Clare Senior Final

Match Report Clare Ladies Senior Football

Venue: Kilmihil

Cooraclare 3 – 6 The Banner 0 – 7


The old adage that goals win matches was certainly
true in this keenly contested senior final on Saturday. Cooraclare
made and took their goal chances while the Banner fluffed their
lines when goal-scoring opportunities came their way. The Ennis
team will ponder many ‘what ifs’ when they look back on this game
but in truth they were beaten by their own relative inexperience
at this level as against the championship know how of Cooraclare
who had seen and done it all before. The better team on the day
always wins and so it was on Saturday when Cooraclare justified
their pre-match favouritism with a display that packed just too
much power and guile for the Ennis fledglings.

A tricky blustery breeze meant that scores were going to be at
a premium and that goals were going to be of significant value.
That sharpshooter supreme Helen Quinn pounced for two goals just
on either side of half time ensured that the James Lafferty trophy
was heading west once more.

The Banner started brightly and launched attack after attack on
the Cooraclare goals. A combination of poor shooting and excellent
defending by the Cooraclare full back line saw all the Banner’s
early endeavour come to nought and indeed in one of their few attacks
in this opening period Cooraclare opened the scoring with a point
from a Claire Walsh free. Louise Henchy had an excellent opportunity
to level matters on seven minutes but the normally deadly accurate
free-taker somehow sent a close in free wide. Henchy made amends
for this miss when finally opening the Banner’s account when converting
a twenty metre free on twelve minutes. Following this opening score
the Banner dominated in all sectors but were still finding scores
very hard to come by with Aifric O’Neill, Elaine Griffin, Fiona
McMahon and the roving Tammy Hehir making life very difficult for
the Ennis forwards. The Banner were eventually rewarded for their
pressure with good points from play in the twelfth, fourteenth and
eighteenth minutes from Niamh Keane, Aoife Cavanagh and Emma O’Driscoll
respectively. Just as the town girls were beginning to assert themselves
Cooraclare captain Eithne Morrissey turned up the heat. Although
subdued in the early stages of the match by the Banner’s Jane Kennedy,
Morrissey now fielded some vital balls in the centre of the park
as she dragged Cooraclare back into the match. A high delivery from
Morrissey in the twenty fifth minute caused consternation in the
Banner goalmouth, and when the defence failed to clear properly
the lurking Helen Quinn was on hand to flash a rocket to the roof
of the net for an equalising goal. This was a vital score as it
undid all the previous hard work and dominance of the Banner and
when added to by a Noreen McGuane point a few minutes later gave
Cooraclare a one point interval lead they scarcely deserved on a
1 – 2 to 0 – 4 scoreline.

Facing a stiff wind in the second half the Banner must have hoped
for bright start to keep their hopes alive. However the Ennis side
was further rattled when Quinn came in on the end of a great forward
movement to again find the net with an excellent goal. Cooraclare
were now well on top and it was time for the banner to defend staunchly
and this they did to great effect with outstanding displays from
fullback Louise Skelly and goalkeeper Maria Hennessy. Indeed Hennessy
produced a string of fine saves to keep the Ennis team in the game
and made one superb block to deny Claire Walsh a certain goal. Bernie
Kelly and Louise Henchy traded points before another significant
turning point in the game occurred. A slick Banner move found Louise
Henchy through on goal only for Mairéad Griffin to make a
point blank save. From the rebound Aoife Cavanagh was brought down
in the square and referee Diane Burke pointed immediately to the
penalty spot. Up stepped Sonya Maher to take the kick but unfortunately
for the Ennis girl her low drive sped narrowly wide of the righthand
upright. This vital miss summed up the Ennis team’s day and although
the grimly battled to the end they were never going to catch their
more experienced rivals. Louise Henchy and Noreen McGuane traded
points before Áine Pyne scored the point of the match when
soloing the length of the field to plant the ball between the Banner
uprights on fifty seven minutes to leave the score 2 – 4 to 0 –
6. This was the killer score for Cooraclare as it finally ended
any comeback hopes of the Ennis team. When Helen Quinn pounced for
her third goal of the game in injury time it served really to put
a gloss on the scoreline that did injustice to the overall tightness
of the game.

Cooraclare are deserving and worthy champions for 2006 and hopefully
the Clare intercounty team will benefit from the leadership this
club will provide in the year ahead. The champions had great displays
from Eithne Morrissey, Aifric O’Neill, Helen Quinn, Bernie Kelly
(player of the match), Máiréad Griffin and the Lillis
sisters. Tammy Hehir played a pivotal sweeper role throughout the
game and was most unfortunate to be sin binned (along with the Banner’s
Eimear Griffin) late in the game.

Best for the Banner were defenders Louise Skelly, Patricia Ryan
and Eimear O’Connor while goalkeeper Maria Hennessy was outstanding.
Louise Henchy, Jane Kennedy and Niamh Keane showed well for periods
while up front Aoife Cavanagh did well.

Cooraclare: Mairéad Griffin, Aifric O’Neill, Elaine griffin,
Fiona McMahon, Orla Kelly, Majella Lillis, Monica lillis, Áine
Pyne(0-1), Eithne Morrissey-Liddane, Noreen McGuane(0-2), Bernie
Kelly(0-1), Helen Quinn (3 – 0), Claire Walsh-Moloney(0-2), Tammy
Hehir, Patricia Callinan.

Subs used:Rachel Garry, Niamh Chambers, Jacinta Tubridy.

The Banner: Maria Hennessy, Patricia Ryan, Louise Skelly, Caoimhe
McNamara, Michelle Delaney, Sarah Hoey, Eimear O’Connor, Louise
Henchy(0-4), Jane Kennedy, Sonya Maher, Niamh keane(0-1), Aoife
Cavanagh(0-1), Catriona Connellan, Emma O’Driscoll(0-1), Mary Tierney.

Subs used: Louise Woods, Niamh O’Dea, Eimear Griffin, Edel Griffin,
Niamh Cavanagh

Referee: Diane Burke

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