2024 TG4 All-Ireland Finals tickets

Clare look forward to Minor B Final

This is a pivotal game for Clare Ladies underage football as national honours are at stake in a prestigious high grade championship.  The national minor B championship is a high grade affair and Monday’s game will be a big test for Clare.  Their opponents, Laois, look a formidable side and will be favourites by virtue of their semi-final demolition of a fancied Monaghan team.


At U-16 A level two years back Monaghan won the Ulster championship and pushed eventual A championship winners all the way in the All Ireland semi-final played in Stradballly, Co. Laois.  Monaghan failed to win the A championship in Ulster this year but were convincing winners of the B play-off there.  That they were then comprehensively defeated by Laois in the All Ireland semi-final speaks volumes of the possible threat that the Queen’s County girls pose to Clare’s ambitions on Monday.


Laois also participated in the early rounds of the Leinster A championship and were the only team in the province to give eventual winners Dublin a decent game. Dublin have since qualified for the All Ireland A final in which they will face Galway immediately after Clare’s game.  Thus Laois have a very strong line of form entering this game.


Clare can look back with some satisfaction at their season to date also.  They won all their games in Munster accounting for Limerick, Tipperary and Waterford in the preliminary rounds before again defeating Waterford in the provincial decider.  Last time out they also had a comprehensive win over Connacht representatives Roscommon and scored 7 – 16 in the process.  Worryingly though they also conceded 4 – 12 in this game.


If Clare is to have a realistic chance on Monday then they must be more competitive in the pivotal midfield area and need to at least secure a 40 – 60 possession ratio.  They must also tighten up defensively and cut off surging runs through the middle of their defensive lines as happened in the Roscommon game and also in the second half of their Munster final against Waterford.


A number of changes to the starting fifteen that started against Roscommon are expected and the likelihood is that Éire Óg’s Orla Devitt will command a starting place in the final.  She impressed when scoring two second half goals against Roscommon when introduced at the interval and also added valuable pace to the Clare attack.  The Banner Ladies defender Sinéad Quinn could also make the starting fifteen for the first time this season.  Quinn has been outstanding for her club side in this year’s county senior championship and looks the ideal replacement for the injured Shauna Harvey.


At midfield Clare will have to up their work rate and it is anticipated that centre forward Niki Kaiser will fill one of the centre-field berths for the final.  Niki has tremendous pace and is very competitive in tight situations.  Clare will also possibly employ a third player in this position to hoover up breaking ball and prevent opposition attacks and Gráinne Nolan could be well suited to this role as she is a hugely intelligent and gutsy player, full of skill and footballing nous.


Up front Clare will hope that Kilmurry-Ibrickan’s Chloe Moloney keeps up her rich vein of form that she has displayed all season.  Moloney and Devitt seemed to have a great understanding of each others play and this could be a big bonus for Clare if this duo click on the day.  Aoife O’Gorman of Cooraclare is also a player hitting form at the right time and if she has a big game in the final then she will really trouble the Laois defence.


Defensively Clare have leaked quite a bit all season and have occasionally been guilty of overplaying the ball in their own defensive area.  Clare’s half back line will have to assist in effectively crowding out the midfield diamond area and also will need to deliver quick and accurate ball to their forwards.  Their tendency to try and solo their way out of defence will have to be set aside against such strong opponents as Laois as more often than not they have lost valuable possession by taking the ball into contact.  Quick and accurate delivery forward must be the order of the day to give their attackers the platform to do the damage necessary to win.


Clare have every chance of pulling this off but it will mean all fifteen starting players and whatever number are introduced from the bench playing as though their lives depended on it.  This is an All Ireland final that’s there to be won and if each Clare girl gives one hundred per cent for her county then the cup could well be crossing the Shannon come Monday evening.  A great game is in prospect and let’s hope that Clare Ladies Football supporters will travel in big numbers to support the team.

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