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Magnificent Clare capture All-Ireland title

Clare 3-11 Meath 4-7

Clare were crowned All-Ireland minor B ladies football champions at Duggan park in Ballinasloe this afternoon in what was a thrilling contest where the lead changed hands on a number of occasions.

A draw looked the likely outcome for much of the tie but the Clare defence excelled in the closing minutes as Meath came forward in waves in search of an equalising score.

The Leinster side got off to a tremendous start with a goal from Caroline McLoughlin Quinn in the third minute which was followed by a Sarah Lynch point.

Clare stormed into the game after this and had levelled the tie at 0-5 to 1-2 by the thirteenth minute with points from Fidelma Marrinan, Eimear Keane (2 each) and Ciara Hickey.

They hit the front two minutes later when Caoimhe Harvey broke through from midfield to find the net. Meath fought back and a goal from Lauryn Grier helped them to a two point lead at half time when the score was 2-6 to 1-7.

Each side managed a point in the firt twelve minutes of the second half before a foul on Caitriona Callinan resulted in a Clare penalty which Ciara Hickey put away and Clare were back in front. Half time substitute Emer McMahon followed with a point to put the Banner side two clear but it was short lived as Meath hit back for another goal from centre forward Grier.

It was end to end stuff at this stage and Clare responded with a second goal from midfielder Harvey but a gain Meath hit back and substitute Tara Berigan goaled to level the tie art 3-10 to 4-7 with ten minutes to play.

What proved to be the winning score came from Fidelma Marrinan with three minutes of normal time to play. Five minutes of injury time followed during which Meath launched a number of attacks but the Clare defence held firm for a marvellous victory.

After the game Clare captain Kate Dillon received the cup from ladies football assocition president Marie Hickey while the player of the match award was presented to Clare midfielder Caoimhe Harvey who had to be helped off the field a few minutes before the final whistle due to ankle injury.

Clare; Micaela Glynn (Kilmihil);  Nicole O’Doherty (Kilmurry-Ibrickane), Kate Dillon (Doora-Barefield), Aine Keane (Miltown); Amanda Mulcair (Doora-Barefield), Caoimhe Harvey (West Clare Gaels) 2-1, Anna Courtney (Doora-Barefield); Tara Kelly (Shannon Gaels) Aisling Morrissey (Cooraclare );  Fidelma Marrinan (West Clare Gaels) 0-3, Lizzy Roche (Burren Gaels) Eimear Keane (Miltown) 0-2; Ciara Hickey (Kilmurry-Ibrickane) 1-1, Hannah Meaney (Doora-Barefield) Caitriona Callinan (Kilmihil ) 0-1′

Subs; Emma McMahon (Coolmeen) 0-1 for O’Doherty;  Megan Downes (Cooraclare) for Meaney; O’Doherty for Dillon;  Siobhan Brew (West Clare Gaels) for Harvey (inj)

By Seamus Hayes

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