*Ciara Grogan is hooked by Michaela Morkan. Photograph: Veronica McMahon
Clare’s senior camogie team recorded their first win under new manager Ger O’Connell in Division 1 of the Littlewoods Ireland Camogie League on Saturday.
“While we’re in the middle of nowhere we’re very central at the same time”, Whitegate councillor Pat Burke once said of the North East Clare village which was the setting for Saturday’s second round league clash, nonetheless it brought a crowd out to support two teams that were both in search of their first win of 2019.
Indeed Clare were the sharper side for the bulk of the contest. Susan Fahy playing in her home pitch opened the scoring straight from the throw in, points from Andrea O’Keeffe and Bridín Dinan followed. The final quarter of the half saw Offaly outscore the hosts three two to leave Clare with a two point advantage at the break.
Dinan added a free one minute into the second half but the Banner would fail to score for the next twenty two minutes. Ann Marie Guinan goaled for the Richie Power trained Offaly and a double from Aisling Brennan put them in front for the first time with ten minutes remaining. Clare managed to stem the tide and hit the final three scores of the contest via Eimear Kelly, Dinan and Fahy to secure a two point victory.
There may be a new management for Clare, quite a lengthy at one that too, but recurring problems still remain for the girls in Saffron and Blue. Whenever Offaly’s Michaela Morkan got in possession, danger was imminent, at the other end none of Clare’s forwards possess such a threat, they scored only four points from play which is a major concern. They may be praised for digging deep at the end but in truth they were the one’s responsible of digging the same hole.
To win without players such as Orlaith Duggan, Maire McGrath and Chloe Morey is a plus, however management’s decision to bring Eimear Kelly back on despite going off injured is one that will surely annoy some of their substitutes. Amy Barrett and Sinead Conlon’s workrate at midfield is a welcome sight while Susan Fahy and Ciara Grogan also put their hands up for a regular starting role.
Limerick in the Gaelic Grounds on Saturday is next up for Clare while Offaly meet Dublin.
Clare: Aisling Corbett (Scariff/Ogonnelloe); Ciara Grogan (Clooney/Quin), Laura McMahon (Newmarket-on-Fergus), Carol O’Leary (Newmarket-on-Fergus); Clare Hehir (Inagh/Kilnamona), Aoife Keane (Inagh/Kilnamona), Michelle Caulfield (Truagh/Clonlara); Amy Barrett (Scariff/Ogonnelloe), Sinead Conlon (Tulla); Susan Fahy (Whitegate), Andrea O’Keeffe (Inagh/Kilnamona), Eimear Kelly (Truagh/Clonlara); Roisin Begley (Truagh/Clonlara), Bridín Dinan (Tulla), Amy Keating (Inagh/Kilnamona). Subs: Mairead Scanlon (Scariff/Ogonnelloe) for Kelly (16) (Inj), Ciara Doyle (Scariff/Ogonnelloe) for Caulfield (HT), Fiona Lafferty (Inagh/Kilnamona) for Keating (47), Eimear Kelly for Conlon (50).
Offaly: Ellie Clendennen (Kinnitty); Sarah Walsh (Tullamore), Tríona McDonald (Kilcormac/Killoughey), Orlagh Kirwan (Birr); Alanna Roddy (Birr), Aisling Brennan (St Cillians), Ciara Brennan (St Cillians); Grace Teehan (Naomh Bríd), Christine Cleary (Shinrone); Ann Marie Guinan (Drumcullen), Michaela Morkan (Shinrone), Grainne Egan (Shinrone); Eadaoin Kilmartin (Kilcormac/Kiloughey), Mairead Teehan (Moneygall), Jean Brady (St Sinchills). Subs: Aoife Walsh (Naomh Brid) for Kilmartin (49), Mary Teehan (Naomh Brid) for Egan (49), Orla Gorman (Tullamore) for Brady (49).
Referee: Cathal Egan (Cork)