*Clare captain Laurie Ryan. Photograph: David Dillon
Clare’s intermediate ladies football have got their season back on track with a ten point win over Laois securing their place in the All-Ireland quarter-finals.
Venue: O’Moore Park, Portlaoise
One week on from their three point opening round defeat to Wexford, Clare bounced back with a superb response overcoming Laois away from home and in the process progress from the group stages and reach the last eight for the third year in succession.
James Murrihy’s charges hit the ground running scoring 2-04 without reply in the first fifteen minutes, captain Laurie Ryan and Niamh O’Dea raised the green flags.
On seventeen minutes, Laois raided for their only goal of the game, only for Clare to work the ball up the field from a Ciara Harvey kick out, the move ending with Grainne Nolan slotting the ball to the back of the net. An O’Dea double plus one from Caitríona Callinan saw the visitors lead 3-07 1-03 at half-time.
A brace of six points on the bounce from Laois saw them slash the distance to six points only for Cooraclare’s Roisin Looney to pounce for goal on forty seven minutes and dent their momentum. O’Dea added three more points with the hosts converting two efforts before Stephen McNulty blew the final whistle.
Returning to the knockout stages has always been the aim for the Clare intermediates, that box has been ticked and in order to advance to the semi-finals for the first time since 2016, they need to cut down on the concession of scores when they do switch off. In this outing the damage was six points, against tougher opposition, the consequence will be goals which are more difficult to cancel out. In the space of a week, they showed improvement and now must work to build again for the quarter-finals.
Scorers Clare: N O’Dea (1-08 1f), G Nolan (1-02), L Ryan (1-00), R Looney (1-00), E O’Connor (0-01), C Callinan (0-01), F Marrinan (0-01)
1: Ciara Harvey (West Clare Gaels)
2: Áine Keane (St Josephs Miltown)
3: Ellie O’Gorman (Kilmihil)
4: Gráinne Harvey (West Clare Gaels)
18: Caitríona Callinan (Kilmihil)
6: Laurie Ryan (Banner)
7: Siofra Ni Chonnaill (St Josephs Doora/Barefield)
17: Roisin Looney (Cooraclare)
9: Eimear O’Connor (Cúil Gaels)
10: Róisín Considine (Liscannor)
11: Ailish Considine (Kilmihil)
12: Caoimhe Harvey (West Clare Gaels)
13: Gráinne Nolan (Banner)
14: Niamh O’Dea (Banner)
15: Fidelma Marrinan (West Clare Gaels)
21: Sarah Bohannon (Cúil Gaels) for Callinan (HT)
8: Orla Devitt (Éire Óg) for Ní Chonaill (39)
22: Aisling Morrissey (Cooraclare) for Keane (46)
20: Tara Kelly (Cúil Gaels) for O’Connor (56)
19: Eimear Keane (St Josephs Miltown) for Marrinan (57)
Referee: Stephen McNulty (Wicklow)