Clare to Much for Royals

Despite a strong second half performance from the Royals, the Banner County took all three points in a drizzly cold Dunganny on Sunday afternoon. Taking a healthy 2-10 to 0-04 lead into half time, the away side did enough in the second period to keep the Royals at bay. Meath however know they should have done better and now face a last round crunch clash with Kildare next Sunday to maintain Division Two status for 2017.

Meath Ladies Senior Captain Paula Dunne

Niamh Keane got the scoring underway in the opening minute for the away side before Ailbhe McHugh levelled matters on the resumption. Vikki Wall put Meath into the lead on 6 minutes but this was almost immediately cancelled out by a Louise Henchy point at the other end. Gráinne Nolan hit the back of Louise Dunne’s net on 7 mins. Despite strong defensive play by Shauna Ennis and Hannah Heskin, Clare were dogged in attack and patient in their build up. Wall reduced the gap to two on 8 mins but three unanswered points, one from Ailish Considine and a brace from Nolan put Clare into a 1-05 to 0-03 lead with 15 mins gone on the clock. Niamh Gallogly split the posts on 18 mins for Meath’s fourth point. Jenny Rispin was unlucky to see her effort go wide after great support play from Stacey Grimes. Despite the Royals showing good passages of play, Clare dominated the final ten minutes of the half hitting 1-05 unanswered to take a twelve point lead into half time, Henchy with Clare’s second goal on 27 mins.


Half Time; Meath 0-04, Clare 2-10.


Vikki Wall got her third point of the afternoon with a fine effort in the opening minute of the second half while clever linking play saw Emma Troy split the posts on 33 mins to reduce the gap to ten points. Niamh Keane pointed for Clare on 37 mins while Bláthnaid Keogh was unlucky to see a fine effort drift wide of the post a minute later. Wall hit her fourth point of the contest on the resumption before Síofra Cleary pointed on 39 mins. A Stacey Grimes free on 40 mins reduced the gap to nine with twenty minutes left on the clock and the Royal fightback was on. As Eoin Hennessy rang in the changes, Meath pushed forward, searching for that elusive goal that eventually eluded them. Clare found the back of the net for the third time on 44 mins to seal the contest for the Banner County, but that didn’t stop the Royals as they continued to run at the Clare defence with Niamh Gallogly, Niamh O’Sullivan and Grimes all showing well for the Royals. A brace of Grimes frees on 48 and 54 mins respectively gave the Royals hope but it was the Banner who had the final say as Henchy hit Clare’s thirteenth point in injury time.


Full Time; Meath 0-11, Clare 3-13.


Sometimes you need to take a step back to take two steps forward and this Meath team have a lot more to give. They will also know they are capable of more than they showed in Dunganny and will look forward to showing their true colours when they travel to Kildare next weekend to take on the Lilywhites. It won’t be easy though as both sides are both fighting for survival in Division Two and the Lillies won’t go down without a fight! Meath Ladies are calling on all Royal supporters to get behind the team and join them in Kildare next Sunday!

Meath Ladies are happy to announce that Blackhall Gaels’ Paula Dunne has been named 2016 Senior Captain and she led the team out to face Clare this afternoon. Dunne said she is honoured to take the position and hope that she can do Kate Byrne proud, acknowledging that she had big boots to fill but is ready for the challenge – certainly a true Royal!


Meath Team & Scorers: Louise Dunne, Aideen Guy, Hannah Heskin, Orla Byrne, Shauna Ennis, Paula Dunne (C), Síofra Cleary (0-01), Emma Troy (0-01), Niamh O’Sullivan, Stacey Grimes (0-03, 3f), Bláthnaid Keogh, Niamh Gallogly (0-01), Ailbhe McHugh (0-01),Vikki Wall (0-04), Jenny Rispin.

Subs: Niamh Lister for Guy (41 mins), Julie Donnellan for Rispin (41 mins), Marion Farrelly for McHugh (41 mins), Elaine Plunkett for Byrne (45 mins), Shelly Melia for Cleary (45 mins), Aisling Sheridan for Heskin (53 mins), Caitríona Keogan for Gallogly (57 mins).


Clare Team & Scorers; C. Harvey, S. Harvey, E. O’Dea, G. Harvey, R. Considine, L. Ryan (C), E. O’Gorman, L. Henchy, B. Mahon, A. Keane, N. Keane, S. Bohannon, O. Lynch, A. Considine, C. Hickey.


Referee: Conor Dourneen (Cavan)


Upcoming fixtures:


Saturday 9th April

Leinster U-16 Championship Round 5; Meath v Laois – Meath Venue and Time TBC


Saturday 10th April

Lidl National Football League; Round 7; Kildare v Meath – Kildare Venue, Time; 2.00


Friday 15th April

Leinster U-14 Championship Round 5; Meath v Laois – Dunganny, Centre of Excellence, Time; 7pm


Saturday 16th April

Leinster Minor B Championship Quarter Final; Offaly v Meath – Offaly Venue and Time TBC


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