Clare’s wait for an All-Ireland minor camogie title goes on.
Their latest final defeat, their fourth in ten years, came at the hands of Galway at McDonagh park in Nenagh on this Saturday afternoon and while the final scoreline is somewhat harsh on Clare, there is no denying the merit of Galway’s win.
In capturing the title, Galway repeated their success of 2010 when they also proved too strong for Clare, in a replay on that occasion.
From an early stage in today’s final, Galway looked the stronger side but there was nothing to suggest throughout the opening half that the final scoreline would be as one sided. There was only one team in this tie in the second half when Galway dictated matters throughout and, indeed, were it not for goalkeeper Ciara McCarthy who made a number of impressive saves, Clare’s defeat would surely have been much heavier.
Galway attacked from the throw in and registered the first wide inside thirty seconds before opening the scoring through Mairead Dillon after one minute. Clare responded with pointed frees from Laura Foley and Aoife Power to lead for the only time in the game but Elisha Broderick had the teams on level terms in the seventh minute when her effort was just over the crossbar.
Galway brought goalkeeper Sarah Healy up to take a penalty in the tenth minute but her effort was saved. However they hit back four minutes later for the opening goal of the game, Mairead Dillon shooting to the net following a delivery from a long range free by team captain Leanne Helebert.
Two points frees from Carrie Dolan followed and Galway had opened a five point lead with twelve minutes still to play in the opening half. From here to the half time whistle Clare had the better of matters and outscored the winners by 0-4 to 0-1 to trail by two at half time when the score was 1-5 to 0-6 in the winner’s favour.
While the odds still favoured the Connacht side, nobody would have predicted such a one sided game in the second half at this stage. In an effort to improve their attack which struggled throughout the opening period, Clare introduced Sinead Conlon at the interval in place of Evelyn Duggan, the first of a number of changes made by the Clare mentors.
Galway attacked from the resumption of play and it took an impressive double save by Ciara McCarthy in the Clare goal to prevent them from extending their lead. Five minutes into the half they had a point from Elisha Broderick and Carrie Dolan quickly added one from a free before a goal from Ciara Helebert put seven points between the sides and left Clare with a huge task on their hands.
From here on there was really only one team in it as Galway piled on the pressure. Ten minutes from time Carrie Dolan struck for their third goal, a score which put the winners twelve points clear.
Clare made a number of changes in the second half and its an indication of how their forward line struggled that four of the starting six in this area were replaced. Adding to Clare’s woes was the fact that they finished with fourteen players as they had used their full complement of substitutes when Shauna Canny suffered an injury and had to leave the field of play.
Goalkeeper Ciara McCarthy, Alannah Ryan, Emma Kennedy and Laura Foley were promiment for Clare on a day when a number of their key players were well policed by Galway.
Leah Burke, named as the player of the game, Leanne Helebert, Molly Mannion, Niamh Horan, Elisha Broderick and Siobhan McGrath were prominent throughout for the winners.
Galway; Sarah Healy; Sinead Cannon, Leah Burke, Erica Leslie; Caoimhe Garvey, Leanne Helebert (captain) Molly Mannion; Niamh Horam, Shannon Ridge; Siobhan McGrath (0-1), Sarah Spellman (1-0) Ciara Helebert (1-0); Mairead Dillon (1-1), Elisha Broderick (0-2), Carrie Dolan (1-8);
Subs; Karie Screene (0-1) for Ridge; Ava Lynskey (0-1) for Horan; Rachel Murphy for Cannon; Mary Dunphy for Broderick.
Clare; Ciara McCarthy; Laoise Ryan, Alannah Ryan, Ciara Doyle; Ciara Grogan, Emma Kennedy (captain) Amy Barrett; Laura Foley (0-3), Louise Egan; Evelyn Duggan, Bridin Dinan, Aoife Power (0-2); Laura McGrath, Aine O’Lougfhlin (0-1), Olivia Phelan
Subs; Sinead Conlon for Duggan; Sinead Power for Egan; Shauna Canny for Phelan; Eileen Daly for A.Power; Mary Enright for Dinan;
Referee; Liz Dempsey, Kilkenny