*Caoimhe Harvey lifts the Division 3 title. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

VICTORIOUS Clare ladies football captain Caoimhe Harvey says they have been left with a “fantastic” feeling after securing league glory.

Clare were crowned Lidl Ladies Football National League Division 3 champions for the fifth time on Saturday following previous successes in 1990, 1991, 2006 and 2011.

During her acceptance speech, Caoimhe urged her teammates to stay focused on ensuring the league was not the only piece of silverware they obtain in 2024 and she thanked their supporters for sticking with them through thick and thin.

Speaking to The Clare Echo, the Querrin native admitted, “We’re absolutely thrilled to have got over the line, it was a battle right till the end but we always knew that was going to be the case. On Wednesday when we heard there was going to be a storm, we had that worrying aspect but the girls just dug in deep and fought right until the end”.

Storm Kathleen was not too prominent in St Brendan’s Park, Birr on Saturday for the tie and the West Clare pedigree of many of the Clare squad has seen them line out in stiffer breezes down through the years. “We have actually (played in worse winds), the lads over us they said every time they have come to Clare in the last eighteen months that it has been raining. We’ve played a few games this year in the league that were pretty poor so today is superb enough really”.

Early on it was Caoimhe who set the tempo powering through the middle of the Roscommon defence before offloading to Laurie Ryan who found Ailish Considine and she hit the net for Clare’s only goal.

This is all part of the leadership that players need to demonstrate. “It’s about giving the girls light and hope and showing we are actually good enough and put it up to the opposition. Even a girl that turns over a ball in the backs like Siofra, Grainne, Laurie, Teresa Collins, that is as good as a score, we are not letting them score. The girls really tried hard and worked for the sixty minutes, for me it is an absolute privilege”.

Clare’s Caoimhe Harvey. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

Her victory speech also mentioned “dark days” for ladies football in Clare. The West Clare Gaels dynamo noted that by Clare winning the league final, their place in Division 2 next season is fully merited. “We have been knocking on the door, I’ve been on the panel for the last eight years and we’ve been trying to win the intermediate championship, it wasn’t a great day when we got relegated and there is no point in hiding that, it is great to be back up in Division 2 and to get there by winning not by just being promoted, we are up there because we won it so it’s fantastic”.

Inter-county training for Clare takes a break for two weeks as players return to their clubs but when they reassemble in a fortnight, Caoimhe is confident they will be in a much better place given the silverware obtained. “It makes things a lot easier and exciting heading into championship, it gives us a buzz and that we have the confidence too”.

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Subscribe for just €3 per month

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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