2024 TG4 All-Ireland Finals tickets

Clare Edge Past Longford


Clare Edge Past Longford


Ladies Football All Ireland Intermediate Championship Fourth Round.

Date:               Saturday August 4th

Venue:                        Pearse Park Longford.


Clare 2 – 11                Longford    2 – 9


Clare’s second half performance was both welcome and uplifting and gave a semblance of potential that exists within the squad if they can really put their game together.  It was by no means flawless and their goals led a charmed life on occasions but it was easily their most cohesive half hour’s football this season.

Clare had the benefit of a very strong breeze in the first half of this game played on an ideal sod in Pearse Park, Longford.  With the advantage of the elements one expected the Banner county side to plough forward and secure a good interval advantage – the opposite was the case however and Clare found themselves 2-4 to 0-4 in arrears after twenty minutes play.  Worse than the score line was the disjointed play of the Clare side who looked as if they had been drawn together for the first time just before the throw in.  Clare can than experienced captain Majella Griffin and her West Clare Gaels team mate Marie Kelly for keeping them in this contest as Longford threatened to over-run a sluggish and ragged Clare.

In defence Clare had great difficulty in dealing with the twin threats of pacy Longford forwards Donna Leavy and Denise Murtagh and mid-fielder Elizabeth Brady.  Early Clare points from Marie Kelly (2), Louise Henchy and Majella Girffin (free) were quickly cancelled out by two goals and four points from Murtagh, Leavy and wing forward Edel Quinn to give Longford a six point lead.  With Clare floundering and needing inspiration their talismatic captain Majella Griffin to rifle home a great goal on twenty three minutes.  This was the game’s decisive score as it threw Clare a lifeline they scarcely deserved and put them within one score of the home team.  True Longford added two more points before the interval to Clare’s one from Marie Kelly but it was clear that they felt they were worth well more than their 2-6 to 1-5 interval lead.  As Clare retired to their dressing room one could not blame their supporters for fearing the worst as a strong wind faced them in the second half.

Rather like the county U-16’s a week earlier Clare were a transformed team in the second half and took the game to Longford from the outset.  Dual player Fiona Lafferty, now operating at midfield, made some defence splitting runs and supplied good ball for the forwards to work with. Louise Henchy also upped her game as did her Banner club-mate Niamh Keane.  Sinéad Kelly took command of the centre of Clare’s defence and thus the platform was laid for the second half comeback.  With the defence now tightened and mid-field gaining the upper hand Clare began to claw back Longford’s lead and had good points from Áine Kelly, Majella Griffin, Niamh Keane and the newly introduced Myra Daly-Talty.  Longford could only offer a single reply in the opening fifteen minutes of the second period thus after forty five minutes the score read Clare1-9 Longford 2-7.  It was all now to play for and the momentum was definitely with Clare. Majella Griffin and Denise Murtagh swapped points before Clare swooped to the front with a tremendous goal.  Lorraine Kelly won a great ball inside her own forty five and sent a great through ball to Majella Griffin who drew the Longford cover before releasing an inch perfect pass to the inrushing Marie Kelly who firmly planted the ball in the Longford net.  Indeed moment’s earlier Griffin had been desperately unlucky to see a great shot cannon of the upright with Michelle Kilkenny in the Longford goals well beaten.  Longford had wing forward Sharon Tracy sin-binned at this stage for a late tackle on Grace Lynch but as can often happen numerical advantage upset rather than facilitated Clare from here to the end.  The home team piled forward in search of scores and Clare breathed a huge sigh of relief when an opportunistic half volley went inches wide with their goalkeeper beaten. Longford made it a one point game entering injury time and Clare looked vulnerable again however as sure as night follows day Clare football’s most accomplished ladies player Majella Griffin again stepped up to the mark and landed a mammoth insurance point a minute later.  Shortly afterwards the final whistle blew and Clare could celebrate an All Ireland quarter final berth as runner’s up to Tipperary in their group.  Longford now proceed to a relegation play off with bottom team in the opposite group.

Clare will have learnt much from this game especially from their play in the second period when serious questions were being asked of them.  They have the necessary fitness as their second half performance showed but mentally they need to adjust to playing and concentrating for the full sixty minutes.  If they are to give a repeat of their first half performance to any of the sides that now lie ahead of them in the championship (and its knock-out from now on) they will not be running out in Croke Park come September.  Still their second half performance should be a great springboard for their next game and hopefully they can bring this form into this challenge for an All Ireland semi-final place.

Clare: Denise Walsh, Ciara Cleary, Carmel Considine, Lorraine Kelly, Una Downes, Sinéad Kelly, Grace Lynch, Louise Henchy (0-1), Niamh Keane (0-1), Helen Quinn, Majella Griffin (1-4), Marie Kelly (1-3), Áine Kelly (0-1), Fiona Lafferty, Olivia Lucas.

Sub: Myra Daly-Talty (0-1) for Lucas (37 minutes).


Dr. Paul McKenna,
PRO Clare Ladies Football


Tel:     086 6036385

Web: www.bannerladiesfootball.com


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