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Clare Seniors V Waterford Round Robin Championship 2015

Clare travelled to Waterford in the round robin phase of the Munster Ladies Gaelic Football Intermediate Championship last Sunday knowing that regardless of the outcome they will have to do it all again on July 11th in the Munster Final.

Both teams approached the game with an element of caution, careful to disguise their true hand but in spite of that an entertaining game was played out.

A very positive attitude by Clare saw them in attack mode from the outset and after the hosts opened with the first point, Clare’s Emer Hillery was looking down the mouth of the goal twice in as many minutes only have the ball fall awkwardly in one diverted attempt and have a solid save by the goalie for a fifty meter free. Ellie O’Gorman then took a beautiful point from the top drawer to level. When Waterford pushed their way to to a three point lead, Clare were back on level terms despite missing a very scorable free kick and the woodwork denying Niamh Keane whose work rate on the day was massive. Keane’s presence inside the twenty was rewarded with a point on her next effort and this was followed up by a well taken Kate Coughlan point and a converted Grainne Nolan free. When the Deise came through with an impressive goal with five minutes to go, Clare were beating at their opponents door but two frees won in the last five minutes went a begging and when they tacked on another point, Clare were four points behind going in for the break. The Clare side will have felt their handling let them down in the opening half, giving a lot of ball away with unforced errors and lacked venom in their final execution of attacking plays and frees. The first half finished with Waterford 1-5 to 0-4 for Clare.

The second half was a much better performance from Clare and they matched their opponents in scores throughout but dropped a clanger when they conceded a goal in the last minute of the game. Good running from Marie Considine released Grainne Nolan for her first of the half. Thereafter, it was score for score throughout the half. Emma O’Driscoll was back in her old position for the day and made several vital blocks in the early stages of the half to keep the Deise out of the net. A more determined focus by the Clare girls saw a good all-round improvement from one end to the other with  a higher rate of ball retention, supporting play going forward and accurate shooting.

Two additional points from Grainne Nolan in the opening quarter showed a more cohesive team effort as she was setup first by Ciara Cahill and then by Ellie O’Gorman. Best for Waterford in this period was Linda Wall and Michelle Ryan who took several retaliatory scores. With the four point gap of the first half not being closed, Clare were evenly matched in this half but lacked the killer goals that served them well in their prior games against Tipperary and Limerick. Nevertheless, Nolan was over the bar again coming up to the whistle and Niamh Keane took her second of the game with three minutes to go making it 0-10 to 2-12. The last few minutes saw a great spurt by Waterford to push ahead with a goal and a point to make it an eight point lead. Ciara Cahill took the last Clare score of the day with a confident manoeuvre to finish 0-11 for Clare and 2-12.

It never looked like Clare were going to close the four point gap that remained throughout the second half but another last minute clanger in the second half doesn’t reflect the intense nature of the game. Clare paid the price for not taking scorable chances in the first half. This could have been because of the cloaked nature of the team that was fielded on the day or perhaps a motivational deficiency because of the upcoming game that really counts, the Munster Intermediate Final in Mallow on Sunday 11th July at 2pm.




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