*Rebecca Delee & Mairead Scalon compete for possession. Photograph: Veronica McMahon
Clare fell to their second defeat of the 2019 Littlewoods Ireland Camogie League on Saturday evening.
Venue: Gaelic Grounds
A disappointing display from the Clare senior camogie side in which they scored three points from play in sixty minutes resulted in their defeat at the hands of a more cohesive Limerick unit inspired by Sarah Carey, Niamh Mulcahy, Muireann Creamer, Karen O’Leary and Rebecca Delee.
Having almost slipped up last weekend in Whitegate when hosting Offaly, Clare faced a more difficult task at the Gaelic Grounds as they aimed to put back to back wins together. It was not until Sophie O’Callaghan goaled on the thirty sixth minute that Limerick began to shake off the Clare challenge but the result was never in doubt such was the Banner’s continued lack of a scoring threat.
In the opening half, Fiona Lafferty hit Clare’s solitary score from play, arriving on the twenty fifth minute their remaining six scores were Amy Keating placed balls. In comparison Limerick only scored one free and six points from play with a wide range of players contributing. On five occasions the sides were level during the first half but the hosts were better at crafting moves which resulted in more opportunities.
As Andrew Larkin resumed the game, Mairead Scanlon added a Clare point in the first attack to give hope that Ger O’Connell’s side would find their feet. Such hopes would quickly evaporated as the Treaty County hit 1-06 without reply. Adare’s Sophie O’Callaghan kicked the sliotar past Sarah Loughnane, the concession of the goal is one that should annoy the Clare players as Dearbhla Egan was allowed pick the ball from a ruck too easily and defenders were found out of position in the subsequent attack.
For the second weekend in a row, Clare went twenty three minutes without a score in the second half which should sound alarm bells. Their heads dropped once O’Callaghan’s kick hit the net and although they got two of the final three scores in the contest, the damage was already done.
Limerick’s July 2016 senior championship win over Clare proved that two years on from their All-Ireland intermediate success they were now the better of the neighbours. It was a worrying sight for Clare camogie followers then and it remains the case. Declan Nash’s side have bypassed their neighbours and it hasn’t happened overnight. The gap seems to be widening, Limerick played as a team, they provided running options for every attack and did their utmost to regain possession once it was lost, Clare did not.
Lengthier prison sentences are handed down to repeat offenders that land before judges in courts throughout Ireland than those guilty on a once off, more often that not. You live and you learn but it seems that three games into their league campaign, Clare have not learned to shorten their hurley and instead prefer to get hooked and lose possession time after time. This was just one reason why Sarah Loughnane had far more possession coming her way than she should have in the second half of this game and is proving to be a launchpad for opposition scores.
O’Connell and his management are trying out different players which is welcome and ultimately in this sense they are making the most out of the league. However, their lack of an attacking threat remains and consideration should be given to moving Aoife Keane back to her more suited role in the forwards where she could possibly be that threat. They now have a three week break before their final group game with Dublin which is plenty of time to make the necessary alterations and improvements within their panel.
1: Claire Keating (Cappamore)
2: Megan O’Mara (Monaleen)
3: Muireann Creamer (Cappamore)
4: Marian Quaid (Bruff)
5: Rebecca Delee (Newcastle West)
6: Sarah Carey (Granagh Ballingarry)
7: Mairead Ryan (Clooney/Quin)
8: Karen O’Leary (Newcastle West)
9: Roisin Ambrose (Newcastle West)
10: Deborah Murphy (Newcastle West)
15: Niamh Mulcahy (Ahane)
12: Caoimhe Costelloe (Adare)
11: Caoimhe Lyons (Monaleen)
14: Sophie O’Callaghan (Adare)
13: Dearbhla Egan (Crecora)
20: Katie Hennessy (Ballyagran) for Egan (39)
17: Lisa Barrett (Crecora) for O’Mara (51)
21: Roisin O’Meara (Ahane) for O’Callaghan (56)
19: Laura Stack (Milford) for Mulcahy (58)
1: Sarah Loughnane (Sixmilebridge)
7: Ciara Grogan (Clooney/Quin)
3: Laura McMahon (Newmarket-on-Fergus)
2: Ciara Doyle (Scariff/Ogonnelloe)
6: Clare Hehir (Inagh/Kilnamona)
5: Aoife Keane (Inagh/Kilnamona)
9: Amy Barrett (Scariff/Ogonnelloe)
10: Sinead Conlon (Tulla)
8: Andrea O’Keeffe (Inagh/Kilnamona)
12: Susan Fahy (Whitegate)
11: Eimear Kelly (Truagh/Clonlara)
23: Mairead Scanlon (Scariff/Ogonnelloe)
25: Fiona Lafferty (Inagh/Kilnamona)
14: Amy Keating (Inagh/Kilnamona)
13: Roisin Begley (Truagh/Clonlara)
18: Michelle Caulfield (Truagh/Clonlara) for Scanlon (43)
27: Chloe Morey (Sixmilebridge) for Conlon (54)
26: Aoife Power (Scariff/Ogonnelloe) for Fahy (57)
Referee: Andrew Larkin