Some very interesting pairings were drawn together earlier on this evening when the draws for the 2015 Senior and Intermediate Clare Championships took place at Treaceys West County Hotel.
Dual-champions Cratloe will have a difficult start as champions in both the Senior Football and Hurling Championships. Colm Collins’ footballers have been paired against Kilmurry/Ibrickane in what is nearly becoming an annual fixture. Joe McGrath’s hurlers will take on the team he labelled as “the coming force in Clare hurling” that team being Ballyea.
Round One of the Senior Football Championship has dug up some exciting ties with the aforementioned Cratloe vs Kilmurry/Ibrickane clash being the pick of the bunch. 2014 semi-finalists Cooraclare welcome Wolfe Tones back to the Senior ranks as the 2014 Intermediate champions must get past a side that was very impressive in the last campaign.
2012 winners Doonbeg will face St Josephs Miltown who certainly didn’t look out of their depth after returning from the Intermediate ranks last year. The clash of O’Currys and St Senans Kilkee will be one to keep an eye out for as both teams defied the odds on many occasions last year.
After surviving relegation Shannon Gaels have been handed a difficult assignment as they must beat Clondegad to advance to the second round. Following poor performances in 2014, St Josephs Doora Barefield will be back with a vengeance and Kilrush Shamrocks now stand in their path.
Beaten County finalists Éire Óg will aim to go one step further and they have been drawn against Ennistymon who have failed to build on the promise shown at underage level in recent years. In the remaining tie in round one St Breckans have been paired with Lissycasey.
On the hurling side of things; some fixtures grab the eye immediately. One of them is the clash of Clonlara and Clarecastle which will Sean Stack make his first championship appearance as Clonlara boss. The Magpies have yet to appoint a management following the controversial departures of Rodgie McMahon and Fergie O’Loughlin.
Sixmilebridge will be aiming to get their hands back on Canon Hamilton after letting the crown slip so quickly, they have been handed a difficult task against the up and coming Éire Óg. Senior B finalists of last year O’Callaghans Mills face Tubber in what will be a very close contest.
Inagh/Kilnamona have been hit hard by emigration and retirements, they’ll get harder hits in the first round when challenging the 2014 County finalists Crusheen. Both Whitegate and Kilmaley narrowly avoided relegation last year and they must do battle against one another when the championship commences.
A local derby between Tulla and Clooney/Quin is sure to attract a lot of attention with both sides aiming to get bragging rights over the other. Intermediate Champions Feakle make a return to the top flight against a Newmarket-on-Fergus outfit that have yet to live up to their potential.
In the Intermediate hurling; newly relegated sides St Josephs Doora/Barefield have been paired with Wolfe Tones na Sionna in what is a mouth-watering clash. Semi-finalists Parteen welcome Ruan back to Intermediate life in Round One, while 2014 Junior Champions Inagh/Kilnamona meet 2013 Junior Champions Cratloe.
Killanena take on Corofin in what will be an even affair, while Sixmilebridge’s second string must face Smith O’Briens. Broadford will hope to begin life at Intermediate on a high when they take on Newmarket-on-Fergus. Ogonelloe face off with Clarecastle. After surviving a relegation scare in 2014, Crusheen must overcome Scariff.
Group One of the Intermediate football pits Kildysart, Kilfenora, Clarecastle and Éire Óg against one another. On the other side, two from Liscannor, Kilmihill, Corofin and Naomh Eoin will make the last four.
The hurling championship commences on May 30th while action in the football championship won’t commence until July 25th.
Senior Hurling Championship Round One:
Inagh/Kilnamona vs Crusheen
Kilmaley vs Whitegate
O’Callaghans Mills vs Tubber
Ballyea vs Cratloe
Tulla vs Clooney/Quin
Clonlara vs Clarecastle
Sixmilebridge vs Éire Óg
Newmarket-on-Fergus vs Feakle/
Senior Football Championship Round One:
O’Currys vs St Senans Kilkee
Kilmurry/Ibrickane vs Cratloe
St Breckans vs Lissycasey
Clondegad vs Shannon Gaels
Kilrush Shamrocks vs St Josephs Doora/Barefield
Éire Óg vs Ennistymon
Cooraclare vs Wolfe Tones na Sionna
Doonbeg vs St Josephs Miltown.
Intermediate Hurling Championship Round One:
Ogonelloe vs Clarecastle
Parteen vs Ruan
St Josephs Doora/Barefield vs Wolfe Tones na Sionna
Inagh/Kilnamona vs Cratloe
Killanena vs Corofin
Sixmilebridge vs Smith O’Briens
Scariff vs Crusheen
Broadford vs Newmarket-on-Fergus.
Intermediate Football Championship: