*Sinead Conlon under pressure from Ailish O’Reilly and Siobhán McGrath. Photograph: Burren Eye Photography
Clare’s senior camogie team have began their 2021 campaign with a positive performance but crucially without a win.
Venue: Kenny Park, Athenry
Three first half goals would prove pivotal for Galway to secure the spoils on Saturday afternoon at a very wet Athenry.
Were it not for the green flags and their failure to score from play in the second half, Clare would have taken a big scalp.
Six different scorers across the first half saw Clare set the tempo, their midfield pairing of debutant Zi Yan Spillane and Aoife Keane in particular catching the eye.
Passages of play were well worked for the most part by Ger O’Connell’s charges, as their fluency of hurling improves so will the standard of their style of play.
A major concern for the Banner will be the manner in which goals were easily conceded. Netminder Doireann Murphy could do little as her full back line struggled to contain their counterparts, that said they were left exposed by the ocean of space in front of them. Siobhán McGrath netted two goals in the space of thirteen minutes while Ailish O’Reilly’s goal just before half-time was a real blow.
A brace of four Aoife Donohue points in seven minutes at the restart saw Galway come back from a one point half time deficit to lead by three points.
When at their best, Clare were moving forward in counter attacks with accurate link up play to the fore. Loose play and equally as loose passes saw them punished at various stages throughout the contest.
Clare must regroup ahead of their second round clash with Limerick on Saturday next. On this occasion, the midfield pair of Keane and Spillane, Alannah Ryan and Máire McGrath stood out.
Galway have a bye in round two and will be pleased to have extended preparation. They undoubtedly were at risk of a shock loss but weathered the storm and possessed a much stronger collective attacking threat. Siobhán McGrath, Sarah Dervan and Aoife Donohue did best.
Scorers Galway: S McGrath (2-02), A Donohue (0-04), A O’Reilly (1-01), N Coen (0-01), C Dolan (0-01 1f), N Kilkenny (0-01), C Finnerty (0-01)
Scorers Clare: C Morey (0-06 6f), E Kelly (0-04), M McGrath (0-02), O Duggan (0-01), A O’Loughlin (0-01), A Keane (0-01.
1: Sarah Healy (St Thomas)
2: Shauna Healy (Ardrahan)
3: Sarah Dervan (Mullagh)
4: Tara Kenny (Sarsfields)
5: Roisin Black (Oranmore-Maree)
6: Emma Helebert (Ballinderreen)
7: Dervla Higgins (Athenry)
8: Aoife Donohue (Mullagh)
9: Niamh McGrath (Sarsfields)
10: Carrie Dolan (Clarinbridge)
11: Sarah Spellman (Sarsfields)
12: Niamh Hanniffy (Oranmore-Maree)
13: Siobhán MxGrath (Sarsfields)
14: Ailish O’Reilly (Oranmore-Maree)
15: Noreen Coen (Athenry)
21: Niamh Kilkenny (Pearses) for Hanniffy (33)
22: Orlaith McGrath (Sarsfields) for Coen (35)
17: Heather Cooney (St Thomas) for Kenny (35)
20: Ann Marie Starr (Killimor) for N McGrath (38)
18: Siobhán Gardiner (Ardrahan) for Black (49)
23: Catherine Finnerty (Mountbellew-Moylough) for Spellman (49)
1: Doireann Murphy (Clarecastle)
2: Ciara Grogan (Clooney/Quin)
3: Clare Hehir (Inagh/Kilnamona)
4: Ciara Doyle (Scariff/Ogonnelloe)
5: Alannah Ryan (Kilkishen/Bodyke)
6: Laura McMahon (Newmarket-on-Fergus)
19: Sinead Conlon (Tulla)
9: Aoife Keane (Inagh/Kilnamona)
20: Ziyan Spillane (Feakle/Killanena)
10: Maire McGrath (Sixmilebridge)
11: Chloe Morey (Sixmilebridge)
8: Orlaith Duggan (Clooney/Quin)
13: Eimear Kelly (Truagh/Clonlara)
14: Áine O’Loughlin (Truagh/Clonlara)
15: Becky Foley (Truagh/Clonlara)
17: Susan Daly (Scariff/Ogonnelloe) for Doyle (Inj) (17)
18: Roisin Minogue (Bodyke) for Conlan (44)
24: Robyn Conway (Feakle/Killanena) for Foley (52)
12: Clodagh O’Halloran (Newmarket-on-Fergus) for McGrath (52)
22: Greta Hickey (Whitegate) for Duggan (59)
Referee: John Dermody (Westmeath)