Make or break time for Clare

or break time for Clare


Clare Ladies Board Press Release 03-04-2007

Suzuki National League Div. 2 Quarter Final Preview

Venue: Cooraclare, Co. Clare.

Date: Easter Saturday. Time: 3.00pm

It’s make or break time for the Clare ladies football team
this Saturday as they face Wexford in the quarter final
of this year’s Suzuki Division 2 National League. This is
a must win game for the home county and is an acid measure
as to whether the team has progressed beyond last year’s
Div. 3 exploits. Clare’s two wins to date came over teams
they had previously beaten in the course of last season’s
games so a win over Wexford would indeed be an indicator
of progress. To date this year when the serious question
has been asked of the Clare team their response has fallen
short of what was required but Saturday will be an opportunity
to put the Dublin and Sligo defeats behind them and progress
upwards on the ladies football national ladder.

Wexford will be formidable opponents however and come into
this game on the back of good wins over Roscommon, Longford
and Down. Their only defeat this far in the league was a
narrow away loss to Tipperary and they finished a very comfortable
second in their qualifying group. Thus they will enter this
game full of confidence off the back of two straight wins
and also cognisant of their superior record against Clare
in recent encounters. Deirdre Murphy’s Clare will however
be determined to put their two recent defeats behind them
and, in front of a vocal home support, will be anxious to
put in a performance worthy of Division Two challengers.

Clare have been unfortunate in their two most recent games
in that they were forced to line out on both occasions with
key players absent through illness and injury. With a full
squad available for selection on Saturday one can expect
a much better performance. Clare have not had a settled
look about their defensive line up this year and they hugely
miss the influential presence of Eithne Morrissey in commanding
their rearguard. Eithne suffered a serious ankle injury
when playing for her club Cooraclare in the Munster Intermediate
final and was most unfortunate to again aggravate this injury
in her seasonal debut with her club against Miltown in this
year’s Clare senior league. Missing also from last year’s
defensive line up is Coolmeen’s Sinéad Eustace who has taken
up residence in Co. Kildare and has been unavailable for
selection to date. These player’s are big losses to the
Banner County’s cause in keeping opponents scores at a premium
and our concession of 8 – 32 in four matches to date in
the league bears this out.

On the plus side the newcomers in defence will have learnt
from every game played and will be well aware that their
performances will be under the spotlight on Saturday. Experienced
players, like Grace Lynch and Lorraine Kelly will be expected
to show leadership to those around them and ensure that
goalkeeper Emma O’Driscoll is well protected. At midfield
Louise Henchy has yet to regain her top form of last year’s
league but on her day Louise can be most influential in
orchestrating her team going forward. A dilemma all year
for the Clare selectors is finding a suitable partner for
Henchy at midfield. While Louise performed well in the centre
of the field last year her more natural role is that of
an attacking centre forward so it’s imperative that a sound
partner is found for her to allow her to break forward to
both make and take scores for Clare.

Clare’s half forward line is probably the team’s greatest
asset when on song. Players like captain Majella Griffin
in the centre and Niamh Keane and Marie Kelly on the wings
exude class and can make life difficult for even the most
determined of half backs. A big game will be required from
all three if Clare are to progress this weekend. Our full
forward line has struggled somewhat this year and has never
had a settled look about it but should Áine Kelly, Michelle
McCaw and Helen Quinn ignite on Saturday they could be the
difference of winning and losing for Clare. With Myra Daly
also waiting in the wings to regain a first team place this
should add added impetus to the performance of the prospective
front three.

In a nutshell I believe that if Clare can up their game
defensively they have the forwards up front to score enough
to win. The Banner County’s defensive performance however
remains their biggest conundrum. The Wexford forwards are
a well drilled unit and have an eye for taking goal chances
when presented to them so let the Clare rearguard beware.
My prediction is for a home win in a high scoring game.
I believe Clare has the firepower up front to outscore what
they concede defensively. However this may be as far as
they can progress in this year’s league unless they can
come up with a more cohesive defensive unit. End.

Dr. P. McKenna, PRO Clare 086 6036385

Sign up to our email newsletter


Partners & Supporters





See all LGFAClubs