Clare kicked off the 2018 TG4 All-Ireland ladies football championship with an impressive eleven point win over Down.
Niamh O’Dea scored 2-07 from play as James Murrihy’s side overcame the challenge of Down in Co Meath on Sunday afternoon.
For Clare the objective in today’s outing was to pick up a win and they did just that, playing twenty players in the process. Two tough games with Kildare and Wexford remain in their group so it emphasised the importance of getting off to a winning start.
With eleven minutes played, Clare held a four point advantage with Eimear Keane, Niamh O’Dea and Fidelma Marrinan all raising white flags. Three scores in succession saw Down bring it back to a one score game but their period of dominance ended when O’Dea rifled home her first of two goals on the twenty first minute.
Further scores from Marrinan and Caoimhe Harvey followed but only three points separated the teams at half-time as Jessica Foy struck for an injury time goal.
Three O’Dea points in a row put Clare firmly back in the driving seat as Marrinan added to her tally. Down got their opening score of the second half nine minutes in only to suffer another blow moments later as Niamh O’Dea raised another green flag putting the icing on the cake for the Banner County.
In two weeks time, Clare play Kildare in a repeat clash of the 2016 All-Ireland intermediate final where a win would guarantee their place in the knockout stages.
Grace Lynch (Cúil Gaels)
Laura Egan (Kilmihil)
Ellie O’Gorman (Kilmihil)
Grainne Harvey (West Clare Gaels)
Carol O’Leary (Newmarket-on-Fergus) (0-01)
Laurie Ryan (Banner Ladies)
Roisin Considine (Liscannor)
Louise Woods (Banner Ladies)
Eimear O’Connor (Cúil Gaels)
Orla Devitt (Éire Óg)
Eimear Keane (St Josephs Miltown) (0-03)
Caoimhe Harvey (West Clare Gaels) (0-01)
Cliodhna Blake (Doonbeg)
Niamh O’Dea (Banner Ladies) (2-08 1f)
Fidelma Marrinan (West Clare Gaels) (0-03)
Siofra Ní Chonnaill (St Josephs Doora/Barefield) for Egan (28)
Aine Kelly (Fergus Rovers) (0-01) for Blake (39)
Clare Hester (Fergus Rovers) for O’Connor (46)
Aine Keane (St Josephs Miltown) for Marrinan (54)
Aisling Morrissey (Cooraclare) for C Harvey (55)
*Photograph by David Dillon