*Laurie Ryan excelled for the winners. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

BANNER Ladies claimed a twelfth senior title in fourteen seasons with a deserved ten point win over Kilmihil.

Banner Ladies 3-09
Kilmihil 1-05
Venue: Shanahan McNamara Memorial Park, Doonbeg

By Derek Dormer

After a tough battle with bodies being thrown on the line in pursuit of glory, Banner Ladies produced a clinical second half display to overcome the 2019 champions.

The opening was slow and there was an abundance of nervous tension by both sides. Matters weren’t helped with some serious fifty fifty clashes leading to the physios of both sides being kept very busy.

Scores were at a premium and in fact we only had three scores in the opening quarter with Kilmihil leading two points to one at the first water break. A Grainne Nolan free for the Banner and Ellie O’Gorman and Catriona Callinan pointing for Kilmihil.

The second quarter was another tightly contested period with both sides converting frees. The best score of the half was a tremendous Kate Coughlan point and at the interval the teams were deadlocked at 5 points apiece.

From here to the end the Banner simply took over. Inspired by the hard running industrious Laurie Ryan they would outscore their opponents 1-2 to nothing courtesy of a wonderful Grainne Nolan goal, finishing delightfully to the bottom corner after being put through by player of the match Laurie Ryan.

Kilmihil’s best chance fell to Laura Egan only to see Emma O’Driscoll pull off a point blank save. Allied to this two strangely missed frees from the ever reliable Becky Mahon and the title looked destined to be heading to the Banner.

The fourth quarter saw a piece of play worthy of winning any county title. In what was an incredible act of unselfishness, Laurie Ryan bore down on the goal with only the keeper to beat she hand passed to her team mate Laoise Ryan to palm to the empty net. This passage alone epitomised the Banner philosophy of always finding a team mate in the better position.

Kilmihil battled bravely and raised their own green flag in the fifty seventh minute courtesy of Edel McNamara but moments later Laurie Ryan would complete her own hat trick of assists freeing up substitute Niamh O’Dea who rounded the keeper before blasting to the net.

Best for the winners were the aforementioned Laurie Ryan, Grainne Nolan and Aoibheann Malone while Kilmihil can be thankful to keeper Micaela Glynn for two outstanding saves, Ellie O’Gorman and the hard working Becky Mahon.

Scorers Banner Ladies: Grainne Nolan (1-3 3f), Laoise Ryan (1-1), Niamh O Dea (1-0), Aoibheann Malone (0-2), Aoibhinn Ryan (0-2), Shonagh Enright (0-1).

Scorers Kilmihil: Edel McNamara (1-0), Becky Mahon (0-2 2f), Ellie O’Gorman (0-1), Catriona Callinan (0-1), Kate Coughlan (0-1).

Banner Ladies
1: Emma O Driscoll

2: Siobhan McMahon
3: Clare Hehir
4: Sinead O’Keeffe

5: Laoise Ryan
6: Eva O’Dea
7: Sarah Ni Cheallaigh

8: Laurie Ryan
9: Louise Woods

10: Shonagh Enright
11: Aoife Keane
12: Grainne Nolan

13: Aoibhinn Ryan
14: Aoibheann Malone
15: Louise Henchy

Subs:
Sinead Power for Henchy (15) (inj)

Kilmihil
1: Micaela Glynn

2: Rosie Currane
3: Dervla Higgins
4: Elaine O’Halloran

5: Kate Caughlan
6: Ellie O’Gorman
22: Megan Downes Rigney

8: Laura Egan
9: Catriona O’Gorman

20: Cathy Keating
11: Catriona Callinan
18: Carol Browne

13: Edel McNamara
14: Becky Mahon
15: Katie Mullin

Subs:
Chloe Devitt for Browne (36)
Sarah Browne for Keating (46)

Referee: Michael Talty (Kilmurry Ibrickane)

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If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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