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Banner BAllymac Munster Snr B Final

The Banner Ladies Senior footballers travelled to Sean Tracey Park in Tipperary town for their Munster Clubs Senior B Final last Saturday where they went toe to toe with Ballymacarbry of Waterford. The two sides had met twice at this stage previously and the Banner had taken the spoils on both occasions. Ballymacarbry had come to this Munster clubs final on the back of a recent All-Ireland Championship win where they had provided the back-bone of the Waterford team.

A very fast-paced game from start till the end, started with Waterford taking two rapid points from Michelle Ryan and Marian Ryan but the Saffron & Blue responded urgently with a Grainne Nolan pointed free after Niamh Keane was fouled and Niamh O’Dea threw over a second Banner point on ten minutes. By the end of the quarter, Ballymac had racked up five unanswered points as their super fitness and handling allowed them to run at will at the Clare sides defence often with their backs spear-heading the attack. Blue points from Aileen Wall and Michelle and Marian Ryan (two each) showed how dangerous they were going to be, making the score 0-7 to 0-2 for Ballymacarbry. The Banner then responded when Louise Henchy released Niamh O’Dea for their third point and O’Dea’s speed and agility had her over the bar for another soon afterwards but another five minute spell of play that stunned the Banner momentarily saw them pull away to 0-12 to 0-4 thanks to three Marian Ryan points and one each Eibhlis Cooney and Michelle Ryan again. The seeds of defiance were beginning to emerge when Karen Roche came close with her shot but two O’Dea points and an Orlaith Lynch point reduced the gap to five points 0-12 to 0-7. When Ballymac pointed in injury time, O’Dea cancelled that out with the last kick of the half, a pointed free. O’Dea had taken five of the Banner’s eight points but an ominous first half where a heretofore untested Banner defence struggled to marshall a rampant Ballymacarbry attack. Going in at the break lagging by five points, the Banner would have a mountain to climb in the second half.

On the resumption, a magnificent response to the Deise threat came instantly when a piercing run by Niamh Keane was laid off to Niamh O’Dea and she set up Karen Roche for the first of a six point claw-back by the Banner. O’Dea and Keane along with Louise Henchy and Louise Woods were instrumental during this phase in stopping ball on the Banner’s fifty metre line and taking the fight to the opposition. Some speedy distribution closed the gap point by point until they had drawn level with Ballymac on nine minutes into the second half. After Roches opener of the half, pointed contributions by Niamh O’Dea, Orlaith Lynch (2) and Aoibheann Malone (2) were well supported by Grainne Nolan and Karen Roche were interspersed by a blue point. After pulling level at 0-14 a piece on 9 minutes gone, Michelle Ryan’s point for Ballymacarbry was negated by another fine Niamh O’Dea point after a pass from Niamh Keane and the Banner had levelled for the second time at the end of the third quarter. After five minutes of cagey play from both sides when it seemed that the game would settle into a protracted war of attrition that would go down to the wire, a point from Ballymacarbry was the signal to resume their earlier game and when their goal came on twenty one minutes it was followed an additional six Deise points compared to one Banner point from Louise Henchy. Ballymacarbry demonstrated superior fitness and stamina in the last ten minutes and coupled with an attacking defence, they swamped the Clare side as they did in the opening twenty minutes.  The pain of previous Munster final losses to the Banner probably played a major part in this year of all years when seven Ballymacbry players already have All-Ireland medals on the side board. However, even though the loss of full back Laurie Ryan through injury and the unavailability of Naomi Carroll was untimely, they came tantalisingly close to despatching the Waterford side.

 

Banner: Emma O’Driscoll, Eva O’Dea, Laurie Ryan, Niamh Cavanagh, Orlaith Lynch, Sinead Quinn, Sinead Power, Louise Woods, Niamh Keane (Capt), , Grainne Nolan, Niamh O’Dea, Louise Henchy, Karen Roche,  Aoife Keane, Aoibheann Malone, Michaela Roughan, Sue Higgins, Siobhan McMahon, Emma Neylon, Allanah McNamara, Rachel Grogan, Chloe McNamara, Roisin Martin, Ciara Corbett, Olivia Tuohy, Anne Marie Meenaghan, Emma Kavanagh, Nicole Talty, Nicole Roche. Management: Joe Reidy, JJ O’Dea, Pat Crotty, Martin Nolan, Kieran McNamara.

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