Clare’s hopes of reaching the knockout stages of the Irish Daily Star National Camogie League were dealt a severe blow as they lost by two points to Dublin.
In a physical contest it was Dublin who opened the scoring through an Ali Twomey free in the opening minute. Chloe Morey, Clare’s chief scorer on the day levelled matters from a placed ball and added another free in the fifth minute. Sandwiched between those two frees was a point from Fiona Lafferty. Twomey converted another free in the 7th minute to narrow the gap to the minimum.
2013 All-Star Chloe Morey accounted for the Banner’s next score when she received a pass from the far wing and split the posts. Lucan Sarsfields Ali Twomey who was pivotal for Dublin throughout, accurately split the posts with three successive scores to put the Dubs in front.
Inagh/Kilnamona’s Fiona Lafferty was fouled on the attack with twenty five minutes played and Morey pointed the resulting free. Dublin were grateful to the indiscipline of the Banner girls as Ali Twomey was on target yet again from a placed ball to leave the sides level at the break.
The second half started and ended with goals at either end. Crucially, it was Dublin who got the goal at the beginning. A free won at the throw in saw Twomey send a driving shot in towards the square and what looked like a shot going wide was doubled on in the air superbly by Louise O’Hara whose shot slipped into the corner of the Clare net. The goal proved to be crucial as it gave the visiting Dubs momentum and though Clare responded well with Orlaith Duggan pointing from play at the other end, the Dubs retained their lead through the second half.
Goalscorer O’Hara and Sixmilebridge’s Morey exchanged points, before it was the turn of Siobhan Kehoe to exchange points with Morey. O’Hara and Twomey then added from play and placed balls respectively to extend Dublins lead to four points. Morey reduced the gap to three points with a 45 with less than fifteen minutes remaining in the contest.
Dublin increased their lead back to four with another Twomey free on the fifty first minute. Morey again converted with fifty five minutes gone to leave that all important goal separating the sides. The Dubs scenting victory piled on the pressure in the last 5 minutes, with sub Aisling Maher and Kehoe adding a brace of points to have the visitors ahead by 5 points with the game entering the last minute.
Colm Honan’ side moved play to the other end, intent on raising a green flag. A Dublin foul saw Morey again step up for the resulting free, and from left of the goals 25 yards out her shot went past the Dublin defence and goalie to the top right corner, narrowing the gap to two points. With less than a minute of injury time played time ran out for Clare, losing by two points.
Up next for the Banner is an away trip to Derry on March 21st. Clearly Clare have to work on their indiscipline as eight of Dublin’s fourteen scores were frees, add in to that the fact that Dublin scored on the back of a free which shows just how big a cause for concern it is. In 2014 Clare reached the National League Final and now they barely resemble a Division 1 team, their level of descent is quiet worrying.
Players such as Eimear Considine and Naomi Carroll have been unavailable due to rugby and hockey commitments respectively. Both Claire McMahon and Deirdre Murphy two of the most reliable and experience Clare forwards have not announced their retirements but are not presently on the panel, for the sake of Clare Camogie, Colm Honan and his management team need to pay an urgent visit to the pair to get them lining out for the Banner. This defeat needs to be the wake-up call as at present the direction the panel is headed in does not do themselves justice.
Shane O’Brien’s Dublin now have a one-hundred percent record having already dispatched of Derry prior to their visit to Clonlara. The Dubs will need to stay focused as difficult challenges await versus Cork and Kilkenny, if they become in anyway complacent they will suffer as a result. Nonetheless it is two wins from two games and they have reason to be confident for their next outing. The experience of key players such as Louise O’Hara and Rose Collins was telling as the Dubs ran their way to victory.
Dublin Scorers: A Twomey 0-8F, L O’Hara 1-2, S Kehoe 0-2, A Maher 0-1
Denise Lynch (Kilmaley)
Carol O’Leary (Newmarket on Fergus)
Laura McMahon (Newmarket on Fergus)
Aoife Griffin (Newmarket on Fergus)
Kathleen Horgan (Truagh/Clonlara)
Maire McGrath (Sixmilebridge)
Kate Lynch (Kilkishen)
Niamh O’Dea (Kilmaley)
Orlaith Duggan (Clooney/Quin) (0-01)
Eimear Kelly (Truagh/Clonlara)
Chloe Morey (Sixmilebridge) (1-09 1-07f 145)
Roisin McMahon (Newmarket on Fergus)
Ellen Horgan (Truagh/Clonlara)
Fiona Lafferty (Inagh/Kilnamona) (0-01)
Vera Loughnane (Feakle)
Sub: Michelle Caulfield (Truagh/Clonlara) for Kelly
Síle Nic Coitir (Ballyboden St Endas)
Catriona Power (Naomh Mearnog)
Rose Collins (Naomh Brid)
Deirdre Johnstone (Naomh Uinsionn)
Grainne Quinn (Naomh Brid)
Alison Maguire (Naomh Uinsionn) (0-01)
Aisling Carolan (St Oliver Plunett Eoghan Ruadh)
Siobhan Kehoe (Naomh Fionnbarra) (0-02)
Martha O’Donoghue (Ballyboden St Endas)
Ali Twomey (Lucan Sarsfields) (0-8 8f)
Aine Fanning (Naomh Uinsionn)
Louise O’Hara (Erins Isle) (1-02)
Laoise Quinn (St Oliver Plunkett Eoghan Ruadh)
Sarah O’Donovan (Naomh Uinsionn)
Emma Flanagan (Lucan Sarsfields)
Referee: Mike O’Kelly (Cork).