from a fractured thumb, and his participation from the start is in doubt. Donoghue will give his midfielder as much time as possible to recover and he is hopeful that he will respond to treatment this week and be able to play some role in the contest.

Donoghue, who was team captain in 2001 when the club won their only county title, knows they face a giant task this weekend to collect their second one.

“Loughrea showed what a good a side they are by coming back from a bad position the last day out. A lot of teams would not have had the composure to come back from five points down going into the last quarter, but they are a very experienced outfit and they always hurl to the final whistle. They are a very fine side and they are never easily beaten. We know that, and we know that we will have to be at our very best to get past them this weekend. That is the challenge in front of us and we are looking forward to it. We will have to produce a top -class performance to win, but we believe we have a panel of players capable of doing so.”

Their two central defenders Brian Burke and David Forde did well in the drawn encounter and they will have to continue that good form on Loughrea’s danger-men Johnny Maher and Johnny O’Loughlin if their captain Paul Callanan is to hoist some silverware. Johnny Coen is another huge player for Loughrea and, if he could be contained, it would be a massive boost for the Bridge.

* The senior game will be preceded by the minor replay at 12 noon between Athenry and Gort.

ay in Pearse Stadium in the keenly anticipated Cooper Senior County Hurling Championship final replay.

Despite playing second fiddle to Clarinbridge for long periods the last day out, Loughrea are still the bookies’ favourites to win the Tom Callanan Cup and are priced at 4/6, with Clarinbridge at 6/4, and 17/2 the draw with Mulhollands.

As a result of Loughrea’s strong finish to force the replay,many people are tipping them to go on and complete the job this weekend. They learnt a lot in their drawn encounter against Portumna and were far superior the second day, and the fear for Clarinbridge is that the same may happen again.

Loughrea’s management team of Joe Sweeney, Greg Kennedy and Leo Keary will have had no problem motivating their charges as many of their big-game players did not kick into action until they were almost out of the championship. But when the game needed to be rescued, Damien McClearn, Gavin Keary, Johnny Coen, Johnny Maher, Neil Keary and Johnny O’Loughlin stood tall and reined in the Bridge men, while substitutes Tom Regan, Kenneth Colleran and Greg Kennedy also made notable contributions.

Loughrea will know they cannot allow Mark Kerins the freedom and space he had two weeks ago and he can expect to be closely marshalled this Sunday. Kerins had a massive influence on proceedings in the drawn game and, if he is nullified to some degree this weekend, the Bridge will have to look to Eoin Forde, Paul Coen, Alan Kerins and Stephen Forde to weigh in with more scores from play.

Clarinbridge manager Micheál Donoghue has a major injury concern over midfielder Barry Daly who is suffering from a fractured thumb, and his participation from the start is in doubt. Donoghue will give his midfielder as much time as possible to recover and he is hopeful that he will respond to treatment this week and be able to play some role in the contest.

Donoghue, who was team captain in 2001 when the club won their only county title, knows they face a giant task this weekend to collect their second one.

“Loughrea showed what a good a side they are by coming back from a bad position the last day out. A lot of teams would not have had the composure to come back from five points down going into the last quarter, but they are a very experienced outfit and they always hurl to the final whistle. They are a very fine side and they are never easily beaten. We know that, and we know that we will have to be at our very best to get past them this weekend. That is the challenge in front of us and we are looking forward to it. We will have to produce a top -class performance to win, but we believe we have a panel of players capable of doing so.”

Their two central defenders Brian Burke and David Forde did well in the drawn encounter and they will have to continue that good form on Loughrea’s danger-men Johnny Maher and Johnny O’Loughlin if their captain Paul Callanan is to hoist some silverware. Johnny Coen is another huge player for Loughrea and, if he could be contained, it would be a massive boost for the Bridge.

* The senior game will be preceded by the minor replay at 12 noon between Athenry and Gort.

 

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