Banner Ladies 0 - 6 Athea (Limerick) 2 - 10

Match Report Vhi Healthcare Munster Club Intermediate Semi-Final

Date: Saturday October 18th
Venue: Glanworth, Co. Cork.
Referee: Seán Joy (Kerry)

Banner Ladies 0 – 6 Athea (Limerick) 2 – 10

The boardroom trials and tribulations that the Banner Ladies club had to endure to get re-instated into the Munster championship were evident in their below-par display in this game on Saturday. The fixture was only confirmed late on Wednesday night (after a third appeal against the Munster Council) and the Ennis side were given no leeway but to turn up on Saturday and play against the Limerick champions Athea. That Kilmaley were playing in the Clare camogie final on the same day also took from the Banner as goalkeeper Emma O’Driscoll of Pinegrove was Kilmaley’s captain and star wing forward Katie Cahill was also committed to the camogie final.

Athea were the better prepared team for the day and had the necessary focus which the Ennis side lacked and they launched wave after wave of attacks on the Banner goal straight from the throw in. By the twelfth minute they had raced into a 1-3 to no score lead and were looking comfortable – their goal coming from full forward Liz Nash in the twelfth minute. The Banner Ladies dug in however and carried the game to their Limerick opponents for the rest of the half. Louise Henchy opened their account with a fine point on fifteen minutes and a minute later Niamh O’Dea was on target to narrow the gap even further. Henchy was again on target after twenty minutes and a minute before half time O’Dea pointed an excellent free to leave the interval score at 1-3 to 0-4 in favour of Athea.

Though in arrears the Banner Ladies knew they were well back in the game and that the momentum had switched in their favour following a poor start. Of significance though was the fact that the Clare side had spurned two gilt edged goal chances in the latter end of the half and had they converted either or both of these chances things could have panned out differently over the hour.

The Ennis side got off to a flyer in the opening moments of the second half and were on level terms within a minute of the restart with two excellent O’Dea points. This was as good as it got however as for some reason they drifted out of the game completely from here on in. Two points for Athea from Louise Higgins and team captain Áine O’Sullivan on thirty four and thirty six minutes seemed to give them renewed energy and the impetus to drive on while some of the Banner Ladies players visibly flagged. Another Athea point on fifty one minutes from Mary Ita Casey put them three ahead and the killer blow was struck two minutes later when Liz Nash got through for her second goal when she was first to react to a superb Marie McMahon save in the Banner Ladies goal, and the Limerick county star made no mistake with the second attempt. Now six points (2-6 to 0-6) to the good the Limerick side were home and dry and coasted from here to the finish adding four more points in the process. At the end they were deserving winners even if the ten point victory margin somewhat flattered them.

The banner ladies were gracious in defeat and had great displays on the day from Louise Woods, Naomi Carroll, Niamh O’Dea, Laurie Ryan, Marie McMahon, Claire Walsh and Louise Henchy. While this was a somewhat disappointing end to the club’s season when eventually reflected upon 2008 was a hugely successful year for this team who remained undefeated in all competitions up until Saturday. In achieving this great record the club secured the Clare Senior League and Championship for the first time and was also successful in the Clare 11-A-Side championship.

Of some consolation to the Banner Ladies on Saturday was the news that their regular goalkeeper and Kilmaley captain, Emma O’Driscoll, had scored her sides winning goal in their 1-7 to 0-7 triumph over Newmarket.

Banner Ladies: Marie Mcmahon, Niamh Martin, Claire Walsh, Laurie Ryan, Louise Woods, Michelle Delaney, Niamh Cavanagh, Louise Henchy, Jane Kennedy, Naomi Carroll, Sonia Maher, Niamh Keane, Irene Hehir, Niamh O’Dea, Aoife Cavanagh.

Subs: Niamh Walsh, Megan Haugh, Jackie Woods, Rebecca Coughlin.

Athea: Anne Cunningham, Deirdre Fitzpatrick, Helena Collins, Catríona Sheehan, Sandra O’Connor, Meadbh Nash, Roisín walsh, Sandre Larkin, Mary Ita Casey, Lizzy Murphy, Shauna McAuliffe, Caroline Murphy, Louise Higgins, Liz Nash, Áine O’Sullivan.
Dr. Paul McKenna,
Club PRO

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