2024 TG4 All-Ireland Finals tickets

West Clare Gaels .v. Banner Ladies

Clare Ladies Football 2008 County Senior League Final Preview

West Clare Gaels .v. Banner Ladies
Date: Saturday May 17th
Venue: Quilty
Time: 6.30pm
Referee: Michael Fitzgerald (Ballynacally)

All roads in the ladies football world will lead to Quilty on Saturday evening for the unique and novel pairing of West Clare Gaels and Banner Ladies in the 2008 Clare senior league final. Unique because neither team has contested a senior league final previously and novel because the qualification of these two teams could represent a shift in the balance of power away from the traditional powers in the adult game in Clare.

Both final contestants had significant semi-final wins over traditionally strong senior teams in the county with the Gaels accounting for 2005 championship winners Miltown by 4-13 to 1-9 and the Banner Ladies seeing off reigning county champions Cooraclare by a similar 4-15 to 1-9 score-line. With such emphatic recent wins under their belts both sides will enter the game brimful of confidence.

With all their underage success it is hard to credit that this is the town side's first ever senior league final. The Banner Ladies to date have flattered to deceive at senior level and apart from reaching the 2006 senior championship final they have always come up short at this level. The Gaels on the other-hand are a team in tremendous form following their formation as an amalgamated club just a couple of short years ago. Their county intermediate success and provincial junior success in 2007 bears testimony to this and they were decidedly unlucky to be defeated by a very strong Dublin side in the Junior Club All Ireland final last November. They won't lack confidence or experience entering Saturday's game.

Saturday's final has all the ingredients to produce a high scoring, free flowing thriller and should be well worth the admission price for the expected large attendance. Led by the doyenne of Clare ladies football Majella Griffin the Gaels have been prolific scorer's both this season and last. Not that they are overly dependant upon Majella when they also have ace forward Marie Kelly in their ranks. Expect these two to give the Banner Ladies' defence a torrid time on Saturday. The town team will be hopeful that their county defenders Michelle Delaney and Sarah Hoey can put the shackles on the powerful West Clare duo.

The town side will also look to leadership from county captain Louise Henchy and won't lack firepower up front either with Niamh Keane currently in blistering form. The Gaels will be hoping that Sinéad Kelly can marshal her defence to see off this threat.

Both sides play a fast open running game so plenty of excitement and incident is assured on Saturday and with both sides adept at capitalising on goal scoring opportunities expect the umpire with the green flag to be a busy man all afternoon. It's very hard to call this game but one is inclined to favour the West Clare side if only for the experience they gained in their epic championship journey last year. If Majella Griffin is on song she can prove a match winner on her own. Either way this game should be a cracker and well worth attending.

On Sunday the Intermediate League Final takes place between Shannon Gaels and Liscannor. This game also takes place in Quilty and has a 1.30pm throw in time.

Dr. Paul McKenna,
PRO Clare Ladies Football.

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