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Clare Seniors V Waterford Munster Intermediate Final 2015

Clare Ladies Footballers have met Waterford twice in as many weeks but last Saturday, it was the Munster Intermediate Final that was at stake and the big question was who had learned the most in the previous round robin dress-rehearsal. There were some similarities to the previous game in that Clare failed to capitalise on two early goal opportunities and they let their opponents pull away early on in the second half but from the throw-in it looked like John Burke’s side were up for the game and the half-time level score was an indication of that.

Waterford opted to play against a strong head-wind for the first half but by the second minute they had registered two points from Maria Delahunty as they drove forward with very good ball retention skills. Clare responded very well and Grainne Nolan had released the pressure by pointing for the Saffron and Blue on the fourth minute. In a very industrious spell, a determined Clare attack pushed on by Niamh Keane and Becky Mahon from the centre, had both Carol O’Leary and Grainne Nolan see their goal chances spurned within a minute of each other, the value of which would become very clear later on. But good pressure saw Roisin Howley level on six minutes with Clare’s second point. Waterford avoided the long kicks into the head-wind and their handling was impressive as they worked the ball forward as Sinead Ryan took the first of three consecutive points. With Clare finding it difficult to gauge the strength of their supporting wind and often over-kicking, Waterford worked the ball out from deep in their half and tacked on two more points from Hannah Landers going into the second quarter (0-5 for Waterford and 0-2 for Clare).  In answer to that, an inspiring fifty meter solo run by Louise Woods eventually found Grainne Nolan who pointed for Clare on fifteen minutes and a Clare pressure wave for the next five minutes brought them level again courtesy of two pointed frees from Ailish Considine. There was good work from Emma O’Driscoll, Laurie Ryan and Grainne Harvey  in the full back line and this was bolstered by Clare Hester, Louise Woods and Ellie O’Gorman on the line outside them. Clare were responding well but losing a lot of ball to the wind and it seemed like they were always chasing the game. Mary Foley pointed from play and a Maria Delahunty pointed free again pushed the Deise into a two point lead again but they also kicked five wides for the reminder of the half. In the last two minutes a tenacious Clare side would not let go and when Roisin Howley released Ailish Considine to point on thirty minutes, Becky Mahon did likewise and Considine levelled for the Saffron and Blue with her fourth consecutive point at 0-7 a-piece. Clare found it difficult to marshall the strong wind, over-kicking the ball into the oppositions hands, it remained to be seen if Waterford would do likewise.   

When referee Kieran Creed from Cork restarted, the Deise girls were immediately over the bar. In a difficult spell against the headwind, Clare found it hard to clear their defensive lines and with balls falling short, Clare had no answer to the swarming attackers and found themselves five points in arrears at the end of the third quarter 0-12 to 0-7, even with Aileen Wall sin-binned for a rash tackle. Custodian Ciara Coughlan who has been outstanding in the campaign to date was switched out for the more experienced Emma O’Driscoll for the last quarter and with the backs now playing the short game, some hard slogging by Grainne Harvey, Ellie O’Gorman, Kayleigh McCormack and Carol O’Leary rejuvenated the Clare attack. Grainne Nolan then goaled magnificently into the top left hand corner from the twenty bringing Clare within 2 points of Waterford at 1-7 to 0-12 but three minutes later Grainne Kenneally claimed it back with a goal of her own (Clare 1-7 to Waterford’s 1-12). A very fast paced game had Clare bearing down on their opponents goalmouth in the next manoeuvre and with Orlaith Lynch on the ball, she was brought down as she was winding up to release to the ball to the net.  Roisin Howley came forward for the penalty and as goalie Katie Hannon rebounded the ball back out, Howley placed it beautifully inside the right hand post on her second chance, restoring the two point gap. With nine minutes to go, Waterford used the wind to keep the ball in the Clare half with some longs balls and added two points before the whistle arrived, one from a free, when it finished 2-7 to Waterford’s 1-14.

The big issues for Clare from the round robin game with Waterford two weeks earlier seemed to follow them into the Final, namely failing to take goal chances early on and loosening their hold on their opponents to let them go five points ahead at the start of the second half. Not managing to capitalise in the first half put huge pressure on the Clare in the second half, penning most of the team into their own side of the field for long spells and registering only 2 scores(2 goals)compared  to Waterford’s eight scores (1-7).

The Clare girls now await the outcome of the LGFA national championship qualifier draw that will see them in action in early August.

 

Clare: 1. Ciara Coughlan (Kilmihil), 2. Emma O’Driscoll (Banner Ladies), 3. Laurie Ryan (capt) (Banner Ladies),  4. Grainne Harvey (West Clare Gaels), 5. Clare Hester (Fergus Rovers), 6. Louise Woods (Banner Ladies), 7. Ellie O’Gorman (Kilmihil), 8. Niamh Keane (Banner Ladies), 9. Becky Mahon (Kilmihil), 10. Roisin Howley (1-1, 1 pen.) (Burren Gaels), 11. Ailish Considine (0-4, 1f) (Kilmihil), 12, Marie Considine, 13. Grainne Nolan (1-2) (Banner Ladies), 14. Emer Hillery (Liscannor), 15. Carol O’Leary (Newmarket-on-Fergus), 17. Fiona Tuohy (Doora-Barefield), 18. Orlaith Lynch (Banner Ladies), 19. Carla Behan (Shannon Gaels), 20. Kate Coughlan (Kilmihil), 21. Sarah Browne (Kilmihil), 22. Ciara Cahill (Doora-Barefield), 23. Karen Roche (Banner Ladies), 24. Amy O’Brien (Burren Gaels), 25. Aoife Keane (Banner Ladies), 27. Kayleigh McCormack (Burren Gaels).Subs Used: Fiona Tuohy, Orlaith Lynch, Carla Behan, Aoife Keane and Kayleigh McCormack.    



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