Clare’s ladies footballers have qualified for the quarter-finals of the All-Ireland intermediate championship.
A Laurie Ryan goal just on the stroke of half-time proved decisive as Clare claimed a well earned four point victory over Kildare on Saturday. The win guarantees a place in the quarter-finals for the winners who are now unbeaten in their two championship games this year.
Kildare built up a 0-06 0-03 lead inside the first half but it was one Clare would chip away at. White flags from Niamh O’Dea, Eimear Keane and Eimear O’Connor had them back on level terms with half-time approaching and then up stepped captain Laurie Ryan to fire home the all-important goal which was the final score of the half.
An early goal chance presented itself to Kildare full forward Ellen Dowling in the second half but she failed to put it past Grace Lynch as the Lilywhites upped their challenge. They managed to equalise as their pressure paid off but two scores on the trot from Fidelma Marrinan put James Murrihy’s side back in front in the final quarter.
Corner back Rachel Cribbin was sent off reducing Kildare to fourteen inside the final ten minutes. Substitute Tara Kelly kicked the final score of the evening to secure a four point win for Clare.
Six Clare players that featured in this win were part of the panel that lost to Kildare in the 2016 All-Ireland final. Overcoming them is a psychological lift but does not atone for that final defeat. Kildare too have seen a lot of transition to their side but nonetheless it marks a further improvement for ladies football in the county under the stewardship of James Murrihy. Their final group outing with Wexford will be an ideal test ahead of their quarter-final.
Grace Lynch (Cúil Gaels)
Siofra Ní Chonnail (St Josephs Doora/Barefield)
Ellie O’Gorman (Kilmihil)
Gráinne Harvey (West Clare Gaels)
Carol O’Leary (Newmarket-on-Fergus)
Louise Woods (Banner Ladies)
Róisin Considine (Liscannor)
Orla Devitt (Éire Óg)
Róisin Looney (Cooraclare)
Caoimhe Harvey (West Clare Gaels)
Laurie Ryan (Banner Ladies) (1-00)
Eimear O’Connor (Cúil Gaels)
Eimear Keane (St Josephs Miltown) (0-02)
Niamh O’Dea (Banner Ladies) (0-03)
Fidelma Marrinan (West Clare Gaels) (0-05)
Tara Kelly (Cúil Gaels) (0-01) for Keane (45)
Aine Kelly (Fergus Rovers) for O’Connor (52)
Rebecca McGurk (Suncroft)
Rachel Cribbin (Balyna)
Amy Horan (Ballymore)
Shauna Kendrick (Sarsfields)
Rachel Reidy (Na Fianna)
Trina Duggan (Suncroft)
Claire Sullivan (Carbury)
Siobhán O’Sullivan (Eadestown)
Aisling Curley (Moorefield)
Louise Scully (Ellistown) (0-01)
Grace Clifford (Eadestown) (0-02)
Róisín Byrne (Sarsfields) (0-04)
Niamh Sinnot (Monasterevin) (0-01)
Ellen Dowling (Suncroft) (0-02 2f)
Mikaela McKenna (Na Fianna) (0-02)
Neasa Dooley (Castledermot) for Reidy (HT)
Molly Price (Sarsfields) for for Dowling (40)
Michelle Curley (Moorefield) for Sullivan (53) (Inj)
Referee: John Devlin (Galway)
*Photograph: David Dillon