DESPITE late goals from Chloe Morey and Aoife Duggan, Clare suffered a 2-6 to 2-12 defeat to Galway as they suffered their second defeat in a row, reports Ivan Smyth.
With Clare needing at least a draw to keep their hopes of progressing to the knockout stages alive, they were overpowered by Galway in the third quarter as they were outscored by 2-3 to 0-1 after trailing by only a point at half time.
Clare now face Westmeath in the final group game with both teams winless after their opening two matches. Ger O’Connell’s side struggled up front as they only hit two points in 27 minutes in the second half before the quickfire goals from Morey and Duggan.
These majors cut Galway’s lead to three but this year’s league finalists struck the final three points of the game as they kept their cool in the sweltering heat as they picked up their second successive win.
Goals after half time from Niamh Kilkenny and Siobhan McGrath did the damage to Clare’s hopes of pulling off a shock as Galway moved up through the gears after Clare frustrated the 2019 All-Ireland champions in the opening half.
Clare dominated the opening quarter of this game but were made to pay for some wasteful shooting as they struck three wides and dropped two efforts short in the opening quarter of this game. Ger O’Connell’s men frustrated Galway with Niamh O’Dea operating as a sweeper as she consistently cut out Galway attacks.
However, Clare struggled to penetrate the Galway defence with three Morey frees their only scores of the opening quarter. Last year’s All-Ireland finalists Galway struggled up front but managed to find scores from Aoife O’Donoghue, Catherine Finnerty and a free from Siobhan McGrath to level the game.
Galway seized the initiative in the second quarter with Ailish O’Reilly causing problems at full forward. Niamh Donoghue saw a goal chance excellently blocked by Clarecastle’s Doireann Murphy while Donoghue was again thwarted by the Clare defence moments later. Galway hit four wides in the second quarter while Clare managed to it the front when Morey flashed an effort over the bar. However, late scores from Niamh McGrath (free) and Niamh Kilkenny gave Galway a 0-5 to 0-4 half time lead and they pushed on in the third quarter to move the game beyond Clare.
Clare: Doireann Murphy (Clarecastle), Susan Daly (Scariff Ogonnelloe), Clare Hehir (Inagh/Kilnamona), Ciara Grogan (Clooney/Quin) Alannah Ryan (Kilkishen), Niamh O’Dea (Kilmaley), Roisin McMahon (Newmarket on Fergus), Orlaith Duggan (Clooney/Quin), Zi Yan Spillane (Feakle/Killanena), Aoife Keane (Inagh/Kilnamona), Maire McGrath (Sixmilebridge), Rebecca Foley (Truagh/Clonlara), Eimear Kelly (Truagh/Clonlara), Chloe Morey (Sixmilebridge), Feakle/Killanena).
Subs: Laura McMahon (Newmarket on Fergus) for Roisin McMahon (40 mins), Roisin Begley for Eimear Kelly (40 mins), Siofra Ni Chonaill for Zi Yan Spillane (43 mins), Aine O’Loughlin (Truagh/Clonlara) for Robyn Conway (47 mins), Sinead Conlon (Tulla) for Susan Daly (47 mins).
Scorers: Chloe Morey (1-4, 1-3f), Aine O’Loughlin (1-0), Aoife Keane and Orlaith Duggan (0-1 each),
Galway: Sarah Healy, Dervla Higgins, Sarah Dervan, Shauna Healy, Siobhan Gardiner, Emma Helebert, Ann Marie Starr, Niamh Hanniffy, Niamh Kilkenny, Niamh McGrath, Sarah Spellman, Aoife Donohue, Siobhan McGrath, Ailish O’Reilly, Catherine Finnerty.
Subs: Noreen Coen for Sarah Spellman (49 mins), Tara Kenny (49 mins), Roisin Black for Dervla Higgins (54 mins), Maria Cooney for Ann Marie Starr (54 mins), Ciara Murphy for Niamh Hanniffy (54 mins).
Scorers: Niamh Kilkenny and Siobhan McGrath (2f) (1-2 each), Niamh McGrath (0-3, 2f, 1 ‘45), Aoife Donohue (0-2), Ailish O’Reilly (0-2), Catherine Finnerty (0-1),
Referee: Liz Dempsey.