Clare Ladies All ireland Junior Semi Final

Press Release Clare Junior Football.

Preview: Clare .v. Sligo, All Ireland Junior Football Semi-Final.
Venue: O’Connor Park, Tullamore.
Date: Saturday, September 2nd.
Time: 3.15pm
T.V.: Live on TG4.


D-day has arrived for the lady footballers of Clare. D – for
destiny, D – for determination and D – for delight if the Banner
County’s ladies overcome the formidable challenge of Sligo in
this epic All Ireland Junior Football Semi-Final encounter.

Sligo will be hot favourites for this for this seminal clash.
Never before have these teams met at this stage of any championship
but Sligo will have the experience of qualifying for the last
two All Ireland Finals at this grade. True they have been defeated
by both Kildare and Armagh at the final hurdle in 2004 and 2005,
but these final defeats can but only surely strengthen their resolve
to again reach this year’s final and to go on and gain the All
Ireland crown that all but those of us here in Clare would say
is their right.

True Sligo suffered a shock one point defeat to Leitrim in the
Connacht final (after which their whole management team was dismissed)
but they have since shown their true form wit a devastating 2
– 12 to 1 – 6 win over Leinster champions Wexford. This was achieved
with an awe inspiring display of fluent football in Pearse Park,
Longford where the Markivich girls showed scant regard for the
reputation of the Leinster champions. Led by playmakers such as
Theresa Harmon, Dena Gormley, Lisa Smith and Emma Flanagan, Sligo
really led Wexford a merry dance in this quarter-final encounter
and signalled their intentions to all that they are once again
serious contenders for this year’s championship. Their goalkeeper
Martina Connelly also showed her credentials as a shot stopper
by making no less than three point blank saves in this game as
well as saving two Wexford penalties – Clare forwards take note
and please take your points when offered.

Clare will enter this game full of confidence however. Despite
the probable absence from the starting lineout of the influential
Eithne Morrissey (fractured finger) and team captain Majella Griffin
(torn hamstring), the Banner ladies will not want to throw away
the chance of a Croke Park appearance lightly. Indeed the whole
team was buoyed by their second half performance against Fermanagh
in the All Ireland quarter final when both Morrissey and Griffin
were sidelined due to injuries sustained. If Griffin and Morrissey
cannot field for Clare it will indeed be a huge loss for our girls
in saffron & blue but Deirdre Murphy has now developed a squad
that is prepared to lay all on the line for their county colours.

From Emma O’Driscoll at number one to Áine Kelly at number
fifteen all the Clare team will have to produce the game of their
lives to ensure Clare will have All Ireland representation in
Croke Park this year. The Clare girls will have to contest every
ball as though their lives and the winning of the match depend
on it, and I mean every ball. Clare will now be in uncharted territory
for most of the team and in facing such an experienced outfit
as Sligo they will face a level of opposition not yet encountered
in this year’s championship. Romantics among us see Deirdre Murphy’s
team progressing to Croke Park but the realists in our midst will
ponder that such an aspiration is a possible bridge too far at
this stage of the current team’s development.

Bridge too far or not Clare can win this game and they will win
it if players like Grace Lynch, Louise Henchy, Myra Daly, Áine
Kelly and Niamh Keane play to their ability. These players, together
with the Kelly and Considine sisters will have to stand up and
be counted if Clare are to progress (especially in the absence
of Morrissey and Griffin). The Murphy duo of Deirdre (manager)
and Helen (coach) along with selectors Davy Browne, Johnny Hayes
and Bernie Regan will expect a big game from their charges – so
will all involved with Clare ladies football. Persons involved
with the ladies game in the county are eager in their expectation
of the possibility of a Clare team lining out on All Ireland Final
Day in Croke Park.

Come on ‘de Banner’; let’s hear the famous roar for the ladies’
football team of our county. O’Connor Park in Tullamore next Saturday
is our place of destiny – come all ye faithful Clare supporters
to the Faithful County and cheer on The Banner to an All Ireland

Dr. Paul McKenna,

Clare Ladies Football Team Media Correspondent.


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