All-Ireland Intermediate Championship Quarter-Final
Westmeath 3-11 Clare 2-11
Clare suffered an agonising three point defeat to Westmeath in the TG4 All-Ireland intermediate quarter final, reports Ivan Smyth.
When Clare trailed by eight points near the conclusion of the opening half and by six points after 40 minutes, it appeared their hopes of progressing through to the semi final were thin but Evan Talty’s side produced a tremendous fightback as they fell just short.
Clare scored 1-2 without reply as substitute Chloe Towey found the net as her side cut their deficit to a single point with five minutes remaining. After Anna Jones (free) and Niamh O’Dea traded scores, Clare tried desperately to find the score needed to level or win this back and forth contest.
O’Dea and Chloe Moloney both saw shots drift wide of the uprights with Westmeath desperately clinging on. However, they showed great composure when late in the game they scored two frees. Clare had a chance to restore parity when Moloney saw a 20m free blocked on the line as Clare’s gallant comeback effort fell just short.
After a cagey opening 15 minutes the game exploded in to life when Westmeath were awarded a penalty just before the water break with Leona Archibold finding the net to move Westmeath 1-3 to 05 in front. After the stoppage in play, Westmeath dealt Clare another blow when Anna Jones surged through the Clare defence before calmly scoring her side’s second goal.
After a Sarah Dillon point, Westmeath grabbed their third goal of the game when Lucy McCartan drilled home after Michaela Glynn produced a point blank save from Westmeath’s Ciara Blundell.
Clare found themselves eight points down but in the 27th minute Niamh O’Dea powered through the Westmeath defence before unleashing a powerful drive to the net. Her side tagged on two further scores to trail by three points at half time.
Westmeath tagged on some crucial scores after the break as they outscored Evan Talty’s side by four points to one in the first 10 minutes of the second half before withstanding Clare’s late fightback to progress through.
Clare: Michaela Glynn (Kilmihil), Ellie O’Gorman (Kilmihil), Orla Devitt (Eire Óg), Aine Keane (Miltown Malbay), Roisin Looney (Cooraclare), Caoimhe Harvey (West Clare Gaels), Siofra Ní Chonaill (Doora/Barefield), Aisling Reidy (Doora/Barefield), Tara Kelly (Cuil Gaels), Fidelma Marrinan (West Clare Gaels), Ciara McCarthy (Kilmurry Ibrickane), Laurie Ryan (Banner), Chloe Moloney (Kilmurry Ibrickane), Niamh O’Dea (Banner), Gráinne Nolan (Banner). Subs: Chloe Towey (Doora/Barefield) for Fidelma Marrinan (h-t), Lauren Griffin (Fergus Rovers) for Aine Keane (35 mins), Roisin Considine (Liscannor) for Siofra Ní Chonaill for, Caitriona Callinan (Kilmihil) for Ciara McCarthy (46 mins), Cliona Blake (Doonbeg) for Tara Kelly.
Scorers: Niamh O’Dea (1-3), Chloe Towey (1-0), Grainne Nolan (1f), Ciara McCarthy, Chloe Moloney, Aisling Reidy (0-2 each),
Westmeath: Lauren McCormack, Niamh Spellman, Lorraine Duncan, Tara Fagan, Fiona Coyle, Lucy Power, Rachel Dillon, Vicky Carr, Tracey Dillon, Fiona Claffey, Leona Archibold, Anna Jones, Ciara Blundell, Lucy McCartan, Sarah Dillon. Subs: Aoife Brady for Rachel Dillon (41 mins, inj), Annie Dolan for Ciara Blundell (53 mins), Johanna Maher for Tracey Dillon (58 mins), Aoife Connolly for Nicky Carr (60 mins),
Scorers: Anna Jones (1-3, 2f), Leona Archibold (1-0 penalty) and Lucy McCartan (1-1 each), Sarah Dillon (0-4), Aoife Connolly (1f) and Vicky Carr (0-1 each).
Referee: Garryowen McMahon.