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Banner Ladies 2 - 11 Miltown 1 - 3

Match Report 2008 Clare Ladies Football Minor A Final

Date: Sunday November 9th
Venue: Coolmeen
Referee: Michael Fitzgerald (Clondegad)

Banner Ladies 2 – 11 Miltown 1 – 3

Milotwn St. Joseph’s have dominated this grade in Clare ladies football over the past number of years and were going for a remarkable four in a row on Sunday last. The Banner Ladies of Ennis were seeking to win back a title they last held in 2004 and to hopefully eventually overcome a team that had proven their bogey in their recent meetings at this grade.

Despite the inclement weather conditions over last weekend the pitch in Coolmeen was in great shape for the game and the assembled crowd eagerly awaited the contest.
The first half was a very exciting and evenly contested affair as both sides played free flowing attacking football with no quarter asked or given by either side. The sensible refereeing by Michael Fitzgerald added greatly to the match and there were very few stoppages in play which greatly added to the entertainment.

Scores were hard to come by in a frantic opening quarter as both teams tried to exert a dominance on the game. The Ennis side eventually broke the deadlock with a Megan Haugh point from play after six minutes but Sinéad Sexton had Miltown on level terms two minutes later with a pointed free. Katie Cahill, who was superb all through for the banner then kicked her team in front, and two points on the quarter hour from Niamh O’Dea and Rebecca Culligan further extended the town side’s lead. Catríona O’Neill for Miltown and Haugh for the banner then swapped points to leave the score 0-5 to 0-2 after twenty minutes.

The game was still evenly balanced as the Banner Ladies were by no means dominant and several Miltown players were giving great displays including Katie Curtin at centre back and Sinéad Griffin in the centre. The banner ladies had a resolute defence however where Niamh Martin and Lorna Higgins were particularly outstanding as was goalkeeper Niamh Walsh. Niamh O’Dea extended the Banner Ladies’ lead two minutes from the interval and a minute later came the game’s decisive score when Megan Haugh rounded her marker following a great through ball to score an all important goal. Coming as it did just on the stroke of half time Haugh’s goal was a telling point in the game as it now gave her side a significant 1-6 to 0-2 interval advantage. This seven point lead really flattered the Ennis team and left Miltown with a mountain to climb considering that they had the benefit of the elements in the opening half.

Buoyed on by their late first half goal the eventual winners continued to carry the game to the reigning champions following the break and had three points on the scoreboard from O’Dea and Haugh (2) before Miltown opened their second half account with a Sinéad Sexton point on forty minutes. Niamh O’Dea then killed the game as a contest with a blistering goal from all of twenty metres on the left wing. The excellent Siobhán Talty in the Miltown goal could do nothing to prevent this score but credit U-16 county goalie Talty for some great saves during the course of the game. Megan haugh added another Banner point on forty five minutes before catríona O’Neill threw Miltown a faint lifeline with an excellent goal two minutes later. As with O’Dea’s goal there was little keeper Niamh Walsh could do about O’Neills effort as her great shot cannoned off the underside of the crossbar en route to goal. Miltown tried for all their worth to narrow the gap further but the Banner defence was not for giving anything away and their fullback line of Laurie Ryan, marian Conway and Aoife Martin stood firm during this period. Niamh Cavanagh and Katie Cahill were also outstanding throughout the game and the games last score came from fourteen year old Rebecca Culligan as she pointed an excellent free from an acute angle.

Miltown’s quest for a fourth title in a row was thus over but in fairness they fought to the end and they will know that had they been more economical up front they could have been a whole lot closer at the finish. As it was they had excellent displays from Sinéad Griffin, Katie Curtin, Catríona O’Neill and Siobhán Talty.

For the winners Katie Cahill, Niamh Martin, Lorna Higgins, Megan Haugh, Niamh Cavanagh and Aoife Martin stood out and Katie Cahill was without doubt the player of the match such was her controlling influence around the centre.

Following the game county board officer Davy Browne presented the winning trophy to the banner ladies captain Jackie Woods. This win was the culmination of a great year for the Ennis side which saw the club win Clare A Championship titles at U12, U16 and Minor grades. The club also won the county U14 Féile title and of course landed the league & championship double at senior level (both for the first time in their history). There should be plenty therefore to celebrate at their 2008 Club Victory Banquet which this year will take place on Saturday, December 6th at the West County Hotel.

Banner Ladies: Megan Haugh 1-5, Niamh O’Dea 1-3, Rebecca Culligan 0-2, Katie Cahill 0-1.

Miltown: Catríona O’Neill 1-1, Sinéad Sexton 0-2.

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