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Sophie Leahy, who was among the goalscorers for Clare against Kerry.

Clare rule over the Kingdom girls in nail biting win

Munster U-16A ladies football
Clare 2-7 – Kerry 2-6

“We did It” screamed Martin Keavey as the Clare U-16 manager and a lot of the support staff thought they were one point in arrears when Aoibheann Ryan scored what was actually the winning free three minutes into injury time. The shock of the surprise and then the celebrations hit the players in the UL astropitch recently.

An honest appraisal of this game would be to confirm that Clare were not lucky winners they were deserved winners. Playing against the strong wind in the first-half that waned when Clare would have hoped for its assistance in the second-half, it was Kerry who struck first for a converted penalty by Jessie Lynch after just two minutes. Soon after Caoimhe McDonnell saw a speculative effort come off the post before Naoise O’Donoghue added the first Kerry score. The Clare defence were tremendous in the tackle only for at times the Clare half-forwards and midfield to lose the ball with a stray pass or needless kicking away when in possession. Aoibheann Ryan finally had Clare on the scoresheet after 13 minutes. Kayla Darcy was on hand to create and execute the score of the game beating five Kerry players and coolly slotting over the bar.

Jessie Lynch added a further Kerry score as their kicking wides from frees and play effectively cost them a commanding first-half lead. Lily Riordan sent Kerry (1-3) to (0-2) ahead in the 25th minute and when incessant Kerry pressure in the Clare half finally broke the Banner girls Brid Curtin had the Kingdom’s second goal. Yet, in a big boost for confidence Sarah McEvoy had the final score of the first-half as Laura Meaney was outstanding in the Clare back line. Half time score Kerry (2-3) Clare (0-3).

Clare were now every bit as capable as Kerry of winning the tie and attacked from the second-half throw in and this reaped due reward as Ali Talty hit the net after 35 minutes to cut the Kerry lead in half. Aoibheann Ryan, who is one of the better young place kickers in the county, added another free before Eimear Dillane cut through Clare for a great score by the 40th minute.

Aoibheann Ryan turned inventor of the second Clare goal setting up Sophie Leahy and her lobbing effort dipped underneath the crossbar and the sides were level. Seconds later Sarah McEvoy forced a save from Kerry netminder Anne O’Shaughnessy. Muireann Teahan restored the Kerry lead in the 51st minute and four minutes later Naoise O’Donoghue with her second score appeared to do enough to give Kerry a real chance of winning by going two clear. Yet, the final minutes of the game were dominated by Clare and it was Doonbeg’s Aoibheann Ryan aided by a near ravenous set of teammates who aided her to kick the last three scores of the game to set off great scenes for the hardworking management and players.

Clare: Nicola Clarke (Cuil Gaels), Laura Meaney (Wolfe Tones) , Roisin Garry (Fergus Rovers), Orla McGee (Cuil Gaels), Leah Daly (Kilrush), Sarah Keavey (St Joseph’s Doora Barefield, Abi Kelly (St Joseph’s Miltown), Caoimhe McDonnell (Clooney/Quin), Ali Talty (Fergus Rovers), Sheena Beirne (Clooney/Quin), Kayla Darcy (Kilmurry Ibrickane), Nessa Meaney (Fergus Rovers), Sarah McEvoy (Wolfe Tones), Aobheann Ryan (Doonbeg), Sophie Leahy (St Joseph’s Doora Barefield). Subs: Shannon Cagney (Liscannor) for Beirne, Leah Darcy (St Joseph’s Miltown Malbay) for Kelly, Grace Marrinan (West Clare Gaels) for McDonnell, Maeve Clancy (Fergus Rovers) for McEvoy

Scorers: Aoibheann Ryan (0-5), Sophie Leahy, Ali Talty (1-0) each, Kayla Darcy, Sarah McEvoy (0-1) each

Kerry: Anne O’ Shaughnessy (Fossa), Jamie Lee O’ Connor (Ballymacelligott), Muireann Rochford (Inbheair Sceine Gaels), Roisin Daly (MKL Gaels), Sadhbh Ni Slattara (Corca Dhuibhne), Eimear Dillane (Austin Stacks), Leah Griffin (Castleisland Desmonds), Muireann Teehan (Southern Gaels), Anna O’ Sullivan (Churchill), Lily Riordan (Beaufort), Doireann O’ Niell (Inbheair Sceine Gaels), Keeva Riordan (Beaufort), Jessie Lynch (Daingean), Brian Curtin (Currow), Naoise O’ Donoghue (MKL Gaels) Subs: Eve Broderick (Na Gaeil) for Riordan

Scorers: Jessie Lynch (1-1), Brid Curtin (1-0), Naoise O’ Donoghue (0-2) Eimear Dillane, Muireann Teahan, Lily Riordan (0-1) each

U-16B Ladies football
Kerry (2-13) – Clare (1-6)

In the adjacent pitch in UL the Clare U-16 B team took on their Kerry counterpart in what was a useful exercise as has been the case for all the games played by the B side this season. The side and management will hold in the heads a sense of regret as in both halves they had the gargantuan share of possession but were caught in the counter attack especially in the first half including having what many thought was a goal disallowed that should have stood. At the half time break the Clare side were (1-8) to (0-1) behind but had a brilliant start to the second half as Hazel Conway had the ball in the Kerry net. This signalled a segment of dominance by Clare but with a shortage of scores to compliment the effort it was just a case of Kerry soaking up the pressure and then in the final ten minutes launching a final rally that led to goal number 2 for the winners and the result. Best for Clare who have done well with this development squad and should help foster a strong minor panel in the coming two seasons included Marian Lynch, Keela Markham, Isabella Madigan, Hazel Conway, Caragh Fitzgerald, Aine Bermingham. Naoise Talty and Amy Killeen. The A team play Limerick in the C Final and the B team play Waterford in their final

Clare: Isabella Blake (Kilrush), Amy Killeen (St Joseph’s Miltown Malbay) Marian Lynch (Cooraclare), Erika Wynne (St Joseph’s Miltown Malbay), Aine Bermingham (Kilrush), Caoimhe Larkin (Kilrush), Keela Markham (Kilmurry Ibrickane), Caoimhe Hourigan (Wolfe Tones), Naoise Talty (Fergus Rovers), Caragh Fitzgerald (Corofin), Susan McGrath (West Clare Gaels), Ruth Nagle (St Joseph’s Doora Barefield), Millie O’ Connell (Wolfe Tones), Hazel Conway (Fergus Rovers), Isabelle Madigan (West Clare Gaels). Subs: Emma McGann (St Joseph’s Doora Barefield), Amy Roche (West Clare Gaels), Clara Keogh (West Clare Gaels), Sarah Hickey (Fergus Rovers).

Scorers: Naoise Talty (1-0), Hazel Conway (0-3), Isabella Madigan (0-2), Millie O ‘Connell (0-1).

About Michael O'Connor

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