*Clare’s Eimear Kelly. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill
PLAYING AN EXTRA GAME can stand to Clare’s senior camogie team as they renew their attempt to qualify for a Munster final.
Clare looked to have qualified for the Munster final when Eimear Kelly netted following a goalmouth scramble with sixty minutes on the clock in Sunday’s semi-final. However, Tipperary had other ideas and made the most of loose marking to allow Grace O’Brien equalise and send the tie to a replay.
Joint manager of the Clare side, Conor Dolan was upbeat with the outcome. “A draw can go either way, we’re just delighted, we’re still in the Munster championship, we’re going playing them again and hopefully a Munster final after that, we’re playing Tipperary the following weekend after that in the All-Ireland championship, this is good, we’re going in the right direction and we’re on an upward curve”.
“You can’t beat matches, give me a match over a training session any day of the week, you learn more from it, we’ve learned an awful lot from that game today, we’ll bring it into next weekend for the replay. The crowd here, when do girls get an opportunity like this to be playing in front of a crowd like this”.
Dolan was confident a big win was not far from Clare’s grasp. “Tipp are a good team, we were trying to focus on ourselves, Tipp are in semi-finals and they are not in them for the last four years for no reason, we went toe to toe with them, personally I think we outplayed them at times, it shows we are up with them, Tipp should have beaten Galway above in Ballinasloe in a league semi-final, I really do and I’ve said it since I’ve got involved with Clare camogie, these girls are coming so close, we just need that one win, we are close today, that win is coming close. The door is ajar we just need to drive it through”.
Speaking to The Clare Echo, the Meelick native noted the benefit to his charges of playing on big days. Their drawn game was a curtain-raiser to Clare’s senior hurlers beating Cork while this weekend they are on before the clash of Limerick and Tipperary in the Munster SHC at the Gaelic Grounds. “It took a while for us to get our first score of the second half and when we did you could really hear the crowd was in and it lifted you a small bit, maybe we didn’t help ourselves at times but it’s a learning curve and we’ll work on those during the week and hopefully hit the nail on the head”.
Wing-back Alannah Ryan is close to team selection, he confirmed. “She should be a couple of days closer to it, she picked up an unfortunate injury two weeks ago against Kilkenny in a challenge game, she was hit and miss as to whether she would be available, we said we wouldn’t chance it, she has a better chance of playing this weekend”.