Clare ladies finest hour as they defeat Cork

Clare Ladies finest Hour as they defeat Cork


Munster Ladies Junior Championship Match Report

Venue: Ballincollig, Co. Cork.

Date: Saturday, May 5th.

Referee: Richie O’Connor

Tipperary Clare 1 – 15 Cork 2 – 10

Clare ladies football received the shot in the arm it
vitally needed with this tremendous result against Cork
on Saturday last. Following a disappointing end to their
Suzuki League campaign, with successive defeats to Dublin,
Sligo and Wexford there was a worry that the county squad’s
morale had gone into decline and that the team had lost
the impetus gained from their 2006 successful league campaign.
Any or all of these worries were cast aside on Saturday
when the Clare team produced a resilient and battling
performance to overcome a fancied Cork team – and in their
own backyard to boot. This was probably this Clare team’s
finest hour football wise, as they entered this game as
complete underdogs but through sheer grit and determination
and no little skill, overcame their vaunted opponents
in great style. Five minutes into the game one could not
have predicted such a result however as Cork raced into
a 1 – 1 to no score lead.

Cork’s opening score came in the first minute when midfielder
Annie Walsh had a good point and this was followed three
minutes later by an Amy O’Shea goal for the Rebels. Things
now looked ominous for the Banner County representatives.
Credit our Clare ladies however as they stormed back to
completely dominate the next fifteen minutes of play and
added some wonderful points from Louise Henchy, Majella
Griffin and Fíona Lafferty to really put it up to the
Cork girls. Unfortunately for Clare the Cork side responded
with a twenty fourth minute goal from Amy O’Shea but even
with this setback the Clare ladies kept their concentration
and added further points to leave the interval score Clare
0 – 12, Cork 2 – 4.

That Clare had dominated affairs for most of the first
half and also that they were aided by a reasonable wind
during his period made their half time lead of two points
look slender. When Cork further narrowed the gap with
a first minute second half point from Sharon Whelton things
looked even more precarious for the Clare side and the
Banner county girls knew they had a serious fight on their
hands if they were to overcome the Cork challenge. But
fight they did and were rewarded in the sixth minute of
the half when corner forward Fiona Lafferty goaled for
the game’s most important score. Cork responded however
and had four unanswered points from Louise Crowley, Gráinne
Lucey, Amy O’Shea and Niamh Hickey to tie the match after
twenty minutes of the second period.

Time for real leadership now from the Clare ranks and
true to form up stepped captain Majella Griffin to score
two invaluable points for the Saffron & Blues on fifty
one and fifty three minutes. Fergus Rovers’ lass Áine
Kelly added another Clare point on fifty eight minutes
to give the Clare girls the breathing space of a three
point cushion entering the final minutes. Áine Sheehan
threw Cork a lifeline with a last minute point but Clare
held tough for the remaining seconds to secure a memorable
and worthy victory. Focus and determination were the key’s
to this win and all credit must go to the Clare backroom
team for having the squad well prepared and motivated
for this game. Unlike other years this year’s Munster
Junior Championship is a knockout affair so this was a
winner takes all game and all credit to Clare for laying
down heir marker for the championship season ahead and
creating such an upset. Emphasis so far in this report
has concentrated on the Clare forward line for their admirable
tally of sixteen scores.

Due regard must be paid however to the Clare rearguard
of whom Denise Walsh, Sinéad Kelly, Carmel Considine,
Grace Lynch and Lorraine Kelly had very good games. At
midfield Louise Henchy did well and contributed three
points to her team’s efforts. Henchy was ably assisted
by Liscannor’s Leona Murphy who held the fort when Henchy
forayed into attack. Captain Majella Griffin was again
magnificent and contributed seven points throughout the
hour. Corner forward Aine Kelly showed a welcome return
to form and in the other corner dual player Fíona Lafferty
had her best game yet in the county football jersey when
contributing 1 – 3. Fíona’s sixth minute second half goal
was the turning point in this truly competitive game.

Heads are up then in the Clare ladies’ football flagship
team and resulting from this win they progress to a Munster
semi-final joust with Waterford at a Tipperary venue next
weekend. Things are looking good for the reigning Munster
Junior champions so let us hope their new seam of form
holds true against the Déise girls.

Clare: Denise Walsh (St. Michael’s), Ciara Cleary (Coolmen),
Carmel Considine (Liscannor), Úna Downes (Kilmihill),
Sinéad Kelly (West Clare Gaels), Lorraine Kelly (Fergus
Rovers), Grace Lynch (Coolmeen), Louise Henchy (The Banner
Ladies), Leona Murphy (Liscannor), Niamh Keane (The Banner
Ladies), Majella Griffin (West Clare Gaels), Marie Kelly
(West Clare Gaels), Fíona Lafferty (Miltown), Michelle
McCaw (Miltown), Áine Kelly (Fergus Rovers). Subs Used:
Michelle Delaney (The Banner Ladies) for Ciara Cleary,
Helen Quinn (Cooraclare) for Michelle McCaw and Bernie
Kelly (Cooraclare) for Áine Kelly. Scorers: Majella Griffin
0 – 7, Fiona Lafferty 1 – 3, Louise Henchy 0 – 3, Áine
Kelly 0 – 2.

Cork: Martina O’Brien, Elaine Burke, Siobhán Buckley,
Máiréad Kennedy, Ann Marie Walsh, Niamh Canty, Áine Murphy,
Annie Walsh, Carly Shanahan, Louise Crowley, Áine Sheehan,
Gráinne Lucey, Sharon Whelton, Amy O’Shea, Niamh Hickey.
Scorers: Amy O’Shea 2 – 1, Annie Walsh 0 – 3, Niamh Hickey
0 – 2, Louise Crowley 0 – 1, Gráinne Lucey 0 – 1, Áine
Sheehan 0 – 1, Sharon Whelton 0 – 1.

Dr. Paul McKenna, PRO, Clare Ladies Football. 086 – 6036385


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