*Chloe Moloney kicked 0-3 for Clare. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

Clare’s ladies eventually managed to preserve their unbeaten start to 2024 but only after a dramatic injury-time leveller from Fidelma Marrinan in Cusack Park Ennis on Sunday afternoon.

Clare 1-7
Roscommon 1-7
Venue: Cusack Park, Ennis

In what was easily their most lacklustre performance to date, a sleepy second quarter against the conditions saw a spirited Roscommon kick 1-5 without reply to power to a seven point interval advantage.

The only way was up for Clare but it was only with Fidelma Marrinan’s 43rd minute goal that they finally sprung to life and suddenly there looked to be only one winner as further points through Chloe Moloney and top-scorer Marrinan regain full parity entering the final quarter.

However, they simply couldn’t get their noses in front as they somehow took their foot off Roscommon’s necks for the remainder. Having not scored in the second half and even finding it difficult to get out of their own half for the majority, the Rossies found a chink of light when the impressive Laura Fleming earned and converted a 59th minute free to nudge the visitors back in front at 1-7 to 1-6.

However, just when it seemed as if time would frustratingly run out on Clare’s backlash, up popped scorer-in-chief Marrinan to rescue a point.

Clare had also started the better against the conditions as frees from Marrinan and Moloney handed the Banner a 0-21 to 0-1 lead by the midway mark.

Lauren Shanagher found an equaliser but Clare would be sucker-punched in the next passage of play when a clearance was intercepted by Fleming, who passed through Ellen Irwin and Kate Nolan before offloading to Aisling Hanley to find the net on the turn in the 18th minute at 1-2 to 0-2.

With that, Roscommon quickly grew in confidence as Aisling Feeley (2), Hanley and Fleming kicked the last four points of the half whereas the hosts slumped to the last four wides to gladly hear the half-time whistle at 1-6 to 0-2.

Captain Caoimhe Harvey was the only consistent resistance and she maintained that tireless display in the new half to finally get her side moving through the gears.
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Early points from play through Marrinan and Moloney lessened the damage to five by the two-thirds mark but it needed a goal to kick-start Clare’s challenge as they dominated Roscommon’s restarts and Laurie Ryan earned a free at half-time that was taken by Ciara McCarthy.

The Kilmurry Ibrickane forward’s long delivery broke to Chloe Moloney to tee up Fidelma Marrinan to cooly finish a angled shot to the far right corner of the net at 1-6 to 1-4.

From there, Wayne Freeman’s side should have kept up their perfect record but do have a chance to snatch top spot in Division 3 when hosting a flawless Offaly at the same venue next Sunday.

Scorers for Clare: Fidelma Marrinan 1-4 (1f); Chloe Moloney 0-3 (2f)

Scorers for Roscommon: Aisling Hanly 1-1; Laura Fleming 0-3 (3f); Aisling Feeley 0-2; Lauren Shanagher 0-1

Clare
1: Amy Lenihan (St Joseph’s Doora/Barefield)

2: Aine Keane (Miltown Malbay)
3: Siofra Ní Chonaill (St Joseph’s Doora/Barefield)
4: Grainne Harvey (West Clare Gaels)

5: Roisin Considine (Tír Chonaill Gaels, London)
6: Joanna Doohan (Kilmurry Ibrickane)
7: Laurie Ryan (Banner Ladies)

8: Caoimhe Harvey (West Clare Gaels)
9: Aisling Reidy (St Joseph’s Doora/Barefield)

12: Sinead Considine (Liscannor)
11: Ciara McCarthy (Kilmurry Ibrickane)
10: Fidelma Marrinan (West Clare Gaels)

13: Amy Sexton (Kilmurry Ibrickane)
14: Chloe Moloney (Kilmurry Ibrickane)
15: Megan Downes (Cooraclare)

Subs:
23: Teresa Collins (Burren Gaels) for McCarthy 43)
27: Katie Mullen (Kilmihil) for Downes (51)
25: Ciara Hickey (Kilmurry Ibrickane) for Sexton (58)
17: Louise Griffin (Fergus Rovers) for R. Considine (58)

Roscommon
1: Helena Cummins (Michael Glaveys)

2: Aine McGrath (St Brigid’s)
23: Shauna Fleming (Michael Glaveys)
4: Aisling MacAuliffe (Strokestown)

5: Rachel Fitzmaurice (St Ciaran’s)
6: Saoirse Wynne (Boyle)
3: Ellen Irwin (St Faithleach’s)

10: Laura Fleming (St Ciaran’s)
18: Judy McDermott (Strokestown)

11: Lauren Shanagher (Northern Harps)
9: Kate Nolan (St Brigid’s)
7: Caoimhe Cregg (Boyle)

13: Aisling Hanly (Kilbride)
14: Aisling Feeley (Boyle)
12: Sinead Farrell (Clann na nGael)

Subs:
20: Aoife Gavin (St Dominic’s) for Feeley (34, inj)
15: Niamh Feeney (St Mary’s Tulsk) for Farrell (46)
17: Ella Thompson (St Croan’s) for Nolan (51)
26: Aimee O’Connor (St Dominic’s) for Shanagher (51)

Referee: Ciaran Groome (Offaly)

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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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