Banner Ladies 2 - 17 West Clare Gaels 1 - 9

Match Report 2008 Clare Senior League Final

Date: Saturday May 17th
Venue: Páirc Naomh Mhuire Quilty
Referee: Michael Fitzgerald (Ballynacally)

Banner Ladies 2 – 17 West Clare Gaels 1 – 9

The Banner Ladies Club of Ennis came of age on Saturday evening with an emphatic eleven point victory over West Clare Gaels to claim their first ever senior grade trophy in the county. The opening five minutes apart, the town side were simply too good in all departments for their western opponents and the Gaels were surviving on scraps and the accuracy of Majella Griffin from placed balls. That the Banner Ladies conceded no score from play in the opening thirty minutes is testimony to their dominance of a game that did not live up to pre match expectations of a tight thriller.

The Gaels had the better of the opening exchanges as the town side looked jittery and slow to settle. The deadly accurate Majella Griffin had two points on the board, both from frees, in as many minutes and the girls in blue and white looked confident. All changed in the seventh minute however when county star Louise Henchy powered through the middle and unleashed a massive effort from forty metres that seemed destined to register the Banner's first point of the match. Henchy's long range pile-driver dipped at the last minute and the ball nestled neatly in the net much to the shock of goalkeeper Tracy Downes and the large contingent of West Clare Gael's supporters.

Henchy's somewhat fortuitous goal settled the town side and when Sonia Maher added a point from play a minute later there was no looking back for the Ennis team. Majella Griffin did put over another free for the Gaels on thirteen minutes but from there until the interval there was only one team in it. The Banner upped the pace significantly and with Henchy dominating the midfield area and wing back Louise Woods wreaking havoc with inspirational forward runs West Clare Gaels suddenly found themselves under intense pressure. A succession of town points came from Niamh Keane, Louise Henchy (2) and Niamh O'Dea (3) to leave the Banner 1 – 7 to 0 – 3 in front with the interval approaching.

The Gaels were having great difficulty in getting quality ball through to their chief scoring threats of Majella Griffin and Marie Kelly and indeed any ball that did get through was quickly snuffed out by the blanket Banner defence for whom Niamh Cavanagh, Jane Kennedy, Louise Woods and captain Michelle Delaney were magnificent. Midfielder Sarah Hoey was also having a tremendous game and time and again she was back in defence covering off any West Clare threats. Just on the stroke of half-time Majella Griffin added another pointed free to leave the interval score at 1 – 7 to 0 – 4 in favour of the Banner Ladies.

West Clare Gaels needed a good start to the second period if they were to harbour any realistic chance of league honours but it was the town side who started where they had left off in the first half and had great early points from Sonia Maher and Jackie Woods. Megan McGrath did have the Gael's first score from play on thirty four minutes but the following five minutes or so completely belonged to the team in saffron and blue. Playing at breakneck speed the Banner launched a series of free flowing attacks and by the fortieth minute they had raced into a 1 – 13 to 0 – 5 lead with points from Marie McMahon, Niamh Keane, O'Dea and Henchy. McGrath then grabbed another point for the Gaels but the Banner onslaught continued with further points from Keane and Henchy. When Marie McMahon found the net for the Ennis side's second goal on forty six minutes the game was over as a contest. Majella Griffin then swopped two pointed frees with similar scores from Claire Walsh and Sonia Maher of the Banner before Marie Kelly got through on goal in the second minute of injury time to put a more respectable look on the scoreboard. Thus at referee's Michael Fitzgerald's final whistle the score stood at 2 – 17 to 1 – 8 in the Banner's favour.

This senior breakthrough has been long overdue at the Ennis club and the foundations of this success were laid down in their successive All Ireland U-14 Féile victories in 2005 and 2006. With a blend of youth and experience the opportunity presents itself for this team to improve even further in the future now that the monkey of winning a first Clare senior title has been lifted from their backs. Twelve of their starting fifteen are Clare panellists at either senior or minor level so this is a team brimful of talent and experience.

All Banner players from goalkeeper Emma O'Driscoll to corner forward Irene hehir dominated their opponents on the night but the town side had exceptional performances from Niamh cavanagh, Jane Kennedy, Naomi Carroll, Michelle Delaney and Louise Woods in defence. Louise Henchy and Sarah Hoey easily won the midfield battle while up front Niamh Keane, Sonia Maher, Jackie Woods and Niamh O'Dea excelled. Marie McMahon also had an excellent game when introduced as a first half substitute.

For the Gaels it was a difficult evening and while the Kelly sisters Marie and Sinéad, Denise Geaney, Megan McGrath and Lisa Harte all worked hard the team as a whole played second fiddle to their opponents all through. Her free taking apart Majella Griffin was well shackled by the Banner defence and disappointingly by her own high standards was never a threat from open play.

Following the game Clare ladies Football Board chairman presented the league trophy to team captain Michelle Delaney much to the delight of the Banner Ladies team, team management and supporters.

Banner Ladies: Emma O'Driscoll, Jane kennedy, Niamh Martin, Naomi Carroll, Michelle Delaney (Capt), Louise Woods, Sarah Hoey, Louise Henchy (1-4), Niamh Keane (0-3), Sonia Maher (0-3), Jackie Woods (0-1), Irene Hehir, Niamh O'Dea (0-4), Aoife Cavanagh.
Subs: Marie McMahon (1-1), Claire Walsh (0-1), Mary Allen, Niamh Walsh, Laura Brennan

West Clare Gaels: Tracey Downes, Rita Boland, Ciara Harvey, Suzi O'Gorman, Deirdre Troy, Michelle Downes, Niamh Lardner, Denise Geaney (Capt.), Sinéad Kelly, Majella Griffin (0-6 – all frees), Lisa Harte, Maria Kelly (1-0), Lauren McMahon, Megan McGrath (0-2), Grace Walsh.

Dr. Paul McKenna, Sec/PRO banner Ladies Football Club

Sign up to our email newsletter


Partners & Supporters





See all LGFAClubs