Liberty Insurance Premier Junior Championship – Saturday, 22nd July 2019
Clare 2-16 Armagh 1-11
Clare made the long journey to Armagh on Saturday last for Round 2 of the Liberty Insurance Premier Junior Championship. Following an opening round defeat to Roscommon the Banner girls faced Armagh who had a comprehensive win over Tyrone in their opening game.
Success in the Athletic Grounds was an absolute must for the Banner girls if they wished to make the latter end stage of the Championship.
A nervy slow start however and being reduced to fourteen with twenty five minutes on the clock saw the visitors go in at the break trailing by three but a storming second half ensured a resounding victory and one foot in the All Ireland semi final.
Clare were on the attack from the throw in but Kate O’Gorman was dispossessed as she drove forward with the home side conceding a free. Regan Conways effort was wide of the post, from the puckout the home side were on the attack and when Rachel Merry was fouled she split the posts for the games opening score.
Merry added another almost immediately again from placed ball. From the puckout Armagh went on the attack and when Rebecca Crowe was fouled, Edel McNamara sent the resulting free down to the opposite ’45 line where Kate O’Gorman gathered and went forward.
O’Gorman lost possession but Sinead O’Keeffe was in support and overturned Tierna Maguire before passing to O’Gorman who split the posts for the Banners opening score. Merry added a brace of frees to leave Clare trailing by three with ten minutes on the clock.
From the puckout, the home side went on the attack and Emma McGuigan sent a high lobbing ball into the Clare danger area only for Rebecca Cahill to go high and make a clean catch before clearing back out the field.
The Clare backs were under pressure with Merry and McSorley piling pressure on the danger area, Cahill again came to the rescue mid way through the half when she forced Leanne Donnelly out on the wing and Donnelly saw her shot go wide of the post.
With Armagh’s next attack, Donnelly was punished for a late tackle , Edel McNamara sent the free down field where Conway gathered and split the posts.
Armagh won the puckout and returned swiftly to the Clare danger area, this time Orlaith Cotter was on hand to win the ball back and running out sent the ball down the wing to Aleisha Malone who got away from Grainne McWilliams to split the posts.
Armagh again were successful in winning Clares puckout and Niamh Mulqueen picked up her first yellow for a late tackle on Orlagh Murray. Merrys free was wide and McNamara sent her puckout down the wing, with Malone again gathering and sending a pass to Conway.
Conway’s shot was caught by Ciarai Devlin in the Armagh goals only for the Granemore player to slip on her way out and spill the ball out over the end line, with Conway converting the ’45 to level the sides.
Armagh were again on the attack and when Catherine McSorley and Mulqueen both went high for a dropping ball, referee Owen Williams deemed Mulqueen guilty of a late tackle and issued her a second yellow, with the Broadford player leaving the field of play.
Merry, who ended the day with a tally of 1-8, again converted the free to extend the home sides advantage to two. Clare regrouped and as the game approached the end of the first half, two Clare points through Kate O’Gorman from play and a Conway free saw the sides level on the half hour mark.
With five minutes of injury time to be played, the home side added a further three points, Leanne Donnellys effort in the thirty second minute being her sides first score from play in the game, and frees from Merry either side of that effort to see clare trail by three at the break, Clare 0-6 Armagh 0-9.
The second half started with an Armagh attack and Merry sent her shot to McSorley with the Tullysaran player having her shot deflected out for a ’45. Merrys effort was low but Armagh were penalised for a square ball and McNamara cleared play out the field. Clare introduced Siobhan Lenihan and the Kilkishen player made an immediate impact.
With Cotter winning a free in her own back line, and sending her shot long with Niamh O’Gorman gathering. O’Gorman went on the run and it was Kilkishen double play as she fed forward to the supporting Lenihan who split the posts. Clare introduced Ashling McMahon and Armagh went on the attack with Merry conceding a free.
McNamara sent the ball long to Conway who off laid a pass to Kate O’Gorman who in turn split the posts.
Clare were dominating proceedings by now and with Power winning Power winning possession she passed to Niamh O’Gorman on the wing, with O’Gorman returning play to Power who split the posts to level the sides with five minutes played in the second half.
Clare may have had a small travelling support in the Athletic Grounds, but from the cheer that went up for the levelling point it was easy to imagine that the stand was packed with Clare supporters. Armagh won possession from the puckout and Merry who was now operating in midfield fed the ball forward to Donnelly who edged the home side back in front.
Kate O’Gorman won a clean possession of McNamaras puckout and rounded Merry before running through and levelling the sides with her long range effort.
Merry got the better of the midfield battle from the puckout and went on the run, her shot came off the upright and Cahill gathered and cleared from danger, however Donnelly was well placed to gather and sent her shot between the posts to again edge the home side in front.
It was a similar outcome at the other end with the next passage in play, Kate O’Gorman’s shot hitting the upright, with her sister Niamh gathering the rebound and playing a crossfield ball to Conway who levelled the sides with her effort.
Conway put Clare back in front in the 47th minute when she converted a free and set up Kate O’Gorman for Clares next effort. Clare may have had a player less on the field but it was Armagh who were struggling to win possession, Power who had moved back to midfield was winning ball and feeding forward to an eager Banner outfit.
Niamh O’Gorman’s point put Clare three in front and from the puckout Power won possession and sent her shot to Conway. The Feakle woman went on the run and with Tierna Maguire coming out from full back, Conway passed to Sinead O’Keeffe who made no mistake as she drove forward and hand passed to the net with fifty minutes on the clock.
Just two minutes later, O’Keeffe raised a second green flag, again handpassing to the net. Clare missed their next couple of scoring opportunites and when Aisling McMahon won a free, Conway converted to put Clare ahead 2-15 to 0-11. With the game entering injury time O’Keeffe added a point for Clare effectively ending Armagh’s hopes.
The home side had one last attack left in the them, and moving play to the other end won a free which Merry struck low and hard to the back of the Clare net. Referee Owen Elliott, on duty for the second time that day in a Championship game, sounded the final whistle on McNamaras puckout, with Clare taking the points 2-16 to 1-11.
Armagh: Ciarrai Devlin Granemore; Ellen Lavery St Brigids, Tierna Maguire Ballymacnab, Laura Kelly Granemore; Blaithin O’Brien Mullaghbawn, Grainne McWilliams Granemore, Aine Maguire Ballymacnab; Aislinn McMahon Crossmaglen, Eimear Hayes Tullysaran; Leanne Donnelly Eglish Capt 0-3, Orlagh Murray Keady, Sinead Kiernan Madden; Rachel Merry Granemore 1-8, Emma McGuigan Madden, Colette McSorley Tullysaran
Subs: Niamh Forker An Portmor for Murray, Catherine Toner Ballymacnab for Devlin, Roisin Murphy Mullaghbawn for McMahon.
Clare: Edel McNamara Kilkishen; Rebecca Crowe Ruan, Rebecca Cahill Kilmaley, A N Other; Niamh Mulqueen Broadford, Orla Moloney St. Josephs Doora Barefield, Corina McMahon Corofin; Kate O’Gorman Kilkishen – Capt 0-4, Ciara Halpin Clooney Quin; Regan Conway Feakle 0-6, Alisha Malone Corofin 0-1, Sinead Power Inagh-Kilnamona 0-2; Louise McDonnell Ruan, Sinead O’Keeffe Kilmaley 2-1, Niamh O’Gorman Kilkishen 0-1
Subs: Siobhan Lenihan Kilkishen 0-1 for McDonnell, Aisling McMahon St Josephs for Malone.
Referee: Owen Elliott, Antrim