*Clare’s Rachel Kelly. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

A three goal blitz in the space of just four minutes midway through the opening half ultimately sealed Clare’s fate as neighbours Galway bounded back to winning ways in Inagh on Saturday afternoon.

Galway 3-9
Clare 0-7
Venue: Inagh GAA Grounds.

A precursor to the senior derby equivalent two hours later in Cusack Park, a major turnover in their flagship side saw only eight of the team that started against Tipperary, survive for the Galway test.

Clare actually started the brighter with a brace of Aisling Cooney frees bypassing Chloe Broderick’s opener by the tenth minute.

However, the wheels came off the Banner wagon all too easily as an opportunist goal for Mairead Dillon was quickly capitalised upon as Galway sucker-punched their hosts with further majors for Aoife Kelly and Katie Donohue to remarkably surge 3-1 to 0-2 clear by the 18th minute.

The Banner had an immediate change to respond but after good work from Kate O’Gorman, Hannah Mai Neylon was hooked by Rachell Kelly just as she was about to pull the trigger.

At 3-2 to 0-3 by the break, Clare craved a spark and got it through fresh legs from the bench as Aisling Moloney, Aoibhin McNamara and especially Emma O’Donoghue made a major impact. Unfortunately, while the Banner created enough chances to make a full recovery, they somehow failed to take any of three glorious goal chances.

Hannah Mai Neylon struck to the side-netting just after the break despite one umpire waving a green flag as instead the visitors hit four of the first five points, including a brace from Ava Lynskey, to stretch the gap to eleven at 3-6 to 0-4 by the turn of the final quarter.

Clare bizarrely passed up their best chance of the hour after Emma O’Donoghue was hauled down on route to goal, only to see Aoibhin McNamara purposely put the penalty over the bar.

McNamara, O’Donoghue, Elisha Rynne and subsequently Olivia Phelan all made their mark off the bench, with the latter agonisingly missing the target after a superb catch from a Sinead Power delivery.

It typified Clare’s luckless day in front of the posts but undoubtedly the raw materials are there to compete at intermediate level as along with the second half replacements, best player Rachel Kelly was ably assisted by Sinead Power, Hannah Mai Neylon and Aisling Cooney.

For a Galway side firmly on track for a final place alongside a flawless Cork and Tipperary, Katie Donoghue, Ava Lynskey, Aoibheann Barry, Chloe Broderick and Reisteal Kelly impressed most.

Scorers for Galway: Chloe Broderick (3f), Aoibheann Barry 0-3 each; Mairead Dillon, Aoife Kelly, Katie Donahue 1-0 each; Ava Lynskey 0-2; Grainne O’Neill 0-1

Scorers for Clare: Aisling Cooney 0-4 (4f); Aoibhin McNamara 0-2 (1 Pen, 1f); Emma O’Donoghue 0-1

Galway
1: Caoimhe Hickey (Davitt’s)

2: Ellen Burke (Kilconieron)
3: Sarah Lyons (Kiltormer)
4: Reisteal Kelly (Sarsfields)

5: Chloe Allen (Craughwell)
6: Ria McPhilbin (Liam Mellows)
7: Joanne Daly (Sarsfields)

8: Chloe Broderick (Castlegar)
9: Léana Nic Dhonncha (Liam Mellows)

10: Katie Donohue (Shamrocks)
11: Kayla Madden (Athenry)
12: Aoibheann Barry (Kinvara)

13: Ava Lynskey (Ardrahan)
14: Mairead Dillon (Kilconieron)
15: Aoife Kelly (Salthill/Knocknacarra)

Subs
18: Siofra Kelly (Turloughmore) for Burke (34)
21: Pearl Finnerty (Mullagh) for Allen (52)
20: Grainne O’Neill (Pearses) for Dillon (54)
25: Aoibhe Joyce (Salthill/Knocknacarra) for Barry (54)
19: Caroline Lawless (Shamrocks) for Daly (57)
17: Aoife Keane (Salthill/Knocknacarra) for R. Kelly (57)

Clare
1: Sophie Cullen (Truagh-Clonlara)

2: Rebecca Crowe (Ruan)
3: Bonnie Wiley Murphy (Scariff-Ogonnelloe)
4: Sinead Hogg (Truagh-Clonlara)

5: Jennifer Nicholas (Tulla)
6: Rachel Kelly (Sixmilebridge)
7: Sinead O’Keeffe (Kilmaley) (Captain)

8: Sinead Power IInagh-Kilnamona)
9: Cliodhna Queally (Inagh-Kilnamona)

12: Mary Hanrahan (Crusheen)
11: Kate O’Gorman (Kilkishen)
10: Dannielle Beston (Scariff-Ogonnelloe)

13: Hannah Mai Neylon (Ballyea)
14: Aisling Cooney (Parteen-Meelick)
15: Eimear Begley (Truagh-Clonlara)

Subs
18: Aisling Moloney (Ruan) for Hanrahan (HT)
19. Emma O’Donoghue (Clarecastle) for O’Gorman (HT)
21: Aoibhin McNamara (Sixmilebridge) for Begley (HT)
20: Mary O’Connor (Cratloe) for Queally (41)
17: Olivia Phelan (Sixmilebridge) for Cooney (42)
23: Elisha Rynne (Inagh-Kilnamona) for Beston (42)
25: Neasa Ní Lachtnáin (Ruan) for Crowe (57)
24: Caoimhe Ryan (Banner) for Kelly (57, inj)
22: Éabha McInerney (Tulla) for Hogg (59)

Referee: Cathal McAllister (Cork)

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If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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