Munster U16A Championship Final
After a 5 year gap the Munster U16A Mary Moran Cup will have Clare inscribed on it after Clare claimed the 2015 Championship in emphatic style on Sunday evening in Charleville over long time foes Cork.
There were high expectations of Clare going into this Final having defeated Tipperary in the semi final – Tipperary having taken honours every year since 2010 to 2014 inclusive. And the Clare girls lived up to those expectations, from Evelynn Duggans opening point in the third minute right to the final whistle when Captain Ciara Grogan accepted the Cup.
Duggan opened the scoring with a well struck point having received an inch perfect pass from Sarah Loughnane out on the far wing. From the puck out Cork moved play to the other end and Chloe Collins dropped her shot into the Clare danger area. The Cork forwards had ideas of a green flag only to be thwarted by Clare goalie Aine O’Loughlin who got in a timely deflection to put the shot out over the line.
Cork’s Eimear McAndrew had the opportunity to level matters but with a cross field wind lifting the ball, her shot was wide of the posts. This was about as good as it got for Cork in the opening half in terms of attacking as Clare found their feet and outhurled the Leesiders.
A Clare goal opportunity at the other end was deflected out for a ’45 and Clare’s Laura Foley made sure the elements didn’t interfere in her shot as she split the posts.
Foley and Amy Barrett bossed the play in the middle of the field, winning the Cork puckout and sending play back in to the Clare forwards where Roisin Begley gathered. The diminutive Truagh player passed to Aoife Power who registered Clare’s third point. Again Clare won the battle in the middle and this time it was Foley who pointed for the Banner to have Clare ahead 0-4 to no score with twelve minutes played.
Cork’s Lauren Homan hit her side’s only score of the first half on the fifteenth minute mark when she converted a free. From here to the half time whistle neither side registered a score as both sets of backs dominated play. Alannah Ryan, Ciara Doyle and Emma Kennedy defended superbly for Clare as they broke down the Cork attack.
The cross field wind hampered both sides as Cork saw four attempts from placed balls carried to the wrong side of the posts. Clare were denied by the Cork goalie in the twentieth minute and this time it was Clare who saw their shot drift wide.
Clare had the opportunity for a goal again with five minutes remaining. Good work from Emma Kennedy set up Laura McGrath only for the Cork full back Katie McCarthy to win back possession and clear from the danger area, leaving the sides go in with Clare ahead 0-4 to 0-1 at the half-time break.
Louise Egan and Sinead Power replaced Niamh O’Connor and Sinead Conlon in the Clare half forward line at the restart while the opening score fell to Cork when Cliona Healy registered their only point from play.
Clare’s response was instant however; winning their puckout and moving play forward to the other end. McGrath set up Loughnane who made no mistake as she hammered home her shot to the back of the Cork net to see Clare lead 1-05 to 0-02.
Cork’s Collins went on the attack in the fortieth minute but under pressure from a tight Clare back line, her shot was well wide. Cork tried hard in the middle but with Kennedy driving forward and winning the ball in the air, there was little the Leesiders could do in their efforts to win and retain possession.
The sides exchanged points from placed balls for the next couple of scores before Clare struck three unanswered points which effectively quelled the Cork spirit. Aoife Power, after a pass from Kennedy, split the posts, and this was followed by two well struck points from Sinead Power who put Clare ahead 1-09 to 0-03 with six minutes of time remaining.
Cork threw all they had at Clare in the closing minutes and were rewarded with a green flag when sub Ciara Hughes got a touch to the ball and with a deceptive swing it slipped past O’Loughlin.
With six points between the sides and just minutes remaining Cork tried for another goal, O’Loughlin this time was on spot and got to the driving shot to put it out over the line. Homan sent her shot in around the square to her comrades however it was Clare’s Ryan who went highest and came away with the vital possession.
With sixty minutes on the clock, Cork were awarded a free and this time Homan went for the option of splitting the posts. Three minutes of scoreless injury time were played before referee Donie Brown blew the final whistle and Clare celebrated their victory on a final score of Clare 1-09 Cork 1-04.
Before captain Ciara Grogan accepted the Cup from Munster Council Chairman James Moynihan, Clare’s Laura Foley was presented the Player of the Game Award by Marie Kearney, an accolade that could have gone to any number of the Clare girls on the day.
This victory was deserved as Clare put in an absolute all round performance all over the field, covering every inch of the field while out hurling the opposition. The battle in midfield was won constantly by Clare who set up numerous attacks. Clare’s ability to grab scores from play added to their constant threat up front while at the rear the Cork forwards were thwarted at almost every attempt.
Clare: Aine O’Loughlin (Truagh/Clonlara), Mary O’Connor (Sixmilebridge) Alannah Ryan (Kilkishen) Ciara Doyle (Bodyke) Sarah Loughnane (Sixmilebridge) (1-01), Emma Kennedy (Sixmilebridge), Ciara Grogan (Clooney/Quin) (Capt), Laura Foley (Truagh/Clonlara) (0-03 1F 2’45), Amy Barrett (Scariff/Ogonnelloe), Roisin Begley (Truagh/Clonlara), Niamh O’Connor (Kilkishen), Sinead Conlon (Tulla), Laura McGrath (Feakle), Evelyn Duggan (Feakle) (0-01), Aoife Power (Scariff/Ogonnelloe) (0-02)
Subs: Sinead Power (Inagh/Kilnamona) (0-02) for O’Connor, Louise Egan (Truagh/Clonlara) for Conlon.
Cork: Mary Daly (Douglas), Aideen Buckley (Ballyhea), Katie McCarthy (Aghabullogue), Edel Lonergan (Sarsfields) (Capt), Molly Ryan (Carrigaline), Kate Daly (Sliabh Rua), Meave Lynch (Newcestown) Eimear McAndrew (Ballygarvan), Lucy O’Gorman (Ballygarvan) Lauren Homan (St Vincents)(0-03 3F), Chloe Collins (Millstreet), Isobel O’Regan (Ballygarvan), Cliona Healy (0-01), Nora O’Riordan, Olivia Murphy.
Subs: Kate Wall for O’Riordan, Grainne Cahalan for Buckley, Ciara Hughes 1-0 for Collins, Ciara Crowley for Murphy.
Referee: Donie Brown (Tipperary).