By Seamus Hayes
Kilkenny 1-15 Clare 0-4
Physically stronger and much sharper, Kilkenny proved much too strong for Clare in the division1 National camogie league final at Semple stadium in Thurles.
Beaten All-Ireland finalists last year, the Leinster side made it clear that their aim is to go one better this season come September when delivering a powerful all round performance which proved much to strong for a young and relatively inexperienced Clare side
Clare didn’t get the best of starts and were forced into changes as early as the fifth minute when they lost experienced wing back Eimear Considine through injury.
A number of Clare players looked nervous in the early stages and Nikki Kaiser failed to find the target from two scoreable frees which led to experienced Deirdre Murphy taking over the duties and she opened Clare’s account a minute before the end of the first quarter.
With the physically stronger Kilkenny defence dominating, there was a lot of pressure on the Clare backline from an early stage and Clare were fortunate not to be further behind at half time when the score stood at 0-9 to 0-2, both of Clare’s scores coming from, Deirdre Murphy.
With the aid of the wind for the second half, Clare supporters were hoping that matters would improve and they opened the scoring through a Chloe Morey free in the third minute.
Kilkenny, however, were in no mood to relent and by the three quarter stage they had stretched their lead to thirteen points. The game’s only goal came from Aoife Neary in the tenth minute of the half and it killed off any slim chance of a Clare recovery
Chloe Morey, Maire McGrath, the McMahon sisters form Newmarket Deirdre Murphy and Fiona Lafferty gave their all on the day but they simply could not compete with Kilkenny’s team work
Clare; Denise Lynch (Kilmaley); Roisin McMahon (Newmarket), Maire McGrath (Sixmilebridge), Carol O’Leary (Newmarket); Niamh O’Dea (Kilmaley), Chloe Morey (Sixmilebrige) 0-1, Eimear Considine (Kilmaley); Kate Lynch (Kilkishen) Captain, Orlaith Duggan (Clooney-Quin); Deirdre Murphy (Clooney-Quin) 0-3, Fiona Lafferty (Inagh-Kilnamona), Caitriona Hennessy (St. Josephs); Nikki Kaiser (Newmarket), Laura McMahon (Newmarket), Ellen Horgan (Truagh-Clonlara);
Subs;–Kathleen Hogran (Truagh-Clonlara) for Considine (inj., 5 minutes); Claire McMahon (Kilmaley) for Hennessy (20 minutes); Helen McMahon (Kilmaley) for K. Horgan; Vera Loughnane (Feakle) for E. Horgan;Katie Cahill (Kilmaley) for Duggan; Lisa Loughnane(Kilkishen) for Kaiser; Aoife Griffin (Newmarket) for O’Leary;
Kilkenny;—Emma Kavanagh; Mairead Power, Kate McDonald, Jacqui Frisby; Colette Dormer, Edwina Keane, Elaine Aylward; Aisling Dunphy Ann Dalton (0-1); Michelle Quilty, Leann Fennelly (0-4), Aoife Neary (1-0); Aine Connery (0-2), Miriam Walsh (0-2) Denise Gaule (0-6);
Subs—Claire Phelan for Connery; Marie Dargan for Walsh;
Referee—Ger O’Dowd, Limerick