Clare start with win over old rivals

Clare start with win over old rivals


2008 National Suzuki League Division 2 Match Report

Date:               Sunday, February 3rd

Venue:            St. Flannan’s College Ennis

Throw In:            2.40pm

Referee:            Gerry Guinan (Galway)


Clare        3 – 10            Sligo      1 – 10

Clare ladies got their 2008 Suzuki league campaign off to the perfect start with a deserved win over old rivals Sligo in this very entertaining encounter played at St. Flannan’s College grounds in Ennis on Sunday.  The inclement overnight weather caused the late transfer of this game from Cooraclare but despite the elements a near perfect sod prevailed at the college grounds and credit must be given to the St. Flannan’s field committee for this.

Sligo, All Ireland junior championship winners of 2006, and conquerors of Clare in their most recent encounters entered this game as hot favourites.  Graded as a senior team in championship ratings they were expected to prove too strong for the intermediate ladies of Clare who were lining out without their West Clare Gaels trio of Marie & Sinéad Kelly and Majella Griffin who are still being rested after their gruelling 2007 club championship campaign.

Clare had a number of debutants in their starting team for the day including the Miltown duo of Sandra Malone and Lorraine Griffin and Aifric O’Neill from Cooraclare.  Another newcomer Eimear Considine from the Kilmihil club was introduced into the game as a first half substitute and she was to play a pivotal role in Clare’s victory.

Sligo opened brightly and by the twentieth minute had raced into 1 – 5 to 0 – 1 lead and the pre-match predictions seemed destined to hold up as the Markevic county girls were in command all over the field at this stage.  The Sligo goal came from Noelle Gormley on eighteen minutes following some sloppy defending by the Clare full back line.  Clare had tremendous difficulty in clearing out of defence in the opening quarter and were being completely over run at midfield especially with the Sligo half backs pushing forward and forcing the game to Clare.  Áine Kelly got the Banner County’s only score in the opening quarter with a good point from play on fifteen minutes.

Minnie Considine added Clare’s second point on twenty one minutes before a minute later the newly introduced Eimear Considine laid on the perfect through ball for Áine Kelly to run on to an Áine duly dispatched an unstoppable shot to the Sligo net.  This score visibly uplifted Clare as Sligo, despite all their early dominance, were now but a single score to the good.  Great credit must be given to Clare’s defence during this period and to wing back and former Galway player Michelle Delaney in particular.  Michelle had easily her best game yet in the Clare colours and she maintained her performance throughout the second half and was a constant thorn for the Sligo attackers.  Both sides traded a point each before the interval with Clare’s score coming from Úna Downes with a great effort from an acute angle.  The sides retired at half time with Sligo leading on a 1 – 6 to 1 – 3 score-line.

Sligo were well worth their lead at this stage as they really had bossed affairs through the middle and their centre forward Louise Smyth and full forward Noelle Gormley were proving a particular handful for Clare.  Sligo midfielders Bernice Byrne and Ciara Doyle were also domination their Clare counterparts but in fairness to Jane Kennedy and Sandra Malone they finished the half well.  With only a goal between the sides it was still very much to play for in the second half so a good start after the break seemed pivotal to either sides chances of victory.

As things turned out Sligo got the better of the early second half exchanges and were first to score with a thirty second minute point.  Suddenly Clare ignited with their midfielders Kennedy and Malone leading the charge.  Captain Louise Hinchey also seemed to find her form and Sligo suddenly looked vulnerable.  A brace of points from Áine Kelly and an inspirational score from Henchy had Sligo on the back foot and when Henchy kicked the equaliser on forty minutes Clare suddenly realised they had the winning of the game.  Sligo edged ahead again on forty five minutes through a Noelle Gormley point but a minute later up popped Úna Downes to plant a great shot to the roof of the Sligo net to give Clare the lead for the first time in the match.  Downes’ goal was another major confidence booster for Clare and the whole team upped its performance even more.

Eimear Considine, introduced as a first half substitute for Ann Marie Callinan, was now proving a major headache for the Sligo rearguard.  She was instrumental in both Áine Kelly’s and Úna Downes’ goals but on fifty four minutes she was to produce her piece de résistance when she won possession far out on the right wing, out-paced her marker and soloed through the Sligo defence and slammed an unstoppable effort to the roof of the Sligo net.  A new scoring jewel in the Clare forward line was born.  Clare continued to apply the pressure and had further points before the end from Áine Kelly, Marie Considine and substitute Emma O’Driscoll.  Sligo pushed forward in search of scores and while they did add two late points they were never going to catch a rampant Clare for whom Lorraine & Bernie Kelly, Lorraine Griffin, Carmel Considine and the aforementioned Michelle Delaney were now totally dominant.  Thus at the final whistle Clare had notched up 2 – 7 to Sligo’s 0 – 4 in the second half to run out six point winners.

The Clare management team of Dan Sheedy, David O’Brien, Davy Browne and Deirdre Murphy will be well pleased with their team’s overall performance and will be especially pleased on how the newcomers to the squad settled into the pace of the game.  A good start is half the battle and Clare certainly got the start they hoped for in their 2008 campaign.  With their sights firmly set on an All Ireland appearance in Croke park come September this league campaign will be vital in moulding a panel that can finally go all the way and deliver championship glory.  The omens look good after this encouraging start.

Clare: Denise Walsh (St. Michael’s Galway), Carmel Considine (Liscannor), Lorraine Kelly (Fergus Rovers), Afric O’Neill (Cooraclare), Michelle Delaney (The Banner), Lorraine Griffin (Miltown), Tammy Hehir (Cooraclare), Jane Kennedy (The Banner), Sandra Malone (Miltown), Marie Considine (Liscannor 0-2), L. Henchy, Capt. (The Banner 0-2), Úna Downes (Kilmihil 1-1), Áine Kelly (Fergus Rovers 1-4), Ann Marie Callinan (Cooraclare), Niamh Keane (The Banner).

Substitutes: Eimear Considine (Kilmihil 1-0) for A.M Callinan, Bernie Kelly (Cooraclare) for T. Hehir, Niamh Coyne (Miltown) for N.Keane, Emma O’Driscoll (The Banner 0-1) for Á.Kelly, Regina Fennessy (Wolfe Tones) for E. Considine, Rachel Garry (Cooraclare) for Ú.Downes.

Sligo:   Emma Cullen, Martina Keane, Angela Doohan, Fiona Maye, Jackie Mulligan, Gráinne O’Gara, Louise Harte, Bernice Byrne, Ciara Doyle, Louise Brett, Louise Smyth, Elaine O’Reilly, Karen Moloney, Noelle Gormley, Claire Howley.


Dr. Paul McKenna,
PRO Clare Ladies Football

086 6036385

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