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Gallant West Clare Gales

Gallant West Clare Gales

West Clare Gaels 4-10 Banner Ladies 1-14

West Clare Gaels are the Clare Ladies Senior Football Champions for the first time in their history. At Doonbeg on Saturday evening the Darragh Kelly (Kilkee) and Pat. Foley (Naomh Eoin) managed side had a 4-10 to 1-14 victory over Banner Ladies who were bidding for three in a row. A good start was vital. They showed their intentions from the throw in and after just twenty seconds had split the posts with a fine point from Bríd Troy. By the seventh they lead by four points to The Banners no score, their other three points coming from the games top scorer Majella Griffin, two of which were from play. A point from Niamh O’Dea opened Banners account in the twelfth and in the eight minutes that followed they kicked four more, two from O’Dea frees and one each from Niamh Keane and last years winning captain Sonya Maher to lead for the only time in the game, by the minimum (0-5 to 0-4).


It was then the turn of the super Majella Griffin to do what she has done so often for her county in the past. West Clare Gaels were awarded a free about 35m out. As she kicked the diagonal free across it dipped and stole in under the top right hand corner of Emma O’Driscolls goals. Niamh Keane who caused endless problems for the West Clare Gaels defence with her dashing speedy runs replied instantly with a point and followed up shortly after with another to level matters.


A long range effort from Leanne Lynch ended in a fine point for the winners and then the Co. Intermediate champions of just three years ago had their second goal. Mid fielder Maria Kelly broke straight through and kicked a rasper which rebounded back out of the crossbar and the in running Niamh Lardner made no mistake finishing to the net to put West Clare Gaels 2-5 to 0-7 ahead.


Banner, sensing they were in trouble introduced Mary Tierney for Emma Glynn and Irene Hehir for Shonagh Enright shortly before half time while Niamh O’Dea had her sides final point of the half. The Gaels could have further stretched their lead when Majella Griffin saw her attempt at goal denied by the crossbar but within a minute she had the score of the match when she caught, turned and kicked from her left to see her side lead by four points. The Gaels had dominated the opening and closing thirds of the half and their full back line of Kathleen Foley, the outstanding Sinead Kelly and Rita Boland were very solid while Niamh Keane in particular, Naoimi Carroll and Sonya Maher were on top in the Banner half forward line. When Ml. Bohannon who refereed well over the hour blew the half time whistle the underdogs were 2-6 to 0-8 in front.


The west Clare outfit got a dream start to the second half. The Ennis based Banner were unfortunate to concede an own goal. West Clare Gaels wing forward Leanne Lynch cut in from the corner and spotted a colleague in a good position just outside the square and as she off loaded the hand pass Sarah Hoey rose to prevent it and somehow didn’t connect properly and the ball went in off Hoey to put West Clare Gales in to a seven point lead.


A Majella Griffin pointed free was cancelled out by a Niamh O’Dea point from play and then the girls from the west struck for goal number four. Great work by the hard working midfielder and team captain Michelle Downes ended in a pass to Niamh Lardner who made no mistake for her second goal. When Griffin pointed again it looked like there was now no way back for the champions of the past two years but it was their team captain Louise Henchy who took the game by the scruff of the neck and with almost twelve minutes in the second half played started their comeback with a point. Next it was Megan Haugh who chipped in with two from play before Henchy who was outstanding in the second half goaled finishing a move which she herself had started from a 45 she kicked and so with forty seven played the Kevin Greene managed Banner side now just trailed by five (4-8 to 1-12) Henchy , an All-Star nominee last year was not finished yet and kicked two fine points from play. Despite the best efforts of other Banner players such as Michelle Delaney, Jane Kennedy, Niamh Keane and Sonya Maher they did not score again and two fine points from Bríd Troy sealed the win for a gallant West Clare Gaels with five points to spare.


Majella Griffin had the game of her life for the winners for whom Kathleen Foley, Sinead and Maria Kelly, Michelle Downes, Leanne Lynch, Niamh Lardner and Bríd Troy stood out while Denise Geaney and Shauna Harvey really came in to it in the second half.


Michelle Downes was presented with the cup by Co. Chairman Johnny Hayes much to the delight of their huge following. She praised the panel of twenty eight who had trained so hard over the year and their mentors Darragh Kelly and Pat Foley while not forgetting those who had been involved in recent years. She paid a special tribute hard working club secretary Deirdre Kenny Downes while she dedicated the win to the memory of the late Maureen Kenny who passed away in April 08 following an illness.


West Clare Gaels now go forward to the Munster Intermediate Club Championship. They were due to play the Waterford champions next Saturday in the quarter final but the word from Munster Council on Sunday was that Dungarvan will not be participating and so West Clare Gaels advance to the semi final where they will play Limerick Champions Athea possibly on Sept. 18th.


West Clare Gaels

Megan Haugh, Kathleen Foley, Sinead Kelly, Rita Boland, Fiona Troy, Deirdre Troy, Shauna Harvey, Michelle Downes (capt.,), Maria Kelly, Leanne Lynch 1-1, Denise Geaney, Majella Griffin 1-6 (0-3f), Niamh Lardner 2-0, Bríd Troy 0-3, Katie Geoghegan,

Subs: Lauren McMahon for D. Geaney


(Leanne Lynch credited with o.g)


Banner Ladies

Emma O’Driscoll, Laurie Ryan, Jane Kennedy, Niamh Walsh, Sarah Hoey, Michelle Delaney, Aoife Martin, Louise Henchy (capt 1-3, Emma Glynn, Naoimi Carroll, Niamh Keane 0-3, Sonya Maher 0-1, Shonagh Enright, Niamh O’Dea 0-5 (0-3f), Megan Haugh (0-2)

Subs: Mary Tierney for E. Glynn, Irene Hehir for S. Enright, Rebecca Coughlan for A. Martin,


Referee: Ml. Bohannon (Shannon Gaels)

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