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NFL 2016 Div 2 Rd 7 Clare V Westmeath

After finishing the round robin games, Clare ladies senior footballers have qualified for a semi-final spot in Division 2 of the Lidl National football League 2016. This fact was known after round five but the source of great excitement came from the myriad permutations and combinations that prevented the final outcome of the top four teams. Although defeated by Westmeath eight points to six in a poor game in deplorable playing conditions, Clare will meet the Lake County again for the semi-final meeting scheduled for the weekend 23rd and 24th April.

The elements made play almost impossible in the last round of the division two series with gale force conditions preventing accurate kicking for both teams. Refereed by Seamus Mulvihill (Kerry), the first half finished three points apiece but it was Westmeath’s Maude Ann Foley who started the tally by converting a free from a foul on Ciara Blundell.  In a lovely spell of play, good ball retention by Ailish Considine and Aoife Keane released Louise Henchy  for a well taken point on twelve minutes and soon after an Ellie O’Gorman block deep in the Banner defence started a movement that ended with Grainne Nolan pointing Clare’s second point on seventeen minutes. Westmeath captain Jenny Rogers who played a captain’s part all day then pointed to level 0-2 each on twenty two minutes. When Orlaith Lynch setup club-mate Grainne Nolan with two minutes to the whistle, Karen Hegarty levelled againfor the last play of the first half. 0-3 each.

While Clare started spritely scoring from two Grainne Nolan points and an Ailish Considine goal effort was palmed over the bar by Sarah Keegan all within the first six minutes, that would the last of Clare’s scoring contribution for the day. Westmeath were very subdued in the third quarter but slowly turned the tables on Clare as first Ciara Blundell took her second point of the day and then Sandra McGrath pointed on twenty minutes gone. Westmeath levelled on twenty four minutes gone and a stubborn Lake County defence stood Clare up time and again as they faced into a strong headwind. In a spirited attacking display the visitors came off the upright and extracted a brave Ciara Harvey shot-stopper  before substitutes Sandra McGrath Sinead Whelan both pointed and pushed Westmeath into a two point win in the last two minutes.0-8 to 0-6.

A bad day for good football, it was Westmeath who displayed the better performance in the last quarter springing substitutes to take the win. Clare’s defence put in a good day’s work with Ellie O’Gorman, Claire Hester and Roisin Considine putting some great performances early on alongside captain Laurie Ryan, Eva O’Dea and Shauna Harvey. However, it will all have to be done again when they meet in the Division 2 Semi-final in two week’s time at a venue to be announced.   

1. Ciara Harvey (West Clare Gaels), 3. Eva O Dea (Banner Ladies), 6. Laurie Ryan (Banner Ladies), 2. Shauna Harvey (West Clare Gaels), 5. Roisin Considine (Liscannor), 19. Claire Hester (Fergus Rovers), 7. Ellie O Gorman (Kilmihil), 8. Louise Henchy (Banner Ladies), 12. Niamh Keane (Banner Ladies), 10. Aoife Keane (Banner Ladies), 11. Ailish Considine (Kilmihil), 17. Sarah Bohannon (Shannon Gaels), 13. Ciara Hickey (Kilmurry Ibrickane), 15. Grainne Nolan (Banner Ladies), 14. Orlaith Lynch (Banner Ladies) Subs 16. Emma O Driscoll   (Banner Ladies), 18. Kayleigh McCormack (Burren Gaels), 20. Laura Egan (Kilmihil), 21. Nicole O Doherty (Kilmurry Ibrickane), 22. Niamh O Dea (Banner Ladies), 4. Grainne Harvey (West Clare Gaels), 9. Becky Mahon (Kilmihil).



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