*Zi Yan Spillane. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill
A FIRST MUNSTER FINAL appearance since 2012 is the reward for the Clare senior camogie team following their four point replay win over Tipperary.
Venue: TUS Gaelic Grounds, Limerick
Lorna McNamara’s fortieth minute rifle to the net set Clare on their way as aspirations of claiming a provincial double in the guise of senior and junior titles still have plenty of life in them.
Their support base may have been smaller compared with their drawn encounter with Tipperary a week previous in FBD Semple Stadium but Clare’s performance was arguably more dominant in what was a less exciting clash than their initial semi-final bout.
Within five minutes, Clare had a three point advantage thanks to Lorna McNamara and Áine O’Loughlin, impressively they would keep their noses in front for the full duration of the first half. That statistic would have been ripped to pieces had netminder Doireann Murphy not produced a diving penalty save to prevent Cait Devane from raising a green flag on twenty minutes.
Less than a minute into the second half, Tipperary were on level terms through Niamh Walsh while they stuck ahead via Jenny Grace on thirty three minutes.
Clare responded with the next three scores including a rifle to the net from Lorna McNamara on forty minutes to make matters more comfortable, although Eimear McGrath and Devane scored at the other end, Killanena’s McNamara added to her tally to see the Banner record a deserved victory.
Taking a small gloss off the win was the late injury sustained by key player Niamh O’Dea with the Kilfenora woman leaving the field with a lower back injury in additional time. This coupled with their doubling up with the Junior panel whereas players cannot play both grades leaves them with restricted options heading into a window of playing the next four weekends on the trot including a repeat clash with Tipperary in the All-Ireland championship in a fortnight.
Aoife Keane, Lorna McNamara, Zi Yan Spillane and Caoimhe Kelly impressed for Clare who are back in a senior provincial final for the first time since 2012 when they were managed by John Carmody, the Kilmaley man returned as joint manager this season joining Conor Dolan.
Adding extra interest to the Munster final will be the fact that their opponents are Cork who are coached by Davy Fitzgerald, his son Colm is part of the Clare coaching ticket.
Scorers Clare: L McNamara (1-04 3f), A O’Loughlin (0-02), N O’Dea (0-02), Z Spillane (0-02), M Scanlan (0-01)
Scorers Tipperary: C Devane (0-04 3f), R Howard (0-02), C Hogan (0-01), J Grace (0-01), E McGrath (0-01), N Walsh (0-01)
1: Doireann Murphy (Clarecastle)
2: Ciara Grogan (Clooney/Quin)
3: Clare Hehir (Inagh/Kilnamona)
4: Caoimhe Kelly (Kilkishen)
5: Aoife Keane (Inagh/Kilnamona)
6: Chloe Morey (Sixmilebridge)
8: Susan Daly (Scariff/Ogonnelloe)
9: Caoimhe Carmody (Killmaley)
18: Muireann Scanlon (Sixmilebridge)
12: Lynda Daly (Scariff/Ogonnelloe)
11: Niamh O’Dea (Kilmaley)
10: Lorna McNamara (Killanena)
13: Eimear Kelly (Truagh/Clonlara)
14: Aine O’Loughlin (Truagh/Clonlara)
15: Zi Yan Spillane (Feakle/Killanena)
17: Gretta Hickey (Whitegate) for Spillane (62)
7: Alannah Ryan (Kilkishen) for S Daly (63)
8: Susan Daly for O’Dea (65) (inj)
1: Áine Slattery (Shannon Rovers)
2: Julieanne Bourke (Borrisoleigh)
3: Mary Ryan (Moneygall)
19: Ciara Brennan (St Killinans)
5: Ciardha Maher (Burgess Duharra)
20: Courtney Ryan (Clonoulty Rossmore)
4: Eimear Loughman (Clonoulty Rossmore)
24: Nicole Walsh (Borrisoleigh)
8: Grace O’Brien (Nenagh Éire Óg)
11: Roisin Howard (Cahir)
10: Jenny Grace (Burgess Duharra)
15: Clodagh McIntyre (Lorrha Dorrha)
12: Casey Hennessy (Clonoulty Rossmore)
14: Cait Devane (Clonoulty Rossmore)
13: Claire Hogan (St Killians)
7: Aoife McGrath (Drom/Inch) for Brennan (HT)
18: Caoimhe McCarthy (Knochavilla) for Ryan (42)
22: Ereena Fryday (Knochavilla) for O’Brien (49)
9: Niamh Treacy (Drom/Inch) for
Referee: Diarmuid Kirwan (Cork)