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Clare 4 - 6 Tipperary 2 - 9

Munster B Minor Championship Final Match Report

Date: Saturday April 26th
Venue: Buttevant, Co. Cork
Referee: Martin Doherty (Limerick)
Clare 4 – 6 Tipperary 2 – 9

The minor Bannerettes of Clare bridged an eighteen year gap for the county on Saturday last in winning Clare’s first provincial title since 1990. When these two teams faced up to each other in the early round robin stages of this tournament both teams served up an absolute classic game that went to extra time and was only decided in Clare’s favour with the last kick of the game on a 3-16 to 3-15 score line.
Saturday’s game had all the ingredients of another thriller and in fairness to both teams they didn’t disappoint the vociferous but small attendance.Tipperary got the proverbial whirlwind of a start to the match with a first minute point from Leanne Barrett of the Cahir club and when club mate Edith Carroll coolly slotted home a penalty two minutes later Clare were visibly rocked. The Banner team then shook of their early lethargy and had a pointed free from Ailish Considine of Kilmihil on eight minutes to register their opening score. When the Banner Ladies’ Niamh O’ Dea fired over a great point from play in the tenth minute all early Clare nerves were settled. Tipperary restored their three point advantage on twelve minutes with a well worked point from midfielder Eimear Moyles but on the quarter hour it was the Bannerettes turn to be awarded a spot kick and just as her Tipperary counterpart had done earlier in the game young Ailish Considine found the back of the Tipperary net with a confident effort. 

Clare suddenly had their tails up and added quick fire points from Eimear Considine and Niamh O’ Dea. Team captain, and Clare Intermediate player, Eimear Considine was having a massive game for Clare at mid-field and deservedly was awarded the ‘Player of the match’ accolade following the conclusion of events. Coolmeen’s Eimear O’Connor and the Banner Ladies’ Niamh O’Dea were also highly impressive.

Clare however were sucker punched following O’Dea’s twentieth minute point when excellent Tipperary mid-fielder Ciara Fahy struck for a goal and a point within a minute to restore the Premier county’s lead on a 2 – 3 to 1 – 4 score-line. Clare upped the ante again however and who better to crash home a twenty fifth minute goal than their enigmatic captain Eimear Considine. Tipperary did reply with a point from Barrett a minute later only for the diminutive Cratloe ace Naomi Carroll to raise another Clare green flag in quick riposte. Ailish Considine and Tipp’s Catríona Walsh traded points before the interval to leave the score 3 – 5 to 2 – 5 in Clare’s favour at half time.

The second half was a much tighter affair with little quarter asked for and indeed little quarter given. Clare had a tonic of a start with a Niamh O’Dea goal just two minutes into the half but had to fight tooth and nail to remain in front for the remainder of the game. Tipperary points from Kelly Hackett and Catríona Walsh narrowed the gap before Megan Hough slotted over a forty eight minute point to give Clare some breathing space again. This was to be Clare’s last score as Tipperary threw everything into attack in an endeavour to rescue the game. They were rewarded with points on fifty five and fifty nine minutes but try as they might they could not break down Clare’s rearguard for the all important goal.

During this period the Banner Ladies’ club trio of Niamh Martin, Niamh Cavanagh and Laurie Ryan were magnificent in defence as was Coolmeen’s Eimear O’Connor. Captain and player of the match Eimear Considine at mid-field also rarely put a foot wrong and she was ably assisted by Cooraclare’s Sally Glynn. Up front Niamh O’Dea, Ailish Considine, Naomi Carroll and Megan Hough also contributed greatly to Clare’s efforts. But when referee Martin Doherty blew the final whistle all the Clare players became heroines in their own right in what was truly a tremendous team performance.

This was a great team effort both on and off the field and much credit must go to manager Davy Browne of Doonbeg for having the girls so well drilled and committed to their county’s cause on the day. Like their Munster counterparts in Coventry on Sunday this team refused to buckle under pressure and deserve great credit for their resolve and skill against a much physically stronger Tipperary team.

Clare now progress to the All Ireland B minor series and it will take a very good team to beat them if they continue to show the determination and skill that they exhibited in Buttevant on Saturday.

Clare: Catherine Shannon (Miltown), Laurie Ryan (Banner Ladies), Niamh Martin (Banner Ladies), Niamh Cavanagh (Banner Ladies), Eimear O’Connor (Coolmeen), Louise Woods (Banner Ladies), Gemma Quinlan (Wolfe Tones), Sally Glynn (Cooraclare), Eimear Considine, capt. (Kilmihil, 1 – 1), Toni Lagan (Wolfe Tones), Ailish Considine (Kilmihil, 1 – 2), Rachel Garry (Cooraclare), Naomi Carroll (Banner Ladies, 1 – 0), Niamh O’Dea (Banner Ladies, 1 – 1), Megan Hough (Banner Ladies, 0 – 1).
Subs Used: Ciara Harvey (West Clare Gaels), Ciara Hannon (Wolfe Tones), Catríona Connellan (Banner Ladies).

Team Management: Davy Browne (Doonbeg), J.J. O’Dea (Banner Ladies), Johnny Geraaghty (Banner Ladies), Patricia Ryan (Banner Ladies), Margaret Carroll (Banner Ladies).

Dr. Paul McKenna,
PRO Clare Ladies Football

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