*Wayne Freeman. Photograph: Burren Eye Photography

As they put the final touches to preparations for Saturday’s Division 3 league final clash with Roscommon, the Clare ladies football team are in a good place.

That’s according to team manager Wayne Freeman who told The Clare Echo this week that “training has been really good and our focus is very much on bringing home silverware on Saturday”.

St. Brendan’s Park in Birr will host Saturday’s final which throws in at 4pm and Freeman is confident that his charges will have a big following at the Offaly venue.
When the sides met earlier in the campaign at Cusack Park in Ennis a draw was the outcome and another tight contest is expected this week.

A final decision on the fitness of Chloe Moloney won’t be made until nearer match time. The Kilmurry Ibrickane player has missed the last few games due to a leg injury. Lizzie Roche will definitely miss the game, she continues her recovery from an ACL injury.

Freeman explained, “A change was made to the structure of the competition this year which sees two teams promoted (last year it was just one). While both ourselves and Roscommon have been promoted for next season, that will not detract from the determination of both to win this title. We want silverware and I am sure that Roscommon are the same”.

He expects a strong challenge from Roscommon this weekend. “When Roscommon came to Cusack Park for the group game they were missing Lisa O’Rourke, one of their key players. We were disappointed with our performance that day, it was one of our poorest in the league but we finished strongly. Our concentration this week is on Saturday’s final. Roscommon are unbeaten and I am sure they will travel to Birr determined to maintain that record. The challenge for us is to remain focused on the task. As I’ve said, we have trained really well, we are in a really good place and the mood in the camp is great. Our opponents are a physically strong side and we will have to deal with that”.

Beaten in the All-Ireland final last year by Kildare, they are, of course, keen to go a step further this year. While Wayne acknowledged this is the case, he stressed that
they are not looking past Saturday’s league decider.
“After Saturday’s game we will have a break and the girls will go back to their clubs for a few weeks. The championship is in June and we will begin to prepare for that four or five weeks beforehand. Clare are the only intermediate team in Munster and while we would love to play in the Munster A championship, we weren’t allowed. We have always had the goal of winning the All-Ireland and that is still the target but there are still some very strong teams in the competition such as Westmeath, Tyrone and Roscommon to mention a few. We will focus on that in due course but right now all the focus is on Saturday’s league final,” the Kildare native said.

Freeman is confident that Clare will have a big following in Birr. “We have good support and it would be great to see a massive Clare following in Birr as it helps as we saw in Dublin last year”, he said.

It’s a settled Clare side which has key players in the Harvey sisters, Grainne and Caoimhe and Fidelma Marrinan (West Clare Gaels), Siofra Ni Chonaill (St. Josephs, Doora/Barefield), Roisin Considine (Tir Chonail Gaels), Teresa Collins (Burren Gaels) and Ailish Considine (Kilmihil) to mention some

Clare’s loyal followers will make the journey to Birr confident that team captain Caoimhe Harvey will be bringing the trophy back to Clare.

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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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