Gunners’ clash with Clarecastle returns to Walsh Park

THE Munster club SHC semi-final between Ballygunner and Clarecastle will be played at Walsh Park on Sunday.

The game had been taken out of the city venue last week and transferred to Dungarvan’s Fraher Field because of severe flooding problems.

However, Waterford County Board and Munster Council officials have been forced to return to their first choice venue following the SFC draw between Stradbally and the Nire.

With the winners set to play Nemo Rangers in the Munster semi-final on Sunday week, the replay goes ahead this weekend at Fraher Field.

“As of now Walsh Park’s playing surface is in first class condition,” ’’, County secretary Seamas Grant said. “With a good weather forecast for the remainder of the week, we’re confident that the venue will be in tip-top shape to host the semi-final on Sunday.’’

On that basis and following discussion with senior Munster Council officers, the green light was given to Walsh Park, with the football replayon Saturday at Fraher Field.

“In all the circumstances it’s the most satisfactory conclusion to our negotiations,’’ Grant said. He added that Clarecastle can have a run out at Walsh Park during the week if they wish.

In the immediate aftermath of their first round victory over Garryspillane, Ballygunner indicated that they would be seeking to play the Clarecastle semi-final at their own club grounds.

That became a non-runner because of the absence of covered spectator accommodation at the venue.

Meanwhile both Stradbally and the Nire are gearing up for their football final replay on Saturday after their tense drawn game last Sunday.

Incredibly it was the third drawn final between the rivals in the last four years, with Stradbally going on to win both replays in 2002 and 2004.

“We’re just glad to have got a second chance,’’ Stradbally manager Sean Ahearne said yesterday.

“I know it was the Nire who had to come from behind but I believe they were worth a draw and overall the result was a very fair one. At least our dream of winning a fifth title in a row is still alive.’’

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