2024 TG4 All-Ireland Finals tickets

Cooraclare win out in thriller

Cooraclare win out in thriller


Cooraclare 5 – 12 Miltown St. Joseph’s 2 – 13

This year’s championship final will go down as the best in years
as two superbly prepared teams gave their all in the quest for
glory. In the end the sheer strength and experience of football
specialists Cooraclare eventually won out over the speed and enthusiasm
of their Miltown rivals. This game was billed as a prospective
thriller and it certainly lived up to the pre-match hype. The
large attendance were treated to a fast flowing game packed with
excellent scores and seven wonderful goals. All present were also
treated to some wonderful individual footballing performances
from players such as Eithne Morrissey, Tammy Hehir, Aoife Healy,
Fiona Lafferty and Ann Marie Callinan to name but a few. Cooraclare,
eager to reverse the 2005 final result, set out their stall right
from the throw in and were quickly on the scoreboard with good
points from play from Helen Quinn and Eithne Morrissey. Miltown
responded with two Aoife Healy frees to level affairs on ten minutes
but the champions then hit a purple patch. Two points from the
Callinan sisters Anne Marie and Patricia were to follow before
the evergreen Eithne Morrissey thundered through the heart of
the Miltown defence to fire an unstoppable shot past the hapless
Catherine Shannon in the Miltown goal. Aoife Healy responded immediately
with a well taken point from play to leave the score 1-4 to 0-3
on the quarter hour.

Healy and Ann Marie Callinan then exchanged points before Majella
Lillis ghosted in behind the Miltown defence to deflect a Niamh
Chambers lob to the Miltown net. The defending champions seemed
to be coasting at this stage but somehow Miltown clawed themselves
back into contention and were dominant for the next ten minutes
or so. Sandra Malone and Tara Glynn upped the pace at midfield
and delivered some good ball to their forwards. The Cooraclare
defence, for whom team captain Tammy Hehir was outstanding, was
giving very little away however and allowed only two points to
Miltown during this period – one each to Fiona Lafferty and Diane
Kelly. A mysteriously prolonged period (eight minutes in all)
of first half injury time now ensued and both teams added two
points to their tally with Majella Lillis and Sally Glynn scoring
for the eventual winners in reply to Fiona Lafferty and Aoife
Healy for Miltown. Thus after a marathon first half the teams
retired on a score of 2-7 to 0-8 in Cooraclare’s favour.

The large attendance was very appreciative of both teams as they
made their way to the dressing rooms such was the high standard
of play and excitement in the first half. Cooraclare must have
been the happier at the break as having played against a significant
breeze in the first half they looked very comfortable with a five
point advantage. Miltown in contrast knew that they had it all
to do and I’m sure had an earful from management during their
half time break. Whatever was said in the respective dressing
rooms during the interval Miltown came out a transformed team
in the second half. A first minute point from Aoife healy was
quickly followed by a pair of superb goals from Fiona Lafferty
and Michelle McCaw to completely turn the game on its head. Suddenly
just five minutes in and Miltown were 2 – 9 to 2 – 7 to the good
and Cooraclare looked shellshocked.

Cometh the hour cometh the woman and amid all their disarray up
stepped Eithne Morrissey to grab two excellent points from play
for Cooraclare to level affairs against the run of play. In the
fortieth minute Diane Kelly, with a great fisted point, and Fiona
Lafferty restored Miltown’s advantage. The game was nip and tuck
at this stage but Cooraclare were soon to effect a master stroke.
Tammy Hehir was released outfield from her defensive position
at full back and this soon paid dividends as Tammy began to win
and distribute some fantastic ball through the middle. Following
an Anne Marie Callinan point on forty four minutes Hehir was to
put the same player through a few minutes later for a brilliant

The defining period of the match then followed starting with a
Morrissey point on fifty minutes to be followed by a two goal
blitz from Callinan and the introduced Rachel Garry on fifty one
and fifty two minutes. In a flash the once knife edged game was
all but over and Cooraclare had a firm grasp on the trophy for
yet another year. Late points from Aoife Healy (2) were answered
by another excellent point from Callinan who, following her 2-4
contribution, was awarded the player of the match award. Thus
on the full-time whistle the score read 5-12 to 2-13 in Cooraclare’s
favour. Credit to both teams for an excellent county final but
credit especially the winners Cooraclare who were well worth their
victory. People who doubted their ability to again rise to the
challenge had their answers in the truly great displays of such
stalwarts as Eithne Morrissey and Tammy Hehir. Polished performances
from Majella Lillis, Aoife Donnellan, Aifric O’Neill, Rachel Garry
and star forward Ann Marie Callinan all added to their victory.

While Miltown played with great verve and panache they just did
not have the strength in depth to match the champions when the
big questions were asked in the second half. Just as it appeared
that the challengers were threatening Cooraclare mid way through
the half the greater strength and craft of the Sky Blue’s came
up trumps. Miltown had good performances from Aoife Healy, Loraine
Griffin, Tara Glynn, Fiona Lafferty and Diane Kelly and as a young
team can look forward to many more exciting championship finals.
This was Cooraclare’s day however and the memory of 2005 is now
well consigned to the past. Following the game James Lafferty,
Chairman of Clare Ladies Football presented the senior championship
trophy to winning captain Tammy Hehir. Referee Nora Murphy had
a good game overall and maintained control throughout. There were
however some raised eyebrows regarding the eight minutes of first
half injury time. Full marks also to the wonderful presentation
of the finals in Doonbeg on Sunday with an excellent programme
on offer to patrons and the Doonbeg pitch and facilities were
also excellent.

Dr. Paul McKenna, PRO Clare. 086 6036385 mckennapc@eircom.net


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