The draw for the Clare U21 hurling championship took place earlier on this evening at Clare GAA Headquarters in Clareabbey.
Reigning champions, Sixmilebridge will have to get past rivals Broadford in order to make the last eight. The Bridge are managed by Brian Culbert and will be looking to Clare Senior, Jamie Shanahan along with Alex Morey, Brian Carey, Conor Deasy and Brian Corry to ensure they complete a ‘three in a row’. At minor level Broadford won the A Shield and have the likes of Shane Taylor, Diarmuid Moloney and Darren Chaplin in their ranks.
The winners of the preliminary fixture between Broadford and Sixmilebridge will take on Ballyea. If the Bridge get past the Broadford challenge, it will mean a repeat of the 2014 final which saw the boys from the O’Garney river claim the title. The Black and Amber will now be without the experienced trio of Jack Browne, Tony Kelly and Gearóid O’Connell who are now overage.
After winning the Minor A title in 2012, Kilmaley are many people’s favourites to claim their first U21 title of the new millennium. Conor Cleary, Michael O’Malley, Aidan McGuane and Páraic McNamara are key elements to the Kilmaley side. Inagh/Kilnamona are Kilmaley’s opponents in the quarter-finals. The McCarthy brothers Jason and David plus David Fitzgerald are some of the big names with Inamona.
In the remaining quarter-finals; Feakle/Killanena will go toe to toe with Clarecastle. The amalgamation will be hoping their strong performances at underage will transpire to U21 level. In their path Clarecastle will be hoping to get 2015 off to a positive start. The Magpies will be looking to Bobby Duggan, Stephen Ward, Dylan Broderick and Mark McGuane during this campaign.
Éire Óg will be up against Newmarket-on-Fergus in their quarter-final tie. Shane O’Donnell is the main man with the Townies and will be leading their charge. The Blues haven’t been too successful at this grade in recent years and will go in as underdogs for this fixture.
In the U21 B competition the quartet of Cratloe, Smith O’Briens, Tulla and Wolfe Tones na Sionna have received first round byes. They are automatically through to the quarter-finals of the competition.
St Josephs Doora/Barefield will face off with near neighbours Clooney/Quin in round one. Other fixtures include the clash of favourites Clonlara vs Whitegate while O’Callaghans Mills take on Scariff/Ogonelloe. In the final game of round one Parteen meet Crusheen/Tubber.
Nine teams are entered in the U21 C competition. The first preliminary fixture sees Ruan versus Meelick with the victor advancing to play Kilmaley’s second string. Both Ballyea and St Josephs Doora/Barefield have the fortune of fielding two teams at this grade and these sides face off in the quarter-finals. North Clare sides Ennistymon and Corofin have been drawn against each other while the remaining tie is the local derby between Scariff and Bodyke.
All fixtures are due to take place on the weekend of 27th/28th/29th February while some first round games may take place sooner.
U21 A Preliminary Round:
Sixmilebridge vs Broadford.
Kilmaley vs Inagh-Kilnamona.
Newmarket-on-Fergus vs Éire Óg.
Feakle-Killanena vs Clarecastle.
Sixmilebridge or Broadford vs Ballyea.
Sixmilebridge/Broadford/Ballyea vs Newmarket-on-Fergus/Éire Óg.
Kilmaley/Inagh-Kilnamona vs Feakle-Killanena/Clarecastle.
U21 B Preliminary Round:
O’Callaghans Mills vs Scariff-Ogonelloe.
Parteen vs Crusheen-Tubber.
Whitegate vs Clonlara.
St Josephs Doora-Barefield vs Clooney-Quin.
Smith O’Briens vs Parteen/Crusheen-Tubber.
Wolfe Tones na Sionna vs Tulla.
Cratloe vs St Josephs Doora-Barefield/Clooney-Quin.
O’Callaghans Mills/Scariff-Ogonelloe vs Whitegate/Clonlara.
U21 C Preliminary Round:
Meelick vs Ruan.
Ennistymon vs Corofin.
Scariff vs Bodyke.
St Josephs Doora-Barefield vs Ballyea.
Kilmaley vs Meelick/Ruan.