Clare Ladies Footbal Senior Championship semi finals at Doonbeg

Banner Ladies 1-14 Kilmihil 1-7

Banner Ladies were full value for their seven point win over a disappointing Kilmihil side in the first of the senior championship semi finals which were played as a double header at Shanahan McNamara Memorial Park, Doonbeg on Saturday evening.

Going in to this game a well prepared Kilmihil were expected to really put it up to the Ennis side but apart from a spell shortly after half time when Kilmihil reduced the gap from eight points to four the Banner were always in control. Naomi Carroll who finished with four points from play got the score board ticking in the fourth after she was well placed by Shona Enright. By the eight Niamh O’Dea from a free had increased the lead while an attempt for a Banner goal was saved by Sharon O’Gorman. Kilmihil were dealt a blow when Eimear Considine had to leave the field of play having picked up a knock to the head in a tangle with Louise Woods. Sonya Maher from play and two from full forward O’Dea one of which was from a free put Banner Ladies five ahead with Kilmihil yet to score.

By the 28th Eimear Considine had returned and inside a minute she got Kilmihil off the mark with a classy point off her left in a nice move where Becky Mahon was very much involved. Five minutes in to injury time Louise Henchy pointed a free from the ground and at half time her side retired six points to one ahead. In truth the lead she have been more and so one expected should Kilmihil get the second half off to a good start they would be right back in contention. It was the Banner who got the dream start when Niamh O’Dea goaled inside 30 seconds having soloed at her ease past a number of Kilmihil defenders. Now eight points in arrears Kilmihil got motoring. Within five minutes of the restart Orla Keane had pointed twice before Kilmihil kicked a few bad wides. Three more Kilmihil points without reply two from midfielder Maria Keane, while in between was one from her sister Orla now saw Kilmihil trail 1-7 to 0-6 and playing much better.

However Kilmihils period of dominance ended here and in the 48th minute Naomi Carroll scored thefirst of six unanswered Banner points. Louise Henchy was controlling matters around midfield with Carroll and O’Dea on song in attack. Maria Keane one of Kilmihils better players on the day had her side’s final point with normal time almost up while Carroll and substitute Aoife Martin tacked on one each for the winners. A foul on Eimear Considine deep in injury time resulted in a Kilmihil penalty and a sin bin for Banner full back Claire Walsh. Considine made no mistake from the 11m spot in what was the last kick of the game and put a bit of respectability on the scoreboard from a Kilmihil point of view. For the Banner they are back where they wanted to be. A place in the final for the fourth year in a row but more importantly for them a chance to reverse last year’s final result on Saturday week in Doonbeg against West Clare Gaels albeit a West Clare Gaels without a few players that were instrumental in their sides success story that was 2010.

Banner Ladies: Emma O’Driscoll, Rebecca Culligan, Claire Walsh, Laurie Ryan (capt.), Louise Woods, Katie Cahill, Sinead O’Keeffe, Shona Enright, Louise Henchy 0-2 (0-1f), Naomi Carroll 0-4, Niamh Keane, Mary Tierney, Sonya Maher 0-2, Niamh O’Dea 1-5 (0-3f), Susan McNamara.

Subs: Orlaith Lynch for S. McNamara (17th), Aoife Martin 0-1 for M. Tierney (55th), Eva O’Dea for S. Maher (60th), Helen Hehir for S. O’Keeffe (62nd),

Kilmihil: Sharon O’Gorman, Elaine O’Halloran, Edel McMahon, Laura Egan, Una Downes, Rosie Currane, Becky Mahon, Maria Keane 0-3 (0-1f), Dympna Walsh (capt.), Ellie O’Gorman, Ailish Considine, Orla Keane 0-3, Denise O’Halloran, Eimear Considine 0-1, Niamh Keane.

Subs: Moriah Lineen for E. Considine (inj) 19th), E. Considine for M. Lineen (28th), M. Lineen for D. O’Halloran (h.t.).

Referee: Ml. Talty (Kilmurry Ibrickane)

West Clare Gaels 3-17 Miltown 6-5

This semi final at the end of which reigning champions West Clare Gaels secured their place in the county final had it all. Excitement at its highest, nine goals, some fine points, a crucial penalty save, one nearly needed a calculator at times.

With only six minutes played the scoreboard read West Clare Gaels 2-0 Miltown 1-0. It turned out to be an indication of what was to follow as spectators were treated to a game of high drama. Maria Kelly who recently returned from Australia to line out for her club for the first time since that famous day last November when the Intermediate All Ireland Club title was captured was first to raise a green flag when she slotted the ball past Siobhan Talty with only three minutes played. A minute later dual star Fiona Lafferty scored Miltowns first goal and by the sixth Niamh Lardner who played a crucial part in this win put her side ahead with the third goal of the game. The westerners stretched that lead to five by the 10th when impressive centre forward Denise Geaney pointed twice from play inside a minute.

The middle third of this opening half was dominated on the scoreboard by Miltown. A point from Bernie McGuire was quickly followed by a Karen Galvin goal when West Clare Gaels centre backDeirdre Troy failed to hold on the ball from Megan McGraths kick out after McGuires point. Miltown drove forward again and this time corner forward Sinead Sexton was fouled and awarded a penalty which she took. Keeper McGrath held her footing and saved well and soon after Sexton pointed to level matters at 2-2 each.

West Clare Gaels were then dealt a blow when Maria Kelly was forced to leave the field of play with a leg injury. She was replaced by Ailish Brew with twelve minutes of the half remaining. Gaels full forward Brid Troy had her first of five points while moments later at the other end of the pitch Miltown captain Michelle McCaws kick from all of 35m sailed to the top of West Clare Gaels net and with twenty played Miltown led 3-2 to 2-3. Brid Troy reduced the deficit to one with a pointed free but Miltowns full forward and top scorer Karen Galvin shot one over for her side. Next it was the turn of Leanne Lynch and Laura Rynne to exchange points, Miltown maintaining their two point advantage with almost twenty five played. Galvin then finished another Miltown move to the net to put her side 4-4 to 2-5 ahead. Ciara Harvey joined her sisters Grainne and Shauna on West Clare Gaels side when she was introduced for Becky O’Farrell in the 29th. McCaw and Lardner exchanged points and so it was the underdogs Miltown who deservingly led by five, 4-5 to 2-6 when Ml. Talty blew the half time whistle.

However champions they say are made of stern stuff and so West Clare Gaels proved in the second half. Eight points without reply in a twenty minute spell when they were dominant in most sectors saw them turn over a five point half time deficit into a three point lead. Five of these had come from frees as Miltown found it difficult to cope with a determined West Clare Gaels side with midfielders Shauna Harvey and Michelle Downes really to the fore and Niamh Larnder excelling up front. Lardner (4), Brid Troy (0-3) and sixteen year old Shauna Harvey had raised those white flags. Next it was a repeat of the opening six minutes when three more goals were scored. Fiona Laffertys piercing run rattled McGraths net to tie the game at 5-5 to 2-14 and inside a minute Miltown centre back Niamh Coyne who had a fine hour also goaled to put her side ahead by three. The hardworking Gaels centre forward Denise Geaney scored the ninth goal of this epic and with just over five minutes of normal time remaining the sides were level, West Clare Gaels 3-14 Miltown 6-5.

The Co. Champions dominated the closing stages in terms of possession and excellent points from play from Niamh Lardner, Leanne Lynch and Shauna Harvey ensured a deserved three point win against a spirited Miltown side who failed to field a team in the championship last year and have made amazing progress this year. In a few weeks time they will contest the B final. For West Clare Gaels its back to the Co Final and for the second year in a row and a meeting with Banner Ladies. This years management of Eoin Troy, Ml. O’Shea and Ml. Liddane will be pleased with the win but are bound to be concerned at conceding six goals.

West Clare Gaels: Megan McGrath, Suzi O’Gorman, Kathleen Foley, Grainne Harvey, Rita Boland, Deirdre Troy, Marie Foran, Michelle Downes (capt.), Shauna Harvey 0-2, Maria Kelly 1-0, Denise Geaney 1-2, Leanne Lynch 0-2, Niamh Lardner 1-6 (0-3f), Brid Troy 0-5 (0-4f), Becky O’Farrell.

Subs: Ailish Brew for M. Kelly (inj. 18th), Ciara Harvey for B. O’Farrell (29th),

Miltown: Siobhan Talty, Claire Curtin, Siobhan Lafferty, Sinead Griffin, Tara Rynne, Niamh Coyne 1-0, Aisling Coyne, Katie Curtin, Bernie McGuire 0-1, Niamh Pender, Michelle McCaw (capt.) 1-1, Fiona Lafferty 2-0, Laura Rynne 0-1, Karen Galvin 2-1, Sinead Sexton 0-1.

Subs: Helen Burke for A. Coyne(39th), Aisling McCaw for L. Rynne (55th), Jean Talty for N. Pender (56th),

Referee: Ml. Bohannon (Shannon Gaels)

Mary Keane

Co. Adult P.R.O.

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