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Slicker Kerry advance to Munster final


Niamh Keane of Clare in action against Aisling Leonard.  Photographs by John Kelly

Kerry 3-12   Clare 1-14

SLICKER movement in attack helped Kerry to a four-point win over Clare in the semi-final of the Munster Senior Ladies’ Football Championship at Kilmihil last evening.
While Clare played some impressive football, their failure to get through for a goal until the final minute proved costly. Meanwhile, Kerry hit for goals at crucial times and these scores proved decisive in sending the visitors through to the final of the championship where they will play Cork.
Clare, despite having suffered two defeats, they lost to Cork in Doneraile last week, are still in the championship race. The draw for the qualifiers will be made on Monday in Croke Park when Clare will learn who their next opponents will be. Torrential rain in the hours before the game militated against a big crowd but the pitch was in remarkably firm condition despite the earlier downpour.
Clare made an excellent start and led by three points after eight minutes when the score was 0-4 to 0-1. They could have been further ahead at this stage but for an uncharacteristic miss from a close-range free by Niamh O’Dea.
In the middle 10 minutes of the half, Kerry hit a purple patch scoring 1-6 without reply to open a six-point lead. The visitor’s corner-forwards, Louise Ní Mhuircheartaigh and Patrice Dennehy, caused a lot of problems for Clare and it was surprising that the home side waited until the final quarter to make changes in the full-back line.
Clare rallied before the break and when the half-time whistle sounded, the margin was down to four, 1-8 to 0-7.
The introduction of Shauna Harvey at wing-back for the second half helped Clare and they dominated the early exchanges after play resumed.
Kerry goalkeeper Edel Murphy denied the home team a goal in the third minute when she managed to turn Naomi Carroll’s effort behind for a 45’. Four minutes into the new half, Kerry had defender Aoife Lyon sin-binned and Clare hit the next four points to leave the minimum between the teams nine minutes into this half.
Kerry’s response was strong and they hit for two goals in three minutes, scores that deflated the home side. The first of these was a fortunate score as Louise Galvin’s effort for a point dipped into the net off the post. Two minutes later, the visitors put together a great passing move, which ended with a superb goal from Patrice Dennehy. Louise Ní Mhuirceartaigh added a point and suddenly Clare were eight points behind again.
To their credit, Clare battled to the end but they needed a goal. When it eventually came, it was too late to prevent the visitors from progressing. Fiona Lafferty was the goal scorer and the Kilnamona woman, who plays her club football with Donoughmoyne in Monaghan, crashed an unstoppable shot to the net after an excellent move involving a number of Clare players. A minute earlier, Kerry goalkeeper Edel Murphy denied Naomi Carroll with a fine stop after the Cratloe woman, who plays with Banner Ladies, made a tremendous run.
Sinéad and Lorraine Kelly worked hard at the centre of the Clare defence in front of Emma O’Driscoll, who could not be faulted for any of the Kerry goals. Louise Henchy, Naomi Carroll, Marie Kelly and Niamh O’Dea were others to impress for Clare.
For the winners, Aislinn Desmond, Megan O’Connell, Sarah Houlihan, Louise Ní Mhuirceartaigh and Patrice Dennehy caused a lot of problems.

Kerry: Edel Murphy; Cait Lynch, Aoife Lyons, Aislinn Desmond; Sarah Jane Joy, Aisling Leonard, Caroline Kelly; Bernie Breen, Sarah Houlihan; Emma Sherwood, Louise Galvin, Deirdre Corridan; Louise Ní Mhuirceartaigh, Megan O’Connell, Patrice Dennehy.
Scorers: Patrice Dennehy (1-3); Louise Ní Mhuirceartaigh (0-5); Louise Galvin (1-2); Megan O’Connell (1-1) and Sarah Houlihan (0-1).
Clare: Emma O’Driscoll; Michelle Delaney, Lorraine Kelly, Laurie Ryan; Róisín O’Looney, Sinéad Kelly, Eimear O’Connor; Marie Considine, Louise Henchy; Naomi Carroll, Marie Kelly, Niamh Keane; Fiona Lafferty, Niamh O’Dea, Ailish Considine.
Subs: Shauna Harvey for O’Connor (half-time); Claire Hester for Delaney (50 minutes); Bernie Kelly for O’Looney (50 minutes); Susan Higgins for Carroll (60 minutes).
Scorers: Niamh O’Dea (0-7); Fiona Lafferty (1-1); Ailish Considine (0-3); Marie Kelly (0-2); Marie Considine (0-1).
Referee: Mike Duffy, ­Tipperary.

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