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Clare and Limerick finished all square in the Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Senior Camogie Championship on Saturday evening.

Clare 0-08
Limerick 0-08
Venue: O’Garney Park, Sixmilebridge

After opening round defeats to Galway and Kilkenny respectively, this outing was a must win for the Clare and Limerick camogie sides. With three teams progressing out of each group, both teams emphasised getting a win, now that this opportunity has passed them by their remaining two games are crucial with scoring difference going to decide who qualifies if it comes down to a battle between the neighbours.

In the opening thirty minutes, Clare scored seven points. In the second thirty they scored one point. In sixty minutes, they scored three points from play and last week the tally was five from play. With this in mind, it comes as no surprise that they are without a win in this year’s championship. Improving in this regard is essential.

Two Chloe Morey frees and a Niamh O’Dea effort put Patricia O’Grady’s side into a 0-03 0-01 lead inside ten minutes. Ten minutes later, Limerick were on level terms through a Niamh Mulcahy double and Rebecca Delee single. Three white flags on the trot which included an excellent Orlaith Duggan effort gave the hosts a three point advantage at half-time.

Scores were short in supply on the resumption, Caoimhe Costelloe had the first of the half on thirty seven minutes and the next came a further seven minutes later via Niamh Mulcahy. Matters could have been much worse for Clare only for a block from Carol O’Leary in the last line of defence denied a goal chance. Morey slotted over their only effort of the half on forty six minutes and two Mulcahy frees followed to leave it all square.

Two years ago in the championship, Limerick had a seven point win over Clare. There are eight survivors left from Clare and seven from Limerick. Don’t go thinking that by cutting this gap back by seven represents an improvement on the Banner’s behalf. Their 2016 campaign was nothing short of abysmal as they lost every single game. This camogie team and that of two years ago should be aiming for the knockout stages and to do that, they must be beating Limerick and matching Galway, so far this year they haven’t done either.

Captain Orlaith Duggan was very impressive in the opening half at centre back, a surprise switch from management saw her pushed to midfield at half-time and her influence deteriorated as a result. Niamh O’Dea was the best player in Clare’s attack and possibly on the field yet after conceding a free she hit the ball away resulting in it being brought forward and slotted over by Niamh Mulcahy, every score and inch matters in championship, this was a cheap one to give away. More support is badly needed for O’Dea in their forward line, elsewhere Clare Hehir and Maire McGrath did well.

Limerick were livelier than their opponents, their reactions superior, they finished the stronger and were unlucky not to pull a win out of the bag. Niamh Mulcahy, Caoimhe Costelloe, Rebecca Delee and Judith Mulcahy were most prominent for the Treaty County.

Inconsistency in the refereeing of this game was prevalent throughout. It made for frustrating viewing and this is not going to entice the on the fence camogie follower to stay going to games. The advantage rule is supposed to apply for five seconds subsequent to the foul but it lasted for twenty seconds regularly.

1: Lauran Solan (Whitegate)
9: Ciara Doyle (Scariff/Ogonnelloe)
6: Clare Hehir (Inagh/Kilnamona)
2: Carol O’Leary (Newmarket-on-Fergus)
22: Emma Kennedy (Sixmilebridge)
8: Orlaith Duggan (Clooney/Quin) (0-01)
5: Laura McMahon (Newmarket-on-Fergus)
3: Máire McGrath (Sixmilebridge)
12: Andrea O’Keeffe (Inagh/Kilnamona)
13: Roisin Begley (Inagh/Kilnamona)
7: Roisin McMahon (Newmarket-on-Fergus)
14: Chloe Morey (Sixmilebridge) (0-05 5f)
15: Orla Devitt (Éire Óg)
11: Niamh O’Dea (Kilmaley) (0-01)
10: Doireann Murphy (Clarecastle) (0-01)
4: Ciara Grogan (Clooney/Quin) for O’Keeffe (39)
21: Amy Keating (Inagh/Kilnamona) for Begley (45)

1: Laura O’Neill (Na Piarsaigh)
2: Megan O’Mara (Monaleen)
3: Muireann Creamer (Cappamore)
4: Judith Mulcahy (Ahane)
5: Mairead Ryan (Clooney/Quin)
9: Sarah Carey (Granagh Ballingarry)
7: Caoimhe Costelloe (Adare)
8: Karen O’Leary (Newcastlewest)
10: Niamh Mulcahy (Ahane)
6: Rebecca Delee (Newcastlewest)
12: Deborah Murphy (Knockaderry)
18: Neamh Curtin (Ballybrown)
14: Aisling Scanlon (Killeedy)
11: Laura Stack (Milford)
13: Caoimhe Lyons (Monaleen)
30: Sophie O’Callaghan (Ahane) for Stack (50)

Referee: Andrew Larkin (Cork)

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