*Grainne Nolan. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill
Clare’s intermediate ladies footballers picked up their first point of the 2020 National League campaign when they mustered a draw against Meath on Sunday.
Venue: Shanahan McNamara Memorial Park, Doonbeg
Having faced off with senior opposition in their first three outings of the League, Sunday’s tie was hoped to give Clare an accurate reflection of how they are primed for the All-Ireland intermediate championship. However due to injuries and “an illness going through the camp”, only twenty players were togged for the encounter.
Vice Captain Grainnne Nolan goaled early on for Clare as they led inside the opening quarter. Meath’s Bridgetta Lynch responded to put one past Michaela Glynn at the other end, the Royal County also kicked the final two scores of the half to boast 1-08 1-06 half-time lead.
Meath banged in two goals on the restart leaving the Banner with a mountain to climb but it was James Murrihy’s charges were willing to tackle. Kilmurry Ibrickane’s Amy Sexton roofed the ball to the top of the net with ten minutes remaining with Roisin Considine of Liscannor also raising a green flag to cut the gap to a point with six minutes remaining.
Emma Duggan extended the visitors advantage to two points but Grainne Nolan stepped up with two pressurised frees to rescue a draw for the hosts.
Such a hard-working display delighted Murrihy who commended the leadership shown by Nolan whose decision to take the final two frees “took fair cojonas”. He said, “Bar the defeat we had against Wexford here last year, Doonbeg seems to be a fortress for the girls, you’re coming back to West Clare, you’re in Doonbeg, it’s typical West Clare football, Meath do their training on an astro turf”.