King James’ comeback

FOUR-TIME AIl Star, two-time FANUC ERE Neem Buebe oom NeleMssbuconmDEETS Munster championship winner Jamesie O’Connor has made a surprise return to the St Joseph’s senior hurling team five years af- ter he played his last champion- ship game with the club.

O’Connor, a championship win- ner with St Joseph’s in 1998, °99 and 2001 returned to training last week. His last competitive out- ing for the club at championship level was the 2004 county final against Kilmaley, a year after he took his final bow at inter-county level in the All-Ireland quarter- final replay against Kilkenny in SW sitbe los

O’Connor marked his club re- turn by making a cameo appear- ance in a challenge game against Ballybrown at the weekend.


Hickey to line out for Galway Utd

CLARE man Stephen Hickey took his first steps towards a potential League of Ireland career with Gal- way United at the weekend.

The Clarecastle native has signed on with the club’s reserve team, Gal- way United A, who ply their trade in the Newstalk A Championship, the third tier of the League of Ireland.

If Hickey (pictured below) im- presses in the A team’s four remain- ing league games, he may get an op- portunity with the club’s first team.

Hickey made his United debut on Saturday, coming on as a half time substitute in the 3-1 defeat to Salthill DAVei wae

The result leaves Galway marooned at the bottom of the table on four points, nine points adrift of second from bottom Dundalk A.

If Hickey does make the jump to Galway’s first team he will become the second Clare man currently on United’s books after goalkeeper Barry Ryan.

Long regarded as one of the best soccer talents in the county, Hickey was in scintillating form last season, scoring 20 league goals to help Rock Rovers claim the Division One title.

He’s also currently part of the Eire Og team looking to qualify for the quarter-finals stage of senior football oA aF-Naatopcoyatsseul oy


Dominant display gives Liscannor title

AT the end of this well contested la- dies intermediate football final it was Anna O’Connor with cup in hand and the girls in the maroon and white of Liscannor who were left celebrating.

Some of the spectators at the end of the game may have been forgiven for not recognising any of the 14 other Liscannor players as the programme provided certainly did not act as an aid.

In fact the victorious captain was the only Liscannor player who lined out as selected with most of the other girls on her team in different posi- tions and with different numbers on their backs.

Maybe it was just an extreme ad- ministrative error or else a deliber- ate ploy on the part of the Liscannor management. Whatever the reason it did not affect the Liscannor players who were in control for most of the game.

After five minutes they raced into a four-point lead which was further increased by a Roisin Rouine goal on the eighth minute. There was a quarter of an hour gone on the clock when the girls from Shannon Gaels finally found their scoring boots when corner-forward Mairead Ma- digan scored a cracking goal from a 21-metre free.

The Gaels now looked like they were ready to mount their come- back but this immediate threat was neutralised five minutes later when Liscannor, through centre-forward Olivia Lucas, responded with an- other goal.

Shannon Gaels didn’t lie down as Rachel Ryan stepped up with another goal. Aine Burke’s point in injury- time left the north Clare girls leading 2-6 to 2-1 after a first-half of many twists and turns.

The Gaels needed a good start to the second-half and that is exactly what they got. In the first minute Mairead Madigan scored her second goal of

the game and this was followed up fives minute later with Rachel Ryan‘s second of the game.

Two Liscannor points in the middle

of this goal spree left only two points between the sides. Liscannor had most of the possession and scoring chances but they were letting their

control of the game slip.

The real turning point of this game came on ten minutes when the Gaels were awarded a penalty. This was their big chance to grab the lead but Sarah Bohannon’s effort was saved and the spirit of the Liscannor girls lifted once more.

The Gaels did not score for the rest of the duration of the game while points from Aine Burke, Rebecca O’Regan and Olivia Lucas in the closing moments sealed the victory for Liscannor and ensured their pro- gression into the senior grade for 2010.


Mills fight until the end

WHAT a week it has been for O’Callaghan’s Mills. Seven days earlier, they ambushed county cham- pions Clonlara in the senior hurling championship to keep their qualifica- tion hopes alive and they needed all of that fighting spirit here as well to hold off a stubborn Kilmurry Ibrick- ane outfit.

Niall Donovan, Jonathan Lyons, Gerry Cooney, Declan Donovan, Patrick Donnellan, John Cooney, Conor Cooney, Brian Donnellan and Fergus Donovan were all part of that hurling triumph a week previous but in terms of influence and more sig- nificantly scores, it was Brian Don- nellan who stood out from the pack again to inspire the Mills latest vic- rays

In contrast, a luckless Kilmurry Ibrickane had no such leadership and while they have run all their group opponents close, the fact that they have no points on the board doesn’t reflect kindly on their efforts. They deserved better from those three games but not enough firepower and a failure to turn their possession into scores combined to twart them again ie) Ken

Instead, with the game in the bal- ance at 1-6 to 1-6 entering the final minutes, the Mills superior fitness bore fruit and it allowed them to sneak home with late points through Brian Donnellan and James Murphy to earn at least a play-off for their side, depending on the final group game between Cratloe and St Bre- ckan’s.

In saying that, for long periods of

that second-half, it seemed as if the strong breeze that blew towards En- nis was of little benefit to the Mills who found it difficult to pepper the posts. In fact, both sides played better against the conditions, with the Mills taking the game to Kilmurry I[brick- ane’s second string early on. Brian Donnellan picked off 1-1 as early as the eighth minute while Kilmurry Ibrickane misfired at the other end. They did finally settle though, kick- ing four of the next five points, two from Patrick Hogan to get to within deComecubevnecleneee

And what cemented their comeback was a flowing passing move in the 24th minute between Colm Donnel- lan and Paul O’Dwyer that attracted the defence and it allowed him to pop the ball inside to the unmarked Aid- an Moloney to billow the left corner of the net.

Again, however, the west Clare side switched off, giving the Mills re- newed hope and by the break, they were level after two Brian Donnellan frees left the half-time score 1-4 to eae

It should have spurred the east Clare side on for a rousing second period with the wind at their backs but they were surprisingly flat on the restart and it was Kilmurry Ibrick- ane who took up the mantle to take a two point lead once more after Paul O’Dwyer and Aidan Moloney pointed frees. It had to take two of their imports, Paul Lynch and substi- tute Padraig Hickey to get the Mills back on level terms by the turn of the final quarter and set the game up for a tense grandstand finish.

Conor Cooney rattled the post; at

the other end, Paul O’Dwyer should have goaled but found goalkeeper Emmet O’Brien in defiant mood to produce an outstanding point blank block and as the game petered out with a scoreless ten minute period, it seemed neither side wanted to win 1

Then with only three minutes re- maining, Brian Donnellan converted a free and only two minutes later, James Murphy went on the overlap to push the Mills two clear and al- though Kilmurry huffed and puffed in search of a goal, their efforts ulti- mately proved fruitless.


Corofin join Kildysart in semi-final

OH to be in the Corofin dressing room at half-time!

Let’s just say that Seamus Clancy would have had plenty of ammuni- tion to fire a few volleys or more to- wards his players.

They’d just had the advantage of a strong breeze in the first half but 11 lamentable wides had contributed to them kicking away what should have been a very healthy half-time lead.

Instead, Corofin had to contend themselves with a slender I-1 to O-3 advantage after a very forgettable 30 minutes of football.

And, even accounting for all this profligacy Corofin were grateful to be ahead – a Colm Clancy goal which opened their account in the IIth minute and a point from distance by Brendan Keane was all they had to show for 30 minutes.

It scarcely seemed enough against a Kildysart team that motored well enough into the wind. Gerry Kelly followed up where he left off against Clondegad when opening the scoring after eight minutes with a point from play – indeed Kelly was Kildysart’s only scorer in the half.

He chipped over a free in the 14th minute in response to Clancy’s goal, while a good point from play in the 23rd was Kildysart’s positive re- sponse to Brendan Keane’s 16th minute point for Corofin.

However, that’s were all the posi- tivity ended from Kildysart’s point of view, and presumably it’s where Seamus Clancy came into his own in the dressing room when lashing out a few home truths about his side’s first half performance.

They were obviously listening in- tently because they pummelled a dreadful Kildysart side into the sub- mission from the opening seconds of the second-half.

It’s true that the wind seemed to ease up considerably, but still the va-

garies of the weather couldn’t alone count for Corofin’s rejuvenation and Kildysart’s capitulation.

Corofin stormed forward from the throw-in. Twice they could have go- aled in the opening five minutes, but instead had to content themselves with points from a Damian Ryan free and an effort from play by John Keane, whose influence on proceed-

ings grew as the game progressed. The pattern of the early stages con- tinued almost uninterrupted for the rest of the game – Corofin were dom- inating all over the field, from the brilliant Eamonn Malone at full-back through to John Keane and Colm Clancy in the full-forward line. Clancy set up Damian Ryan for an- other point in the 43rd minute to put

Corofin 1-4 to 0-3 clear as Kildysart struggled to get the ball out of their own half.

Further Corofin points from John Keane and Ryan’s third of the hour put them 1-6 to 0-3 ahead entering the last ten minutes and killed off any hope of a Kildysart comeback.

The will wasn’t there among the Kildysart players everywhere – they

were already through to the semi- final stages thanks to earlier wins over Michael Cusack’s and Clonde- gad. This game clearly didn’t mean eel Uhes om Kem satsseeF

It meant everything to Corofin though as they at last found some of the winning form that swept them to this title three years ago.

Kildysart, for all their second half failures, did at least manage to reg- ister a couple of points near the end from Cian Cleary and Christy Clancy, but the fact remains that they’re now going into the semi-final stages on the back of a terrible display.

Corofin, meanwhile, are on the up after a 30 minutes in which they answered all the questions posed by their awful first 30 minutes.

It all meant that Clondegad’s 2-15 to 1-8 win over Michael Cusack’s was academic – they were out of con- tention for 2009.


Confusion over O’Grady family ties

AN ENNIS woman is calling on Clare County Council to get to the bottom of the true lineage of Mu- hammad Ali before the great man arrives in Clare next week.

Mary O’Grady, whose father Christopher O’Grady met the boxer in Shannon Airport in 1960, claims

that she is the true local relation of Ali and deserves to meet him when he is given the freedom of Ennis next Shiloh

“Christopher O’Grady was born in 1912 and all of his family came from the Turnpike area of town. His father and his grandfather, all of his rela- tions came from that area, they were the first O’Grady’s in the town of En-

nis,’ she said.

“I think that it is a total mockery that we can proceed with this when a cloud hangs over the thing. I am liv- ing in the town of Ennis for the last 64 years and my father and my uncle were the only two O’Grady’s as far as I have ever seen.”

Amazingly, Christopher O’Grady, who is now deceased but used to

work in Shannon Airport, actually met Muhammad Ali when he was on the way back from the Olympics in 1960. This is long before the connec- tions between Muhammad Ali and the O’Grady’s of Ennis were discov- elen

‘He always loved Muhammad Ali. When he saw him, he said that he reminded him of his brother John. Except that he was black he said that he looked just like one of the family,” she continued.

‘He has a great big dimple on his chin as well, which 1s just like every- one else has in our family. Wouldn’t it be an awful hypocrisy if we all get excited over this and a mistake 1s ine T-\e lone

Although Christopher O’Grady passed away in 1999, he had learned of his possible connection to Ali be- fore his death.

‘He used to laugh about it and won- der at how strange it was that he had met him all those years before,” con- tinued Mary.

“I don’t want to blow anything out of proportion here but all I am saying is what I know. Only one person will be allowed to shake his hand and say ‘welcome to Ennis, I’m your relation and we are very proud of you’ – I just want to make sure that it is the right person.

‘He [Christopher O’Grady] always loved Muhammad Ali. I remember all the stories he used to tell and even the picture of him which we hung up around the place.”


Taoiseach likely to lie low for Ali

Confusion over O’Grady family ties


Gort on show for twin festivals

THIS weekend twin festivals will showcase all the best things about the town of Gort. From Thursday to Sunday the Ri-Ra Festival and Ri-Vibe Youth Festival will run side by side – offering a host of events for young and old.

The festivals have been organised by an off-shoot of the local Cham- ber of Commerce who were looking for a way of showing off all the good things about the town.

“T first came into the Chamber of Commerce 18 years ago and the is- sues then were water and sewage

and the same issues are being kicked around today,’ said Austin McIner- ney of the Gort Chamber of Com- merce and Five Star Events.

‘We had a meeting to find out what we could do ourselves to rectify this situation and promote what is best about Gort and the word that kept coming up again and again was fes- ME

‘Two or three days later the local curate, Fr Frankie Lee mentioned to me that he had an idea for a Youth Festival. And that is where the Ri- Vibe came from.”

The festival, which will be pre- sided over by the newly elected King

of Gort, King Guaire Piggott, will bring together events hosted by lo- cal group including the Wild Swan Theatre Company, Coole Park and a number of sports organisations.

The Ri-Vibe festival will also see the best of local musical talent taking to the stage and the Cannon Quinn Park, all leading up to a performance by The Blizzards on Sunday evening. The highlight of the festival will be The Peasants’ Ball, which will take place in the Gort Community Centre on Sunday night.

“The Peasants’ Ball should be a great occasion. There will be enter- tainment and some good food and

we are encouraging everyone to dress down – or even to dress as peas- ants. King Guaire will also be there to treat his people on the evening.

“The Ri-Vibe Festival will take on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday and except for Sunday night, when the Blizzards are playing, will all be eusonee

The festival will also include a performance from Andy Irvine, the Irish Ballroom Dancing Champion- ship, a tag rugby blitz and a festival discount scheme in the local shops. To book tickets go to Coole Proper- ties or from Minihans SuperValu in Gort or email


Pedal power brings in much needed cash

FROM the early hours of the morn- ing to late at night you will happen upon cyclists on the road in the west Clare parish of Coorclare/Cree dur- ing the month of August.

The reason for the upsurge in cy- cling at this time of year is by now accepted as preparation for the An- nual Michael Garry Memorial Cy- ATR

The fundraising event in memory of the late postman is now an impor- tant part of the local calendar in Co-

oraclare, with all of the parish get- ting behind the event. It also receives support from cyclists from all over the country.

In its sixth year the 35 kilometre cycle has raised €111,100 for local charities. More than 100 people take to their bike every year as part of the fundraiser.

Last year was especially poignant as a group of friends of the late Leav- ing Certificate student Mark Donnel- lan took part in the event in his mem- ory. The west Clare teenager was a keen participant up until his sudden

and untimely death last year.

The cycle donated €5,000 of the €27,200 raised last year to the char- ity – Cardiac Risk in the Young in his memory, and stopped at his grave in Knocknahilla during the cycle.

Other charities to have benefited from the cycle over the last five years include the Clare 250 Cancer Centre in Ruan to the tune of €32,000 and the Munster Branch of Spina Bifida to the same amount.

A further €12,000 has been donat- ed to the West Clare Cancer Support Group based in Kilrush, €15,000

to the Kilkee based Voices for Au- tism, €3,000 to Aware and €3,500 to the Kilkee Marine Rescue. The Clare branch of the ISPCA received €3,000 from the event last year, and €2,500 went to the Clare branch of the Alzheimer Society of Ireland. The cycle will take place on Sat- urday, September 5, at 1.15pm from the church in Cooraclare and will take in 20 townlands in the parish. It will stop briefly at the graveyard in Kilmacduane to remember the late Michael Garry who died of a brain haemorrhage in March 17, 2004.


Brave Clareman witnessed Custer’s Last Stand

, by historian Ian

Kenneally, tells the story of Sergeant

James Flanagan and other Clare men who fought at the battle.

Born in Ennis in April 1839, Flana-

gan emigrated to the United States

and took part in the Californian gold rush while still 1n his teens.

Kenneally writes, “Evidently, he did not make his fortune there and he moved to Ohio sometime in the 1850s. He fought on the Union side during the American Civil War and joined the Seventh Cavalry in 1871. By the time of the battle, he was one of the Seventh’s most experienced soldiers.”

Of Flanagan’s role at the Battle of the Little Bighorn, Kenneally writes, “Tt was around 5pm on the afternoon of June 25, 1876 that Captain Thomas

Weir of the Seventh Cavalry reached the top of a hill by the banks of the Little Bighorn River. Accompany- ing him was his Sergeant, Clareman James Flanagan, and the troops of ‘D’ Company.

“They were riding towards their commander, Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer, who was involved in a heavy fight a few kilo- NSCB REAR hae

He continues, “As they crested the hill, they realised they were too late. Flanagan was the first to see what had happened. Using his field-glass-

es, he could see the final seconds of Custer’s Last Stand and, more omi- nously, a large body of armed men approaching their way.

“He turned to Weir, ‘Captain, I think they are Indians’. Flanagan and his comrades were in danger of being overrun by a thousand armed warriors. ’

Flanagan survived a 24-hour siege and after the battle was recommend- ed for a medal for conspicuous gal- lantry by his superior officers.

However, Kenneally writes that he never received a medal. Kene-

ally writes, “Flanagan was wounded a year later at the Battle of Snake Creek as the Seventh Cavalry fought Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce. He remained in the army until 1881. Like other Irish veterans of the bat- tle, he later settled in North Dakota, working as a bailiff in the town of Mandan. Flanagan died in 1921 and is buried in the Union Cemetery of Mandan.”

Among others, the book also exam- ines the life of John Philip Holland, the Liscannor man who invented the submarine.