2024 TG4 All-Ireland Finals tickets

Clare 4 - 4 Down 1 - 12

Press Release Clare Ladies Football 06/04/2008

Game: Suzuki National League Division 2 Semi-Final
Date: Sunday April 6th
Venue: Pairc Chiaráin Athlone
Referee: Ciaráin Groome (Offaly)

Clare 4 – 4 Down 1 – 12

Clare recorded probably their most significant victory for many a year when they outgunned a shell shocked Down in this thrilling game played in Athlone on Sunday. This win not only ensures a place in the Suzuki league final but also gains promotion for Clare to Division 1 of the Suzuki league for the 2009 league. Clare are thus back at the top table of ladies football and great credit is due to both the team and their management for this.

Overall Clare were somewhat fortunate to emerge victorious on Sunday but fair play to them they took their chances when opportunities arose and clinically punished the Down defence with four lethal goals. The old adage that goals win matches never rang so true as it did in Athlone on Sunday and Clare’s four green flags all came at vital times to shatter the ambitions of their northern rivals.

A howling gale blew straight down the Athlone pitch and Down had the benefit of the elements in the first half. The Ulster team opened the game at a blistering pace and had Clare at sixes and sevens for the opening twenty minutes or so. Within a minute Down registered their first point from the boot of their former All Star and captain Michaela Downey. Indeed less than a minute later Clare were fortunate that the referee disallowed a Down goal for an apparent square infringement. This was a very marginal decision but Clare accepted it with great relief. Down were dominating all aspects of play at this stage and Clare had great difficulty clearing out of defence such was the strength of the wind and the sustained aggressive nature of Downs play through the middle. By the tenth minute Down had clocked up five more points and when the aforementioned Downey latched onto a loose ball in the twelfth minute to toe poke to the net Clare looked in dire trouble and in danger of being completely overwhelmed. Further Down points came on fourteen and twenty minutes to leave the score 1 – 8 to 0 – 0 at this stage. Clare were reeling under pressure.

Playing a captain’s role Louise Henchy eventually lifted the siege on twenty three minutes with a magnificent point from play. Suddenly the whole complexion of the game changed. Clare seemed energised by Henchy’s inspirational point and a minute later put together a sublime movement that ended with Kilmihil star Eimear Considine gaining possession and rifling a low shot to the corner of the Down net. Considine’s score visibly unsettled Down and they now struggled from here to the interval. Clare took full advantage of this uncertainty to tack on two further points from the dynamic Áine Kelly and another from Henchy right on the half time whistle. From an impossible situation a few minutes earlier Clare were now going in at the break just five points adrift on a 1 – 3 to 1 – 8 score line. With wind advantage to come they knew they were right back in the game.

Substitutes Majella Griffin and Fiona Lafferty were introduced just as half time approached and this was to have a major bearing on the second half. Clare needed a good start to the half but not even manager Deirdre Murphy or her back up team could have envisaged in their wildest dreams how the opening minute would pan out. Right from the throw in Majella Griffin fielded a high through ball, rounded her marker and dispatched an unstoppable shot to the Down net. From the ensuing kick out Griffin again gained possession and floated over a wonderful point. Clare had pegged back the Down lead to just one point in under a minutes play. Down regrouped however and had a period of sustained pressure and the Clare goals lived a charmed life on a number of occasions. Down hit both the post and the crossbar during this period but when your luck is out it’s really out and so it was for the Ulster girls. Micheala Downey did add a point on thirty eight minutes to give them a two point lead but two minutes later Áine Kelly gave the most exquisite of flick on’s from a Marie Kelly lob to send Majella Griffin in on goal again. One on one with the Down keeper there was only going to be one winner and the West Clare Gael’s superstar raised her second green flag of the day. Incredibly Clare were now a point to the good.

Down refused to buckle however and offered dogged resistance which was eventually rewarded through an equalising point from wing back Sinéad Fegan in the forty seventh minute. Clare were not done yet however and five minutes later Eimear Considine out fielded her marker and drove through on goal to place an excellent low ball beneath the despairing dive of the Down goalkeeper Elaine McCourt. Clare were now 4 – 4 to 1 -10 to the good with little over seven minutes remaining. Shortly after Clare could have wrapped things up but Marie Kelly had a thundering shot excellently saved by the Down keeper. In desperation Down upped the tempo again but the Clare defence was resolute as Down went in search of a goal. Two points from their excellent captain Michaela Downey narrowed the gap to a single point as the game entered injury time and here again good fortune favoured Clare as referee Ciaráin Groome added just a single minute of added time and in a welter of excitement blew full time to the delight of all in Clare but to the devastation of the Down team and management.

This was a tremendous result for the game of ladies football in Clare and although they did ride their luck in the game Clare were deserving winners in the end if only for the strength of character they showed in not succumbing to Down in the first half – when many another team would have thrown in the towel. Clare’s prize for this victory is a Suzuki league final spot against Donegal who unexpectedly defeated Waterford, also by a single point, in the other semi-final. Donegal drew with Down in their league qualifier game so Clare can again expect a major battle when these two teams meet in four weeks time or so.

But today is all about the great display of skill, determination and bravery by this great panel of girls who donned the saffron and gold of the Banner county. They really were a credit to their colours and all of Clare should be immensely proud of their efforts.

Footnote: A minute’s silence was observed before throw in memory of Tom Malone and Maureen Kenny who sadly passed away this last week. Tom malone was president of Clare ladies football and a founder member of the Clare ladies Board and Maureen Kenny was a founding member of Kilkee ladies football club (now West Clare Gaels). Ar dheis Dé go raibh said.

Clare: Denise Walsh, Carmel Considine, Lorraine Kelly, Aifric O’Neill, Michelle Delaney, Sinéad Kelly, Niamh Coyne, Sandra Malone, Louise Henchy (0-2), Úna Downes, Marie Kelly, Marie Considine, Eimear Considine (2-0), Niamh Keane, Áine Kelly (0-1).
Subs Used: Majella Griffin (2-1), Fiona Lafferty, Sinéad Eustace, Jane Kennedy

Down: Elaine McCourt, Eliza Downey, Karen Gribben, Niamh Lennon, Emma Mulhern, Aoibheann Downey, Sinéad Fegan (0-2), Sinéad Murphy, Kyla Trainor (0-1), Gráinne McClean (0-1), Lisa Morgan (0-1), Órla Fegan, Sonya McGaw (0-2), Michaela Downey (1-5), Aileen Pyers.

Dr. Paul McKenna,
PRO Clare Ladies Football


Sign up to our email newsletter


Partners & Supporters





See all LGFAClubs