Banner Ladies .v. West Clare Gaels

2008 Clare County Senior Final Preview

Banner Ladies .v. West Clare Gaels

Date: Sunday, October 5th
Venue: Cooraclare
Time: 3.00pm

The only certainty about Sunday’s eagerly anticipated Clare Ladies Senior Football Final is that a new name will be written on the county championship trophy come five o’clock or so. Neither the Banner Ladies nor the West Clare Gaels have previously won senior honours in Clare so this is indeed an historic final.

Both sides enter this clash with excellent pedigrees. Few involved with ladies football in Clare will forget West Clare Gaels’ march through Munster last year en route to an All Ireland Junior club final appearance. Indeed a crowd of nearly three thousand turned up in Doonbeg to witness their All Ireland semi-final victory over the Sligo club champions. Similarly in 2006 the Banner Ladies stunned and delighted the whole of the county when their U-14 side won the prestigious Division 1 title at Féile Peil na nÓg and also went on to secure the All Ireland U-14 Club Sevens championship that same year.

Sunday’s game has an intriguing air about it. Apart from the novel final pairing both teams are brimful of high class players. For supporters of ladies football in the county the chance to see such class players as Majella Griffin, Louise Henchy, Sinéad Kelly, Niamh O’Dea, Marie Kelly and Michelle Delaney in action will mean a bumper attendance at the famed West Clare arena.

The Banner Ladies will be slight favourites entering the game having already beaten their western rivals twice this season. Previous results mean nothing however when it comes to a championship final (as the Clare county team learned to their cost on Sunday last) so everything is to play for on Sunday next.

The Banner Ladies have been inch perfect this year and are unbeaten in all domestic Clare competitions to date in 2008. Such good form will count for nothing however if they fail to achieve victory on Sunday. They have reached the final with solid performances against Miltown, Cooraclare, Crusheen and their final opponents West Clare Gaels. The Ennis side also won the Clare Senior league for the first time this year and also the Clare 12-A-Side championship. Their club sevens side also progressed to the All Ireland Final of the Intermediate Club Sevens Shield Championship last weekend so the townies are a team in form.

West Clare Gaels are also in excellent fettle and their magnificent run to the All Ireland Club Junior Final last year will really stand to them on Sunday in terms of experience gained. Their semi-final victory over the fancied Fergus Rovers was as accomplished as one could ask for. They also had resounding victories over Cooraclare and Miltown on their way to Sunday’s final. Even though they had to give way on two occasions to their final rivals already this season this will not trouble them unduly and they will be confident that they can make it third time lucky in Cooraclare.

The Banner Ladies will have five Clare county panellists on duty on Sunday – Louise Henchy, Michelle Delaney, Jane Kennedy, Niamh Keane and Emma O’Driscoll while West Clare Gaels will have three county players in action – Majella Griffin, Sinéad Kelly and Marie Kelly (hopefully Marie will be able to start following her Croke Park injury). Their shattering Croke Park experience will hopefully be consigned to the past when all these great players take to the pitch in Cooraclare and I expect respective team managers Joe Reidy and James Troy will have worked feverishly on this during the week.

One shadow over what promises to be a great final is the ongoing saga of whether the winners will be allowed participate in the Vhi Munster Intermediate Championship. The Munster Provincial Council has scheduled the Clare representative’s fixture for the day before the county final and as I am writing they are refusing to defer the tie. Thus the Waterford club champions will be given an automatic walkover if the current status quo prevails. Such a scenario would be a huge disappointment to whichever side wins on Sunday as both clubs take great pride in representing their county.

The curtain raiser to Sunday’s senior final will see Coolmeen play Miltown for the Clare Senior B title. This will also be an interesting affair and will feature county stars Grace Lynch, Sinéad Eustace, Fiona Lafferty and Niamh Coyne amongst others. Patrons would be well advised to come early for this game which starts at 1.00pm.
Dr. Paul McKenna,
The Banner Ladies Football Club

For more on Sunday’s game visit our club website @

Banner Ladies Semi-Final Victors Over Crusheen

West Clare Gaels Semi-Final Victors Over Fergus Rovers

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