Clare overcome Limerick

Clare and Limerick met in Kilmihil for their 2016 Munster Intermediate Championship fixture.  Clare faced Limerick after a successful League campaign with three players making the Division Two Team Of The League 2016 , Niamh O’Dea, Louise Henchy and Niamh Keane. Limerick’s Division Four win was rewarded with five players making their Team of The League, Alva Neary, Olivia Giltenane, Kristine Reidy, Niamh Richardson and captain Dymphna O’Brien.

Laurie Ryan Mike Duffy (Tipperary) Dympna OBrien

Officiated by Mike Duffy (Tipperary) in very warm conditions in the opening half, Niamh Richardson’s bee-line for the Clare goals saw her off-load to captain Dymphna O’Brien who netted within thirty seconds to rattle the hosts. A tentative start by Clare saw two scorable frees go a begging and Niamh O’Dea’s goal effort came off the left up-right in the fourth minute before she converted a free won by Sarah Bohannon. Limerick went ahead 1-1 thanks to captain O’Brien again before Clare’s Aoife Keane took two points and going into the second quarter Ailish Considine brought the score level 0-4 to Limerick’s 1-1. Considine’s next pointed free put Clare ahead but the Limerick lead was back with the leveller on twenty one minutes and Niamh Richardson pushed them ahead with a no nonsense point on twenty four minutes gone 1-3 to Clare’s five points. A very fast-paced and even game began to go Clare’s way in the twenty sixth minute when Niamh O’Dea set up club-mate Aoife Keane for the Saffron & Blue’s first goal which pushed them 1-5 to 1-3 ahead. The remaining minutes saw two Limerick points from O’Brien and Richardson compared to Clare’s four points from Niamh O’Dea, Aoife Keane (2)and Ailish Considine. When Mike Duffy called for the ball at half time the score was 1-9 to 1-5 in Clare’s favour.

Clare restarted with urgency and their first attack from the throw-in resulted in a Niamh O’Dea pointed free and additional points from Becky Mahon and Niamh Keane saw the Banner enter the last quarter with a seven point lead 1-12 to 1-05.It took seventeen minutes for Limerick to register their first score of the second half courtesy of Niamh Richardson and this inspired team mates Niamh Holland and Dymphna O’Brien (f) to point in the next five minutes. Clare’s first substitute Chloe Moloney pointed in the same spell of play and with seven minutes of normal time left Limerick had reduced their deficit to five points 1-08 to 1-13.   As Clare pulled away with a three point spell of play Niamh O’Dea (2) and Ciara Hickey, they could not shake off the close attentions of the Treaty ladies and with Dymphna O’Brien playing a captain’s role and covering acres of ground with Niamh Richardson in close support, O’Brien clawed back two points coming up to the whistle. With all the stops pulled out Limericks tenacity paid off as in injury time O’Brien set up Richardson for a top drawer goal on the thirty first minute. 2-10 for Limerick and 1-16 for Clare, closing the gap to three points. An ebb and flow game ended with Clare finishing with resolve as they attacked with speed and intent, clawing back two points in the last minute of the game through Ciara Hickey and Ailish Considine. It finished in Clare’s favour 1-18 to 2-10.

A positive start by Limerick rattled the Banner side into a tentative start. A more robust Clare performance still failed to kill off the Limerick spirit and never pushed the gap to more than six points. Limerick passion for the game brought the game to within a kick of a ball in injury time. The Clare push-back in injury time to take two points shows a determination and resolve that will stand them well in their next meeting which against Lidl National Football League Division three finalists Tipperary.

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