It was a long hour for Clare camogie followers as the County Senior side were defeated easily by Tipperary on Saturday afternoon.
Venue: The Ragg, Drom & Inch.
Heading into this game both sides needed a win to guarantee an All-Ireland quarter-final place. The defeat puts Clare under pressure for next week’s bout with Derry as they must win by three goals, with a lack of firepower in the Banner attack this could be a very difficult task.
Roisin Howard and Cáit Devane were on target early to give Tipp the lead which they would never let go of. Chloe Morey opened Clare’s account from a free two minutes into the game. Three scores in succession from Devane had the hosts leading by four points with nine minutes played.
Inagh/Kilnamona’s Aoife Keane fielded a superb catch from a Denise Lynch free and pointed on the thirteenth minute but her effort was cancelled out by a long distance Brid Quinn free. Chloe Morey and Megan Ryan traded scores on two separate occasions with twenty one minutes played.
Eimear Kelly picked up her first score of the Championship on the twenty fourth minute in a move stemmed from a Carol O’Leary pull. Devane and Morey swapped points before the Clonulty Rossmore attacker added another effort in a well worked move. Ball-watching on Clare’s behalf allowed an unmarked Julie Anne Bourke to slot over a point with thirty minutes. A free from Cáit Devane increased Tipp’s advantage to six points but Keane replied for the Banner to cut the gap to five at the break.
Straight from the throw-in, Mairead Teehan tore through the Clare defence and offloaded to Megan Ryan who fired past Denise Lynch for the first goal of the game. Orlaith Duggan was harshly penalised for standing her ground and Cáit Devane popped over the resulting free. Sixmilebridge’s Morey added her side’s first score of the half with thirty three minutes on the clock.
Devane with three points and Morey with two, left eleven points between the team’s with fifty three minutes played. A glorious goal chance fell to Clare Hehir with four minutes of normal time remaining but her effort was blocked by Orla McEniry. Down the other end of the field, Tipperary substitute Nicole Walsh caught a eye ball after were Clare threw away possession and Walsh raised the second green flag of the game. An excellent long range score from Orlaith Duggan was cancelled out by a Devane point to confirm Tipp’s place in the quarter-finals.
These sides met on July 20th last year at the same stage of the competition with Clare easing to a 0-19 0-09 win. Twelve months later and Tipp come up trumps by thirteen points; seven of Clare’s fifteen starters remain from that clash while six remain from the Tipp team, it hasn’t been easy for Clare to cope with losing so many players but nonetheless such a turnaround is startling.
From the get-go Tipperary were tuned in and their movement on and off the ball was far more efficient than their Clare counterparts. Their star player Cáit Devane hit twelve points alone which was greater than what the entire Clare team could score. The Premier County have recovered well from their annihilation last week at the hands of Kilkenny.
Each of the six Tipp forwards looked dangerous but the same cannot be said for their opponents. A clear example of the difference between the sides was how each set of substitutes warmed up, trainer Ken McDonald ran side by side with the home side’s substitutes while Clare’s contingent pucked in two’s when preparing to enter the fray. Along with Devane, Julie Anne Bourke, Megan Ryan and Ciannait Walsh stood out.
Colm Honan’s charges lacked leadership in a contest they were chasing from the off. The body language of some players in key positions when things were going against Clare didn’t inspire confidence. Out of their six forwards, just two scored from play but management opted to substitute one of the two namely Eimear Kelly while no change was made at midfield were the Banner were blitzed.
In comparison with their opponents Clare’s amount of unforced errors was worrying, in almost every second play they dropped the sliotar or failed to control the ball. They must now beat Derry by three goals to qualify for the quarter-finals but having only scored one goal in the 2015 Championship this won’t be easy. In what was a poor collective performance, Aoife Keane and Andrea O’Keeffe showed well while Carol O’Leary had a solid opening half.
It must be noted that Clare haven’t had the best luck this year with a host of retirements and players opting out to travel, sport and work commitments, add in the dual debacle and the fact that an unnecessary six minutes of additional time were played last week allowing Dublin to snatch a draw. Clare are not getting any breaks on or off the field but the aforementioned points are no excuse for a clear regression.
Tipperary: Orla McEniry (Cahir); Ciannait Walsh (Éire Óg Annacarthy), Anne Evistan (Drom & Inch), Karen Fox (Éire Óg Annacarthy); Aoife McGrath (Drom & Inch), Mary Ryan (Moneygall), Brid Quinn (Silvermines) (0-01); Caoimhe Maher (Burgess Duharra), Julie Anne Bourke (Toomevara) (0-01); Mairead Teehan (Moneygall), Megan Ryan (St Cronans) (1-02), Gemma Grace (Duharra); Sarah Fryday (Clonoulty Rossmore) (0-01), Cáit Devane (Clonoulty Rossmore) (0-12 3f 1’65), Roisin Howard (Cahir) (0-01). Subs: Roisin Cahill (Kilruane McDonaghs) for Fox (55), Nicole Walsh (Borrisoleigh) (1-00) for Megan Ryan (57), Andrea Loughnane for Howard (57).
Clare: Denise Lynch (Kilmaley); Aoife Griffin (Newmarket-on-Fergus), Maire McGrath (Sixmilebridge), Emma O’Connell (Ballyea); Carol O’Leary (Newmarket-on-Fergus), Roisin McMahon (Newmarket-on-Fergus), Orlaith Duggan (Clooney/Quin) (0-01); Kate Lynch (Kilkishen), Clare Hehir (Inagh/Kilnamona); Andrea O’Keeffe (Inagh/Kilnamona), Eimear Kelly (Truagh/Clonlara) (0-01), Michelle Caulfield (Truagh/Clonlara); Aoife Keane (Inagh/Kilnamona) (0-02), Chloe Morey (Sixmilebridge) (0-07 7f), Ailish Considine (Kilmaley). Subs: Emma O’Driscoll (Kilmaley) for Kelly (37), Vera Loughnane (Feakle) for Caulfield (44), Kathleen Horgan (Truagh/Clonlara) for Griffin (50).
Referee: Karl O’Brien (Dublin).
All pictures taken by Caroline O’Keeffe.