*Clare’s Zi Yan Spillane. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

Having gone through the recently concluded league campaign without a win, Clare camogie received a great boost when getting their All-Ireland championship off to a winning start.

Clare 1-14
Down 1-5
Venue: Cusack Park, Ennis

A strong second half showing in which they confined the visitors to a point, sealed a merited win which will be a big boost to the team as they head to Dublin next weekend for their second round tie in the Glen Dimplex All-Ireland senior camogie championship.

After a somewhat tame opening twenty minutes at the end of which the sides were on level terms at 0-2 each, the contest livened up somewhat when Sophie McGrath’s low shot from 20m slipped past Rachel Daly in the Clare goals.

This helped the visitors to a four point lead and this was still the position with two minutes of the scheduled thirty remaining.

A Laura Foley point brought Clare to within three and a minute later they were on level terms after joint team captain Aine O’Loughlin soloed through from 50m and blasted to the net.

Clare closed out the half with points from Roisin Begley and Caoimhe Cahill to lead by two, 1-6 to 1-4 when referee Andy Larkin sounded the half time whistle.

Four unanswered points in the opening twelve minutes of the second half saw Clare take a firm grip on proceedings.

Indeed they could well have had a greater lead at this stage but poor shooting proved costly.
Entering the final quarter Down stepped up the pressure but they could not break down a Clare defence in which the half back trio of Ellen Casey, Ciara Grogan and Niamh Mulqueen dominated.

Further afield Aine O’Loughlin, Caoimhe Cahill, Roisin Begley and Laura Foley were prominent and between them picked off some great scores.

Clare had the points secured before Down were reduced to fourteen when substitute Grace Cunningham was sent off on the fifty seventh minute.

Clare made a number of substitutions in the final quarter and Hannah Mai Neylon impressed and picked off a fine point.

Scorers Clare: Aine O’Loughlin (1-2, 0-2 frees); Roisin Begley (0-4); Laura Foley (0-3); Caoimhe Cahill (0-2); Caoimhe Cahill, Zi Yan Spillane, Hannah Mai Neylon (0-1) each

Scorers Down: Sophie McGrath (1-1); Ciara Fitzsimons (0-2, 1f); Saoirse Sands, Isabella O’Hare (0-1) each

Clare:
1: Rachel Daly (Scariff/Ogonnelloe)

2: Susan Daly (Scariff/Ogonnelloe)
3: Abby Walsh (Scariff/Ogonnelloe)
4: Muireann Scanlan (Cratloe)

5: Ellen Casey (Newmarket-on-Fergus)
6: Ciara Grogan (Clooney/Quin)
7: Niamh Mulqueen (Broadford)

8: Caomhe Carmody (Kilmaley)
9: Lynda Daly (Scariff/Ogonnelloe)

10: Labhaoise O’Donnell, Scariff-Ogonnelloe
11: Laura Foey, Truagh-Clolara
12: Aine O’Loughlin (Truagh/Clolara (Joint captain)

13: Caoimhe Cahill (Kilmaley)
14: Roisin Begley (Truagh/Clonlara)
15: Zi Yan Spillane (Feakle/Killanena)

Subs:
19: Cliodhna Queally (Inagh/Kilnamona) for A. Walsh (23)
20: Jennifer Daly (Scariff/Ogonnelloe) for L. O’Donnell (42)
23: Hannah Mai Neylon (Clarecastle/Ballyea) for Spillane (42)
17: Aoife Anderson (Ruan) for C. Cahill (49)
18: Grace Carmody (Kilmaley) for L. Foley (49)

Down:
1: Aoife Sherry (Mayobridge)

2: Orla Browne (Leitroim Fontenoys)
3: Dearbhla Coleman (Portaferry)
4: Emily Fitzpatrick (Mayobridge)

5: Orlaith McCusker (Clonduff)
6: Betj Fitzpatrick (Clonduff)
7: Rhea Smyth (Ballycran)

8: Isabella O’Hare (Clonduff)
18: Niamh McGrath (Aghaderg)

10: Saoirse Sands (Portaferry)
11: Ciara Fitzsimmons (Ballygalget)
12: Dearbhla Magee (Liatroim Fontenoys)

13: Sophie McGrath (Ballycran)
14: Aoife McDowell (An Riocht)
15: Ceallagh Byrne (Clonduff)

Subs:
19: Claire McGilligan (Clonduff) for O. Brown (half time)
17: Grace Cunningham (Mayobridge) for A. McDowall (35)
20: Gerra McGrattan (Portaferry) for D. Coleman (49)
21: Aimee O’Hanlon (Ballyholland) for R. Smith (56)

Referee: Andy Larkin (Cork)

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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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