Banner Ladies 4 - 15 Cooraclare 1 - 9

Match Report Clare Senior League Semi-Final

Date: Sunday, May 11th
Venue: Labasheeda
Time: 4.00pm
Referee: Michael Fitzgerald (Clondegad)

Banner Ladies 4 – 15 Cooraclare 1 – 9

The Banner Ladies club announced their intent for the 2008 season with a comprehensive win over Cooraclare in this unusually one sided encounter between the two great rivals in Labasheeda on Sunday. The Sky Blues have dominated all significant encounters between these clubs in recent years so this victory for the town team and the way it was achieved was a surprise even for the Banner Ladies management and supporters.

Right from the throw in the town girls were on top with Clare star Louise Henchy completely dominating things around the middle. Henchy was to end up the day's top scorer on a tally of 2 – 4 with her first goal coming as early as the fourth minute after Sonia Maher had opened the scoring for the Banner Ladies with a point a minute earlier. Cooraclare then opened their account with an Ann Marie Callinan point before Henchy struck for her second goal on seven minutes. Cooraclare already looked in trouble but bounced right back into contention with a well worked goal from Callinan after ten minutes. That was as good as it got for Cooraclare as the Banner Ladies, playing with wind advantage, powered on the pressure and were rewarded with a succession of excellent points from play. By the twenty fifth minute they had built up a 2 – 7 to 1 – 2 with Maher, Henchy, Niamh O'Dea and Louise Woods all contributing scores. Cooraclare's single reply came from Niamh Chambers on twenty four minutes. Before the interval the Banner Ladies had tacked on two further points from O'Dea and Henchy to leave the half time score Banner Ladies 2 – 9, Cooraclare 1 – 2.

With wind advantage Cooraclare needed a good start to the second half but again it was the Banner Ladies who got the early tonic of an Irene Hehir goal after thirty four minutes following a Louise Henchy pointed free a minute earlier. Cooracklare now had a mountain to climb and when Henchy and Hehir added further points for the town side the game was as good as over. Cooraclare did snipe the odd few points but their scoring rate was much too low to worry the ladies in Saffron and Blue and when Irene Hehir scored her second goal on forty seven minutes referee Michael Fitzgerald could well have called a halt to proceedings as their was clear daylight between the teams. The Banner Ladies continued to press on however and Jackie Woods, Niamh Keane and Aoife Cavanagh all got their names on the scoreboard. Patricia Callinan and Rachel Garry did likewise for Cooraclare but it was just going through the motions for both teams at this stage as the clocked ticked towards time. Michael Fitzgerald's full time whistle was greeted with a sigh of relief all round.

The Banner Ladies were deserving winners on the day and now look forward to a league final meeting against West Clare Gaels on Saturday next in Quilty with a 6.30pm throw in. Cooraclare were unusually lethargic on the day and were short the services of some established players such as Aifric O'Neill, Monica Lillis and Orla Kelly. Come the championship they will be a different side and one should not read too much into their lacklustre performance on Sunday. The Banner Ladies will be well pleased with their performance however and next Saturday's final with West Clare Gaels should be a real treat as both sides play fast open football.

Best on the day for the Banner Ladies were corner backs Niamh Cavanagh and Laurie Ryan, centre back Michelle Delaney, midfielders Louise Henchy and Sarah Hoey and forwards Niamh O'Dea, Sonia Maher and Niamh Keane. For Cooraclare Sally Glynn, Ann Marie Callinan and Rachel Garry stood out but in reality many of their players played well below the form they are capable of producing.

Banner: Louise Henchy 2-4, Irene Hehir 2-1, Sonia Maher 0-3, Niamh O'Dea 0-3, Louise Woods 0-1, Jackie Woods 0-1, Niamh Keane 0-1, Aoife Cavanagh 0-1.
Cooraclare: Ann Marie Callinan 1-4, Patricia Callinan 0-2, Niamh Chambers 0-2, Rachel Garry 0-1.

Dr. Paul McKenna,
PRO Clare Ladies Football

086 6036385

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