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Match Report Banner .v. Miltown Clare Senior Championship

Match Report Banner .v. Miltown Clare Senior Championship

The Banner 2 – 11 Miltown 2 – 10


Rarely does a game merit the accolade of epic or thriller but for
all present to witness this Clare Senior Ladies semi – final there
are no superlatives available to describe this magnificent game.
On show were two teams committed to playing their hearts out for
their respective clubs and in the process server up one of the finest
and most memorable games of ladies football ever witnessed in Clare.

The pity of this game was that there had to be a loser such was
the skill and commitment of both teams. Miltown, the reigning Clare
champions, entered this game knowing that the Ennis town representatives
The Banner Ladies would provide a stiff challenge. No one ever doubted
the Banner’s potential but few expected their overall performance
in Kilmihil on Saturday.

From the throw in The Banner dominated but failed to convert their
early dominance into scores. Wind assisted the Ennis team missed
several scoring opportunities before the Miltown girls showed them
the way with points from Aoife Healy and Denise Sexton in the second
and fourth minute. The Banner had significant wind advantage at
this stage so these early Miltown scores were worrying. County star
Louise henchy led by example with points in the sixth and ninth
minute and the effervescent Mary Tierney popped an eight minute
point for the Ennis girls. Game on in earnest with two super teams
battling for supremacy. The excellent Aoife Healy equalized for
Miltown on the quarter hour only for Henchy to edge the Ennis side
a point ahead a minute later.

With the game swinging from end to end, and all in attendance breathless
from the standard of fare on offer, a very significant passage of
play ensued. The Banner’s Niamh Keane launched a speculative lob
towards the Miltown goal and wind assisted appeared to be going
over the bar for an excellent point. Niamh’s shot suddenly dipped
and flew to the corner of the Miltown net past the hapless Catherine
Shannon. From the kickout Miltown launched a formidable attack and
were in on goal when The Banner keeper Maria Hennessy was adjudged
to have fouled the incoming Miltown attacker. An undisputed penalty
resulted and the self same Hennessy was transformed from villain
to hero when she produced an excellent save from Healy to deny the
Miltown girls. Banner captain Louise henchy and Miltown’s Niamh
Coyne traded a point apiece to finish the first half scoring to
leave the half time score at The Banner 1 – 6, Miltown 0 – 5. Following
this enthralling first half the game was nicely poised for good
second half.

Miltown opened their second half account with an excellent point
from play from Aoife Healy in the second minute, When the wind assisted
Spanish Point ladies drew level a minute later thanks to a Fíona
Lafferty goal the writing appeared to be on the wall for the Ennis
team and indeed for the game as a contest. Niamh Keane threw The
Banner a lifeline with a thirty seventh minute point but when Michelle
McCaw blasted the ball to The Banner net on thirty nine minutes
the reigning champions looked homeward bound and secure for a place
in the 2006 county final. From the kickout, and totally against
the run of play Louise Henchy bore down on the Miltown goal. Her
attempted placed shot was excellently saved by keeper Catherine
Shannon but unfortunately for Shannon the ball rebounded to corner
forward Harriet Hamilton who dispatched and unstoppable shot high
into the Miltown net. Game on again with The Banner again a point
to the good. Their lead was short lived however with Healy and Lafferty
again restoring Miltown’s lead with excellent points to leave them
a point ahead with fifteen minutes remaining. Henchy again equalised
for The Banner on forty eight minutes and suddenly the whole complexion
of the game changed. Miltown somehow managed to rattle off seven
wides in succession while the more economical Ennis team scored
three invaluable points from Louise henchy, Niamh Keane and Niamh

With time almost up favourites Miltown found themselves three points
in arrears, In fairness they threw everything bar the kitchen sink
at the Banner and they attacked in waves A point on sixty two minutes
from Healy and another on sixty three minutes narrowed the gap to
a single point. All eyes and ears were now on referee James Murrihy
and despite a further two minutes of injury time Miltown could not
find the equalising score. From a Banner kickout, following another
Miltown wide, the final whistle finally sounded and the reigning
champions were out. The Banner team stood momentarily shocked with
their achievement before tremendous celebrations ensued. Similar
to Miltown last year this is the first time the Ennis team has qualified
for a senior final. Though novices at this stage if they give a
repeat performance of this display in the final they will be more
than a handful for any opposition.

While scoring forwards generally get post match accolades Caoimhe
McNamara was definitely the player of the match for the Banner at
left corner back. Time and again she thwarted the Miltown attack
with timely interceptions and emphatic clearances. Louise Henchy
and Niamh Keane also stood out for the winners while Aoife Healy
and Fíona Lafferty excelled for the losers.

Ladies football was however the major winner on the day and great
credit is due to both teams and their respective mentors for the
excellent contest that unfolded. Credit also to referee James Murrihy
who put in a great performance and his handling of the game added
to the overall spectacle.

The Banner: Maria Hennesy, Patricia Ryan, Louise Skelly, Coimhe
McNamara, Michelle Delaney, Sarah Hoey, Niamh Cavanagh ( 0 – 1),
Louise Henchy (0 – 6), Jane Kennedy, Aoife Cavanagh, Niamh Keane
(1 – 2), Sonia Maher,, Harriet Hamilton (1 – 1), Emma O’Driscoll,
Mary Tierney.

Subs: Edel Griffin, Louise McNamara, Catríona Connellan

Miltown: Catherine Shannon, Siobhán Lafferty, Lorraine Griffin,
Karen Egan, Deirdre Killeen (Capt.), Marie Killeen, Tara Glynn,
Sandra Malone, Diane Kelly, Aoife Healy (0 – 7), Michelle McCaw
(1 – 0), Edel Hynes, Niamh Coyne (0 – 1), Fíona Lafferty
(1 – 1), Denise Griffin (0 – 1).

Dr. Paul McKenna

Secretary/PRO Banner Ladies Football Club


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