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*Limerick capitalise on a Clare turnover. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

A successive defeat has left Clare’s senior camogie side in a relegation battle of the Littlewoods Ireland National Camogie League Division 1.

Limerick 2-14
Clare 1-11
Venue: Fr McNamara Park, Doora

Optimism was in the air when Clare began their National League bid away to Galway last weekend but that atmosphere quickly evaporated when they hosted Limerick in what was the Treaty County’s first outing of the year and were bossed from start to finish.

Having overcome the Clare Juniors in Kilmallock last weekend, Limerick’s senior side repeated the same dose but did so on the road. No signs of rustiness were evident in their ranks as Pat Ryan’s charges laid down a marker and showed they will be a difficult team for anyone to beat when the championship commences.

Clare Echo Planning

Concession of soft goals was identified by management as an area to work on following the opening round five point defeat to Galway. Worryingly for Clare, the green flags conceded were again of the soft variety while the space afforded to their opposing attack was more problematic in this encounter.

Aoife Keane is barged into by Áine Cunningham. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

Up front, Clare continue to lack a dangerous goal threat and although Eimear Kelly beat Laura O’Neill in a one on one effort on fifty one minutes when Alannah Ryan found her with a pass, the Banner never put the composed O’Neill under pressure throughout the tie.

Limerick’s attack posed plenty of problems in the first half and amassed 2-10 by the half-time whistle, the aid of the slight breeze was in their favour. Slick play throughout allowed them to find the player in space while their movement off the ball always ensured there was a girl in green to hit at.

Their attacking quartet of Caoimhe Costelloe, Caoimhe Lyons, Rebecca Delee and Karen O’Leary were troublesome while at the other end there was no Clare forward that stirred up any headache to send Limerick’s mentors looking for a panadol.

Scores may have dried up for the visitors in the second half but they didn’t multiply at the other end with the tie spending much of proceedings in the middle third. Although Limerick showed glimpses of a side capable of making the last four later in the year, this second half showing and return of four points will not be sufficient in such a scenario. The aforementioned four forwards plus Laura O’Neill and Judith Mulcahy were solid for the winners.

There was a nervousness among the Clare players in the opening quarter which Limerick duly capitalised on. They showed in round one they can mix it with the best teams but just like last year when they shocked Kilkenny only to lose their subsequent tie to Waterford, they have repeated this outcome in 2021, the crucial difference being that they failed to beat Galway.

Ger O’Connell and his management will have a lot to ponder following their first two performances of the year. Their game play is defence orientated but in 120 minutes they have given away five goals, all of which were needless. At the other end, there isn’t enough danger to worry opposing backlines. Survival in the league will be essential but management have to introduce energy to their attack, otherwise their championship bid will be as disappointing as their first two league matches.

Scorers: Caoimhe Costelloe (2-06, 1-00 Pen, 2f); Caoimhe Lyons (0-03); Deborah Murphy, Rebecca Delee (0-02 each), Karen O’Leary (0-01)

Scorers: Chloe Morey (0-08, 5f, 1’45); Eimear Kelly (1-01, 1f); Orlaith Duggan, Laura McMahon (0-01 each)

Limerick:
1: Laura O’Neill (Na Piarsaigh)

2: Marian Quaid (Bruff)
3: Muireann Creamer (Cappamore)
4: Mairéad Ryan (Clooney/Quin)

5: Megan O’Mara (Monaleen)
6: Judith Mulcahy (Ahane)
7: Róisin Ambrose (Newcastle West)

9: Aisling Scanlon (Killeedy)
8: Karen O’Leary (Newcastle West)

10: Caoimhe Lyons (Monaleen)
11: Deborah Murphy (Newcastle West)
12: Sophie O’Callaghan (Adare)

15: Caoimhe Costelloe (Adare)
14: Rebecca Delee (Newcastle West)
13: Áine Cunningham (Killeedy)

Subs:
17: Dearbhla Egan for Scanlon (54)
19: Néamh Curtin for O’Mara (56)
22: Lisa Leonard for Cunningham (58)

Clare:
1: Doireann Murphy (Clarecastle)

2: Ciara Grogan (Clooney-Quin)
3: Clare Hehir (Inagh-Kilnamona) (Captain)
18: Roisin Minogue (Bodyke)

5: Alannah Ryan (Kilkishen)
6: Laura McMahon (Newmarket-on-Fergus)
7: Sinead Conlon (Tulla)

8: Zi Yan Spillane (Feakle-Killanena)
9: Aoife Keane (Inagh-Kilnamona)

10: Máire McGrath (Sixmilebridge)
11: Chloe Morey (Sixmilebridge)
12: Orlaith Duggan (Clooney-Quin)

13: Eimear Kelly (Truagh-Clonlara)
14: Aine O’Loughlin (Truagh-Clonlara)
15: Becky Foley (Truagh-Clonlara)

Substitutes:
17: Susan Daly (Scariff-Ogonnelloe) for Conlon (26)
28: Roisin Begley (Truagh-Clonlara) for O’Loughlin (36)
19: Robyn Conway (Feakle-Killanena) for Foley (39)
20: Clodagh O’Halloran (Newmarket-on-Fergus) for Keane (43)

Referee: Justin Heffernan (Wexford)

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