Liberty Insurance Senior Championship
Dublin 3-11 Clare 1-14
Clare travelled to Parnells GAA club on Saturday for the opening game of the Liberty Assurance All-Ireland Championship.
The sod was well splattered with wet patches after the heavy overnight rain and it wasn’t till 15 minutes before throw in that referee Owen Elliott cleared the pitch to play.
Dublin won the toss and elected to play into the breeze so with the wind at their backs Clare were first to break and full-forward Niamh O’Dea gave an immediate statement of her quality with a point inside the opening thirty seconds. Dublin went on the attack from the puckout and moved play to the Clare danger area, however a timely interception saw Carol O’Leary win back possession for the Banner and clear from danger.
Dublin hit a crucial purple patch between the fifth and eight minutes which saw then reap a vital 1-2. The first was a point from Emma Flanagan followed by an Ali Twomey point that began when goalkeeper Faye McCarthy found Eve O’Brien, who fed Eimear McCarthy and the next ball was laid off to Siobhan Kehoe for the final telling pass. Dublin came bursting back again when Hannah Hegarty had a go, her shot was partially blocked but it fell into the hand of Siobhan Keogh and she struck to the back of the Clare net, putting Dublin ahead by four points with eight minutes on the clock.
O’Dea responded with a Clare point almost immediately before a long range free from Roisin McMahon travelled to the square where O’Dea got the vital touch to raise a green flag for the visitors bringing the sides level with ten minutes played. Two more points from the ever-threatening O’Dea put Clare back in the driving seat, and this lead was made more comfortable by a super catch and point by Orla Devitt. The next passage of play saw O’Dea bearing down on goal again a minute later but a flick by Eve O’Brien denied the Banner woman.
The Dublin management responded with a telling switch, moving Miriam Twomey from the half forward line to full-back in an attempt to curb the raiding O’Dea, and Grainne Quinn assumed the role of sweeper.
Dublin didn’t add much to their tally in that closing quarter with only well struck point from a free by Aisling Maher momentarily halting the Clare roar. But the Banner girls hit two more points through a Chloe Morey free and substitute Andrea O’Keeffe from play just moments after being introduced to move 1-7 to 1-3 clear at the half time whistle.
A Morey free at the restart was followed by a brace from Dublin, Twomey on target from play followed by an Aisling Maher which narrowed Clares lead to three points. With the wind behind them, Dublin moved Twomey back to the half forward line however it was the Banner outfit who added the scores. Morey with a brace of frees, followed by an accurate strike between the posts from Devitt, opened up a six point lead for the Banner.
With referee Elliott awarding the home side some dubious frees, Dublin goalie Faye McCarthy struck over the next three scores from placed ball to half Clares lead. A Morey free extended the Banners lead back to four points with ten minutes remaining. However again the home side hit a purple patch, a free fifty yards out on the line was delivered long by McCarthy striking off the cross bar into the path of the waiting Maher who made it a one point game with her finish to the net. Two minutes later, the match turning moment came.
Alison Maguire had been introduced early in the second half and as Dublin launched a high ball into the Clare box Maguire won possession, passed to Claire Donnelly who laid off the ball to substitute Zoe O’Donoghue who hand passed to the net putting Dublin back in front for the first time since the eight minute. Morey again split the posts with a well struck free and it was back to a one point game.
McCarthy who was doubling as free taker made another journey from her goals where she extended Dublins lead back to two with another long range free. With four minutes of time remaining Morey again narrowed the deficit to a point, however Twomey finished over the bar with her next effort. Clare went on the attack from the puckout and with O’Dea on the run towards goal, the Dublin backs converged and again Elliotts decision to award a free out clearly frustrated the Clare supporters. McCarthy converted a free for the ast score of the game, to leave Dublin victorious 3-11 to 1-14.
Clare will play Waterford at home next Saturday.
Clare: Ciara McCargty Newmarket on Fergus; Amy Barrett Scariff Ogonnelloe, Máire McGrath Sixmilebirdge, Carol O’Leary Newmarket on Fergus; Laura McMahon Newmarket on Fergus, Clare Hehir Inagh Kilnamona, Roisin McMahon Newmarket on Fergus; Orlaith Duggan Clooney Quin, Ciara Grogan Clooney Quin; Aine o’Loughlin Truagh Clonlara, Aoife Keane Inagh Kilnamona, Aoibheann Duggan Clooney Quin; Orla Devitt Eire Og 0-2, Niamh O’Dea Kilmaley 1-4, Chloe Morey Sixmilebridge 0-7F
Subs: Andrea O’Keeffe Inagh Kilnamona 0-1 for A Duggan, Aoibheann Malone Corofin for O’Loughlin
Sat 17th June
Liberty Insurance Senior Championship
Cusack Park, Ennis: Clare v Waterford, 2.30pm