Munster Under 16A Shield Final
Clare 4-9 Waterford 1-9
Clare retained the Munster Under 16A Shield on Bank Holiday Monday as four timely goals saw them eventually power away from Waterford.
After a nervy start, the Banner quickly warmed to their task with a brace of goals from Lorna McNamara cementing a four point interval lead before Gretta Hickey and Aoibhinn Ryan completed the job in the second period.
Clare can also be very thankful to goalkeeper Rachel Daly who was inspirational throughout and pushed McNamara very close for the Player-of-the-Game award.
All that after Waterford hit the ground running with a brace of Annie Fitzgerald points inside three minutes of the throw-in. However, Clare response was decisive as only two minutes later, a back-to-front move started with goalkeeper Daly and ended with Gretta Hickey teeing up McNamara for Clare’s opening goal.
Waterford initially resisted through impressive duo Clodagh Carroll and Fitzgerald, however those points would be matched by Clare’s chief threats Gretta Hickey and McNamara to ensure a 1-2 to 0-4 advantage.
In a seesaw battle for control, three points without reply through Carroll, Keeley Corbett Barry and Sarah Lacey put the Deise back in front by the midway mark and the damage could have been greater only for goalkeeper Daly to be in stubborn form for the defending champions.
However, it was Clare who finished the half firmly on the frontfoot as points from Finia O’Brien, McNamara and substitute Siobhan Lenihan sandwiched a second goal for the Killanena star after her near telepathic understanding with Hickey ensured a 2-5 to 0-7 interval cushion.
Waterford craved a response but it was the Banner County who inflicted another telling blow in the opening minute of the new half after a Finia O’Brien shot was repelled by goalkeeper Emma Norris, only for Hickey to react quickest to kick to the net and push her side seven clear.
By the turn of the final quarter, that margin was extended to nine after Clare had fired three of the next four points, two from Aoibhinn Ryan at 3-9 to 0-9. However, with the finish line in sight, Clare took their foot off the gas a little which allowed a resolute Waterford to capitalise as Lacey got in for a goal entering the final straight.
Clare quickly sparked back into action and would finally make the game safe on the hour mark when Becky Foley intercepted a clearance and played the ball through McNamara for Aoibhinn Ryan to billow the net.
Waterford never gave up but were denied a consolation goal by the heroics of Daly who pulled off a point blank stop in injury-time before Clare finally cemented a fourth Munster Under 16A Shield title in five years.
Clare: Rachel Daly (Scariff-Ogonnelloe); Emer Cotter (Inagh-Kilnamona), Roisin Minogue (Bodyke), Sinead Ryan (Truagh/Clonlara); Ella McNamara (Killanena) (Captain), Caoimhe Kelly (Kilkishen), Susan Daly (Scariff-Ogonnelloe); Ciara Halpin (Clooney-Quin), Becky Foley (Truagh/Clonlara); Lorna McNamara (Killanena) (2-2 1f), Fiana O’Brien (Sixmilebridge) (0-2), Aisling Hannan (St Joseph’s); Lynda Daly (Scariff-Ogonnelloe), Gretta Hickey (Whitegate) (1-1), Aoibhinn Ryan (Inagh-Kilnamona) (1-2)
Subs: Siobhan Lenihan (Kilkishen) (0-1) for Cotter, Aoife Corey (Ruan) (0-1) for Hannan, Siofra Ni Chonaill (St Joseph’s) for S. Ryan, Ellie Edge O’Neill (Killanena) for Halpin, Grace Russell (Clarecastle) for Hickey
Player of the Game Lorna McNamara (Clare)