Hospital in County Limerick hosted the Munster Minor A Camogie Championship final on Wednesday evening, when Clare and Tipperary clashed at this stage for the second year in-a-row.
At the end of an excellent contest, Clare were deserving winners and confirmed the widely held view that there is a bright future for the Banner County at adult level.
Despite being hit for an early goal, Clare never panicked and when the half-time whistle sounded, they were eight points clear, 1-9 to 1-1.
Tipperary again struck for a goal early in the second half and when Premier County officials reflect on this tie, they will wonder why Cashel’s Caoimhe Purdue was not in their line-up from the outset. Introduced shortly before the half-time whistle, she turned in an excellent performance and caused quite a few problems for the Clare defence. Yet, credit to the backs who excelled, especially Alannah Ryan, Ciara Doyle, goalkeeper Ciara McCarthy and team captain Emma Kennedy.
The game was just three minutes old when Tipperary full-forward Casey Hennessy won possession with only goalie McCarthy to beat. The Tipperary girl cooly handpassed to the net.
Clare had drawn level by the midpoint of the half through Olivia Phelan, Sinéad Conlon, Aoife Power and Áine O’Loughlin. From here to whistle, the new Munster champions were outstanding.
Sinéad Conlon excelled at midfield and helped to set up a number of key scores. Following a powerful run from midfield, Clare’s goal came when Shauna Canny was on hand to flick the sliotar to the net, after Conlon’s effort was saved in the 30th minute.
Tipperary returned in determined mood and within the first five minutes, they had struck for 1-1. Clare replied with points from Aoife Power and an Áine O’Loughlin penalty, as they led by six with ten minutes to play.
Tipperary were piling on the pressure but the Banner side’s defence was superb and as the game went into injury time, Clare led by nine points.
Tipperary battled to the end and hit the last three points but there was no denying Clare this success and the final whistle brought a great cheer from the Clare supporters at the game.
Earlier this year there was disappointment when the team went down to Galway in the All-Ireland final at Nenagh but they have bounced back strongly and this performance was fully deserving of Munster success.
Credit must also go to the management team of Dervilla Moloney, Eugene Foudy, Stephen Cusack, Michelle McMahon, Darren Hayes and Cathal O’Sullivan.
Clare: Ciara McCarthy (Newmarket-on-Fergus); Amy Barrett (Scariff-Ogonnelloe), Alanna Ryan (Kilkishen), Laoise Ryan (Inagh-Kilnamona); Ciara Grogan (Clooney-Quin), Emma Kennedy (Sixmilebridge), Ciara Doyle (Scariff-Ogonnelloe); Sinéad Conlon (Tulla), Róisín Begley (Truagh-Clonlara); Aoife Power (Scariff-Ogonnelloe), Shauna Canny (Killanena), Laura McGrath (Feakle); Olivia Phelan (Sixmilebridge), Brídín Dinan (Tulla), Áine O’Loughlin (Truagh-Clonlara).
Subs: Amy Barrett (Scariff-Ogonnelloe) for Canny; Mary Enright (Newmarket) for Barrett (inj); Sarah Loughnane (Sixmilebrdge) for Phelan (inj).
Scorers: Aoife Power and Áine O’Loughlin (0-4 each); Shauna Canny (1-0); Sinéad Conlon (0-2); Róisín Begley, Bridin Dinan and Olivia Phelan (0-1 each).
Tipperary: Lauren Horgan; Ruth Hassett, Christina Brennan, Niamh Long; Amy Quigley, Mary Burke, Hazel McAuliffe; Anna Gavin, Jean Kelly; Katie Bourke, Eibhlís McDonald, Áine O’Dwyer; Caroline Browne, Casey Hennessy, Sarah Delaney.
Subs: Caoimhe Purdue for Burke; Ciara Ryan for Kelly.
Scorers: Caoimhe Purdue (1-2); Casey Hennessy (1-0); Eibhlís McDonald (0-2); Anna Gavin, Caroline Browne (0-1 each).
Referee: Philip Dee (Limerick).