*Photograph: BurrenEye Photography
Clare’s chances of progressing to the TG4 All-Ireland intermediate semi-finals will be decided in the final round of Group 4 after they kept their hopes alive with victory over Laois.
Venue: St Mary’s GAA Centre, Clonmel
An eight point win was fully deserved for Clare who laid the foundations for this win in the opening quarter when they raided for three goals and limited their opponents to a single score.
A slight concern will be the manner in which they eased off the gas, they added 2-03 in the second half while Laois tapped over 1-06, the lapse going under more spotlight given the fact that Clare let a seven point lead slip in the opening round, a blunder that could potentially prevent their passage to the All-Ireland semi-finals.
Full-forward Chloe Moloney made her mark on proceedings early on notching 1-01 inside the first seven minutes. The Kilmurry Ibrickane attacker was also on hold to set up Niamh O’Dea for a green flag early on with O’Dea also claiming the assist for the third green flag as Grainne Nolan calmly dispatched the ball under Eimear Barry and into the back of the net.
Laois upped the ante somewhat in the second quarter with the Nerneys, Mo and Laura along with Leah Tarpey registering scores. Their contributions would reduce the gap to eight points at the sounding of the half-time whistle.
Hopes of Laois continuing to claw their way back took a major dent on the restart when Moloney converted a penalty to leave already dominant Clare firmly in the driving seat and on their way to victory. The response of the O’Moore men was admirable but also highlighted a lapse in concentration from their opponents as they immediately worked the ball up the field and into the back of the net with poor marking punished as Mo Nerney nabbed for a goal.
While they would get three of the next five scores, Laois’ inroads came undone again as they conceded another goal as Niamh O’Dea raised her second green flag of the hour, this one arising following a Moloney pass in space to Caoimhe Harvey who had the vision to find the dangerous O’Dea outside the square.
This effectively sealed the result for Clare who boasted a ten point lead with fourteen minutes of normal time remaining. Moloney would convert their final score in this time frame while Laois tapped over three more points.
No complaints could be voiced from the Laois camp with the result as despite moving the ball well at times, the concession of five goals scuppered any hope they had. Ironically they will now determine if Clare make the knockout stages, should they cause a major upset against Kildare it will leave the window of making the last four open. Rachel Williams and Mo Nerney did best for the Leinster outfit.
All over the pitch, Clare won ninety percent of the battles and subsequently the odds were always in their favour. Michaela Glynn pulled off two excellent saves between the posts with Caoimhe Harvey, Roisin Considine, Chloe Moloney, Grainne Nolan and Laura Egan also impressing for the victors. Three different players were sin-binned over the hour, this and the tendency to take the foot off the pedal are the most pressing concerns for James Murrihy and his management as they fight to keep their season alive.
Scorers Clare: Chloe Moloney (2-05 3f), Niamh O’Dea (2-00), Grainne Nolan (1-01), Roisin Considine (0-01)
Scorers Laois: Mo Nerney (1-07 6f), Emma Lawlor (0-01), Laura Nerney (0-01), Leah Tarpey (0-01), Kate Whelan (0-01).
1: Michaela Glynn (Kilmihil)
4: Gráinne Harvey (West Clare Gaels)
3: Ellie O’Gorman (Kilmihil)
7: Áine Keane (St Josephs Miltown)
5: Roisin Considine (Liscannor)
6: Orla Devitt (Éire Óg)
12: Ciara Hickey (Kilmurry Ibrickane)
9: Caoimhe Harvey (West Clare Gaels)
20: Eimear Keane (St Josephs Miltown)
10: Eimear O’Connor (Cúil Gaels)
8: Laura Egan (Kilmihil)
14: Grainne Nolan (Banner Ladies)
13: Niamh O’Dea (Banner Ladies)
23: Chloe Moloney (Kilmurry Ibrickane)
15: Clíodhna Blake (Doonbeg)
17: Roisin Looney (Cooraclare) for Blake (HT)
11: Fidelma Marrinan (West Clare Gaels) for O’Connor (48)
19: Carol O’Leary (Newmarket-on-Fergus) for Devitt (51)
21: Louise Woods (Banner Ladies) for Egan (55)
18: Tara Kelly (Cúil Gaels) for Nolan (58)
1: Eimear Barry (Shanahoe)
2: Clodagh Dunne (Ballyroe)
3: Jenny McEvoy (Sarsfields)
4: Amy Potts (St Brigid’s)
5: Rachel Williams (Sarsfields)
6: Laura Nerney (Foxrock Cabinteely)
12: Orla Hennessy (Timahoe)
7: Jane Moore (Brigid’s)
10: Anna Healy (Park Ratheniska)
8: Ellen Healy (Portlaoise)
18: Leah Tarpey (Sarsfields)
15: Sarah Anne Fitzgerald (Portlaoise)
14: Andrea Moran (Ballyroan)
11: Mo Nerney (Timahoe)
13: Emma Lawlor (St Paul’s)
20: Claire Conlon (Sarsfields) for Hennessy (37)
25: Rachel Fitzgerald (Ballyroan) for Tarpey (51)
24: Kate Whelan (Ballyroan) for Lawlor (62)
21: Sarah Larkin (Timahoe) for Moran (62)
Referee: Eamonn Moran (Kerry)