Clare 2 - 12 Tipperary 1 - 10

Clare 2 – 12 Tipperary 1 – 10

All Ireland Intermediate Championship

Date: Saturday July 14th
Venue: Bansha, Co. Tipperary
Referee: Joe Murray, Dublin

Clare intermediate ladies got their championship campaign back on track on Saturday with a deserved five point win over a gritty Tipperary side in sunny Bansha on Saturday evening. Coming just a week after their drubbing by Roscommon this indeed was a welcome result for the team and its management.

A reshuffled Clare side saw Sinéad Kelly switch to full back and Lorraine Kelly move to the corner. Tammy Hehir was started at centre of defence with Jane Kennedy moving to partner her banner clubmate Louise Henchy at mid-field. Sarah Hoey was introduced at wing back with Sinéad Eustace and Sandra Malone relegated to the subs bench following last week's game.

Whether it was the changes that had an effect but Clare were a different side from a week earlier. All through this game there was much increased intensity and cohesion to their play and they gave Tipperary very little time to settle into any rhythm. While Tipperary did have the opening score from an Edel Hanley free on three minutes Clare soon took control and were rewarded with two Majella Griffin points and another from dynamic corner forward Áine Kelly. Denise Walsh was called into action on the quarter hour when she brought off a wonderful save from Hanley and a brief sustained period of Tipperary pressure saw the home side hit the posts twice in quick succession with no score resulting. Clare lifted the siege and following a poor Tipperary clearance Majella Griffin found Áine Kelly with a pinpoint pass and Kelly raced through the Tipp defence to lay off to Marie Kelly who planted the ball in the back of the net for Clare's first goal. Both teams then swapped two points each to leave the score at the interval 1 – 5 to 0 – 3 in Clare's favour. Majella griffin got Clare's scores with Hanley getting Tipperary's brace.

Clare introduced Eimear Considine for the injured Áine Kelly at the interval and in fairness to the Kilmihil star she was to play a blinder in the second half winning great possession and was pivotal in many of the banner counties second half scores including the match winning goal on fifty three minutes. An Edel Hanley point again opened the second half scoring but this was quickly cancelled by a Majella Griffin point for Clare. Tipperary then had two unanswered points to leave just a goal between the sides ten minutes in. Clare had the next three scores however with two pointed frees from Griffin and an excellent Úna Downes point from play to give the banner side a 1-9 to 0-6 advantage midway through the half. Marie Kelly for Clare and Mairéad Morrissey for Tipp then swapped points before Griffin and Niamh Keane put Clare further ahead. Hanley pulled a couple back for Tipperary but then came Eimear Considine's wonderful goal. Gaining possession about forty metres out on the right wing Considine completely outpaced the Tipperary defence and slotted home a beautiful goal despite the best efforts of a despairing Hickey in the Tipp goal.

With a lead of 2-12 to 0-9 Clare adopted a defensive policy and pulled off wing forward Úna Downes and corner forward Niamh Keane to be replaced by defenders Sinéad Eustace and Sandra Malone. This move unsettled Clare and prompted Tipperary to mount an all out attack for the final eight minutes or so of the match. The Clare goals lived a charmed life during these frantic final minutes and indeed the quick thinking Hanley netted for the Premier county side three minutes from the end of normal time and had another near effort which flew just over the crossbar a few minutes later. Another Tipp goal at this stage would have put Clare under severe pressure and lucky for them it did not materialise. Still the tactic of changing the team and the method of play for the final ten minutes of the game should be looked at again by management as it resulted in the side being under a degree of pressure which their general performance in the game did not deserve.

Clare had sterling displays from Grace Lynch and Tammy Hehir in defence, Jane Kennedy at midfield and Niamh Keane, Eimear Considine, Una Downes and Áine Kelly up front. Marie Kelly also took her goal chance well and Majella Griffin was as dependable as ever with the placed balls. Clare now face Cavan in two weeks time in the third round of the championship and with home advantage will be anxious to improve even further and boost their chances of a place in the knockout stages.

Clare: Denise Walsh, Lorraine Kelly, Sinéad Kelly, Michelle Delaney, Grace Lynch, Tammy Hehir, Sarah Hoey, Jane Kennedy, Louise Henchy (capt), Úna Downes (0-1), Marie Kelly (1-1), Marie Considine, Áine Kelly (0-1) Majella Griffin (0-8), Niamh Keane (0-1).
Subs: Eimear Considine (1-0), Sinéad Eustace, Sandra Malone, Aifric O'Neill.

Tipperary: Patricia Hickey, Anne O'Dwyer, Maeve Corcoran, Barbra Ryan, Aoife O'Dwyer, Angie McDermott, Claire Carroll, Sheelagh Carew, Teresa McManus, Siobhán Costello, Claire Lambert (0-1), Nancy Ferris, Jennifer Grant, Mairéad Morrissey (0-1), Edel Hanley (1-7).
Sub: Gillian O'Brien (0-1).

Dr. Paul McKenna, PRO Clare Ladies Football

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