Clare Camogie

Founded 1934

Co. Clare

Match Reports - VERY National League Division 2B Rounds 1 & 2

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Photo Credit: David Dillon

Match Reports courtesy of Derek Dormer, & The Clare Champion

Upcoming fixtures:

Saturday, 17th February

Inagh GAA - Round 3 - VERY National League Div 2B : Clare v Galway, 11.45am

Cusack Park, Ennis - Round 1 VERY National League Div 1A : Clare v Galway, 2pm


Match Reports below:

VERY NATIONAL LEAGUE DIVISION 2B Round 1 @ Enniscorthy, Co Wexford 27/01/2024

Stepping up a level is one thing, but last year's glorious National League and All Ireland double catapulted Clare up two divisions which made for a daunting six hour round trip to a far more experienced Wexford side. Trailing by three points at the interval and looking physically inferior to their opponents the Banner seemed to be in all sorts of trouble. Yet once more, when staring down the barrel, this character laden outfit delivered and delivered in spades. Completely dominating the second thirty minutes they outscored Wexford nine points to two and it has to be said were full value for their eventual four point winning margin. John Carmody's charges looked out of sorts completely for the opening half and apart from two fine Jennifer Daly points they never looked like putting scores on the board. Ruan's Aoife Anderson seemed to be the only Clare player with the bit between her teeth as she almost single handedly brought the fight to Wexford. Her appetite for work was insatiable and she put in an incredible shift before being substituted late on. Constantly securing primary possession the Ruan player tried valiantly to place her side on the front foot and indeed a magnificent overturning of possession and off load to midfielder Grace Carmody resulted in a much needed confidence building score just before the half time whistle. The Banner don't do panic though and credit must be given to Carmody and his management team. Switching Captain Sinead O'Keeffe to her customary wing back role and placing Scariff-Ogonolloe's Rachel Minogue in the centre back berth had an immediate impact. Introducing Caoimhe Cahill and Emma O'Donoghue at the interval also paid dividends as Clare now looked a far more cohesive unit. With these changes both positional and in personnel the girls in Saffron and Blue landed the first four scores inside six minutes courtesy of three converted Aisling Cooney placed balls and a magnificent point from play when a diagonal ball was cleverly gathered by substitute O'Donoghue before she popped the sliotar to Grace Carmody who in turn found Cooney with a razor like pass which the Parteen-Meelick player beautifully slotted over. Aoife Anderson once more turned provider when finding full forward Cooney who at this point just couldn't miss. In a classy display, Cooney accounted for eight white flags with her accurate freetaking a huge weapon in the Banner arsenal. Dual player and rising star Caoimhe Cahill then landed a beauty and the home side now looked a beaten docket. Carmody's troops seemed hungrier, far more determined and were now first to almost every ball. One just can't beat desire and these Banner girls showed once more that they love playing for the County. A whole host of substitutions didn't weaken their cause either and indeed it was one of these substitutes Danielle Beston who had the final say when firing over in additional time. A huge result as Clare Camogie remains on an upward trajectory. There will be stiffer tests with Galway and Cork to come but this was a hugely positive start to life in Division 2B and Clare will now look to take this momentum into the weekend where it's a renewal of that magnificent day in Croke Park as Tipperary and Clare lock horns once more. 

Clare: Sophie Cullen (Truagh-Clonlara), Rebecca Crowe (Ruan), Caoimhe Lally (Newmarket on Fergus), Sinead Hogg (Truagh-Clonlara), Rachel Kelly (Sixmilebridge), Rachel Minogue (Scariff-Ogonolloe), Sinead O'Keeffe (Kilmaley), Niamh Mulqueen (Broadford), Grace Carmody (Kilmaley), Jennifer Daly (Scariff-Ogonolloe), Kate O'Gorman (Kilkishen), Aoife Anderson (Ruan), Labhaoise O'Donnell (Scariff-Ogonolloe), Aisling Cooney (Parteen-Meelick), Olivia Phelan (Sixmilebridge)
Subs: Caoimhe Cahill (Kilmaley) for Kate O'Gorman (HT), Emma O'Donoghue (Clarecastle) for O Phelan (HT), Danielle Beston (Scariff-Ogonolloe) for A Anderson (48), Hannah Mai Neylon (Ballyea) for J Daly (55), Eimear Begley (Truagh-Clonlara) for R Crowe (60), Mary Hanrahan (Crusheen) for L O'Donnell (60+2), Eabha McInerney (Tulla) for S O'Keeffe (60+4)
Scorers: Aisling Cooney 0-8 (6f), Jennifer Daly 0-2, Caoimhe Cahill, Grace Carmody, Danielle Beston 0-1 each
Wexford: Lizzie Dempsey (Cloughbawn), Kellyanne Dempsey (Oylegate Glenbrien), Amy Cahill (Rathnure), Sinead Furlong (Buffers Alley), Marie Claire Morrissey (St.Martin's), Muireann Fitzpatrick (Castletown Liam Mellows), Ciara O'Dwyer (Rapparees), Grace Roche (Glynn Barntown), Clodagh Fitzhenry (Duffry Rovers), Sadhbh Buttle (Kilrush), Nora Higgins (Rathnure), Aoife McCrea (Rapparees), Ciara Butler (Glynn Barntown), Caoimhe Byrne (Rathnure), Lisa Firman (St.Martin's)Subs: Sai Doyle (Craanford Monaseed) for S Buttle inj (25), Orla Redmond (Oylegate Glenbrien) for A McCrea (40), Rebecca Fanning (Glynn Barntown) for K Dempsey, Emer Hunt (Horeswood) for L Firman, 

Scorers: Nora Higgins 0-6 (5f), Grace Roche 0-2 (f), Caoimhe Byrne 0-1
Referee: Patrick Murphy (Carlow)
After seeing his charges open their Intermediate league campaign with a come from behind victory Clare boss John Carmody wasn't one bit surprised with the character his troops displayed." It was our first competitive day out and we have been training on the Astro turf so it was a bit strange being on a pitch and we definitely struggled in that opening half. Our touch was off and overall we were off the pace a bit. We wouldn't have been happy with our discipline either as we gave away silly frees when there was no need of fouling and you can't do that at this level. You'll be punished almost every time and Wexford did that to us but we spoke about it at half time and credit to the girls, they as they always do, took what we said onboard and we only conceded one scoring free in the second half. Our ball to hand improved vastly and we started to impose our game on the opposition. This team always give everything whenever they put on the Clare jersey and once more they showed what great character they possess. As a group this bunch of players haven't been beaten since July 2022 so I know it's a cliche but winning truly is a habit and it's one we ultimately want to continue. We are an Intermediate team now on merit and why shouldn't Clare's second team not compete with the stronger counties? We have an abundance of talent. It's just about developing that talent in the right way." 
Trailing at the break Clare made some half time substitutions which certainly had the desired effect." Caoimhe Cahill had a massive impact when introduced as did Emma O'Donoghue. We have been trying to mind Caoimhe as she's playing Ashbourne Cup but three points down at the break we needed her and she delivered. We also have a host of players that haven't been seen yet. Jennifer Nicholas, Mary Hanrahan, Eimear Begley, Cliodhna Queally and Bonnie Wiley Murphy to make just some. Ellen Casey was unavailable today too as she's in Dublin collecting a National award for her displays last year so we have a tremendous pool of players. It's just about getting up to the speed of Inter-County and learning the system we want to play. They work hard and I've no doubt that they will continue to do so" added the Kilmaley native.The last manager to deliver a Munster senior crown is hopeful both the Senior and Intermediate teams can make a Championship breakthrough. " The club scene in Clare is really good and the underage section is very strong. The board are trying to do the right things and this team is crucial for the County's development as a whole. We are blending in six or seven players from the minor team of last year and six or seven of this team will play Senior and that's what we've been aiming for over the last couple of years. We knew it would take time but it's beginning to blossom. I'm really looking forward to the All Ireland series later in the year. We have young fit strong teams and our aim is to get to the quarter final of both the Intermediate and Senior championships. We will use the league completely to prepare for the Championship. We might struggle against the Cork's and Galway's but that's okay too. We will be blooding players in at the top level and that's the key if one wants to be ultimately successful."
Captain Fantastic Sinead O'Keeffe who will always be remembered for that memorable speech in Croke Park after the All Ireland success is relishing this higher grade and feels it's where Clare belong." We are trying to build on our success from last year and that's not enough for us. We don't want to sit back and enjoy it, we want to kick on. It's a higher level and it's definitely a tougher challenge but one that we've worked hard for. Clare Camogie needs it's two teams operating at the highest levels and it will only benefit the County in the long run. You could see the physicality of that first half, the tackles were really tough and we were a little bit behind the pace. We regrouped at half time and we threw the shackles off for the second period."
Was it just the intensity of the higher grade that Clare struggled with or was there some slight nerves?" Honestly I suppose the long trip down didn't help. We were slow to settle and our ball to hand was sloppy but we never give in and once we got going at the start of the second half we never looked back. It helps when you have quality players and Aisling (Cooney) was so cool especially with her freetaking. That second half is what we're all about. That's the level we want to get to consistently. We just need to perform from the off because you can't be giving starts to some of the teams we will face especially Galway and Cork."
The bench was used to great effect and Sinead feels that management aren't afraid to give players their opportunity." We've a great panel and if you perform in training you'll get your chance. That's the way it's always been with John and the rest of the management. We've been training a long time and we were just dying to get onto the pitch. We just have to make sure that success isn't behind us it's hopefully ahead of us too. Three points on the board today which is crucial and winning away from home is the perfect start. Keep building, keep training and keep fighting for success is our motto" says the Kilmaley player.



Last August these sides met in the All Ireland Junior final with the Banner emerging victorious by four points on a historic day for Clare Camogie. Fuelled by a desire to exact revenge Tipperary came to Meelick on a mission and although a one point victory suggests a tight battle the away side it has to be said were deserving winners. Dominating the battleground of the middle third they launched wave after wave of attacks and but for an outstanding full back line performance most notably by Ruan's Rebecca Crowe Tipperary's margin of victory would probably have been greater. That being said anytime Clare attacked their forward unit looked extremely potent but over the course of the contest were limited in supply especially in a pulverising third quarter where the Premier county kept the Banner scoreless while raiding for 2-2 themselves.It all began with the visitors opening the scoring with a fine Saoirse McGrath point which was quickly followed by a converted Amy Quinlisk free. Carmody's charges responded by landing five of the next six points with five different scorers highlighting their potency. Scariff-Ogonolloe's Danielle Beston got Clare off the mark before super points from Hannah Mai Neylon and Aoife Anderson propelled the girls in saffron and blue into the lead. An Aisling Cooney free was then added to by a majestic Jennifer Daly score on the run out on the touchline from fifty yards. Daly quickly followed this up with another sublime white flag but Tipperary were still winning the middle third battleground and in doing so they kept Clare in defensive mode. In a full back line that consisted of Rebecca Crowe, Caoimhe Lally and Sinead Hogg the Bill Mullaney managed outfit though met a wall of resistance. Time and time again these three heroically put their bodies on the line and thwarted Tipperary attacks with an inspiring 'Thou shall not pass' mentality. When Kilmaley's Grace Carmody fired over from an acute angle the Banner headed to the sanctuary of the dressing rooms three to the good on a 0-8 to 0-5 scoreline. At this juncture one felt really confident of a home victory as the visitors had done most of the camogie but the Banner still led.Tipperary introduced ex-senior star Jenny Grace at the interval and the Burgess Duharra player had a massive impact. Only thirty seconds into the second period Tipperary struck for the opening goal when Grace fed Sinead Meagher who blasted home. Only moments later another Grace delivery was plucked from the heavens by Meagher, who then while surrounded by a host of defenders, audaciously flicked the sliotar off her hurley, over her head and into the net. The referee in a bizarre decision disallowed the goal but awarded Tipperary a penalty which Grace fired off the upright. A huge reprieve for Clare but the warning signs were certainly there and maybe the Banner should have placed a player in front of Meagher to limit her impact. Unfortunately they didn't and another booming delivery was once more plucked from the sky amongst a forest of ash before the star forward off loaded to corner forward Quinlisk who coolly slotted home. Clare now looked a beaten docket but these girls never lack character and inspired once more by the always impressive Caoimhe Cahill they landed the next four points to only trail by one with five to play. With the wind firmly in their sails surely an equaliser would be forthcoming. Unfortunately a couple of chances were squandered before Labhaoise O'Donnell fired a rocket that seemed destined for the top corner only to see her effort cannon off the crossbar and moments later referee Karol Collins blew the full time whistle. A tough defeat for Clare and it won't get any easier with Galway, Kilkenny and Cork to come but one thing is for certain, these girls will as they always have done give it their all for the County.
Clare: Sophie Cullen (Truagh-Clonlara), Rebecca Crowe (Ruan), Caoimhe Lally (Newmarket on Fergus), Sinead Hogg (Truagh-Clonlara), Jennifer Nicholas (Tulla), Ellen Casey (Newmarket on Fergus), Sinead O'Keeffe (Kilmaley), Niamh Mulqueen (Broadford), Grace Carmody (Kilmaley), Jennifer Daly (Scariff-Ogonolloe), Laoibhse O'Donnell (Scariff-Ogonolloe), Aoife Anderson (Ruan), Danielle Beston (Scariff-Ogonolloe), Aisling Cooney (Parteen-Meelick), Hannah Mai Neylon (Ballyea) Subs: Rachel Minogue (Scariff-Ogonolloe) for E Casey inj (26), Caoimhe Cahill (Kilmaley) for D Beston (38), Sinead Power (Inagh-Kilnamona) for A Anderson (50), Kate O'Gorman (Kilkishen) for A Cooney (50), Rachel Kelly (Sixmilebridge) for S O'Keeffe (53), Olivia Phelan (Sixmilebridge) for H M Neylon (53), Emma O'Donoghue (Clarecastle) for N Mulqueen (53) 
Scorers: Caoimhe Cahill (2f), Jennifer Daly 0-3 each, Aisling Cooney 0-2 (2f), Danielle Beston, Grace Carmody, Hannah Mai Neylon, Aoife Anderson 0-1 each 
Tipperary: Aoife O'Brien (Cashel King Cormacs), Eimear Carey (Newport/Ballinahinch), Marie Connolly (Drom/Inch), Tara Hoare (Drom/Inch), Lorna Ryan (Clonoulty Rossmore), Lily Fahie (Cashel King Cormacs), Emma Kelly (Borrisoleigh), Orla O'Brien (Éire Óg Annacarthy), Anna Fahie (Cashel King Cormacs), Sinead Meagher (Kildangan), Ciara Brennan (St.Cillians), Amy Quinlisk (Kilruane McDonaghs), Jillanne Quirke (Toomevara), Saoirse McGrath (Newport/Ballinahinch)Subs: Jenny Grace (Burgess Duharra) for A Farie (HT), Emma Flanagan (Newport/Ballinahinch) for S McGrath (42), Miriam Murphy (Silvermines) for E Kelly (56)

Scorers: Sinead Meagher, Amy Quinlisk (f) 1-1 each, Jenny Grace 0-2 (2f), Anna Fahie, Jillanne Quirke, Saoirse McGrath 0-1 each 
Referee: Karol Collins

After last weekend's away win the Clare manager although wanting to win wasn't too disappointed with this result and as always Carmody was extremely happy with the character his charges showed once more." Tipperary owned that third quarter and that was ultimately the difference, it's where they got those two vital goals. We had spoken about the danger at half time and although we were really happy with our first half performance I was slightly worried because when leading at the break you're always a sitting duck. Once Sinead Meagher got that early goal Tipp had all the momentum and they just pinned us back for almost twenty minutes. We couldn't get possession and we were under tremendous pressure. That being said I'm absolutely delighted with the character these girls showed again today. They kept battling, never dropped their heads and they dug in bringing the lead back down to a point. We also created a couple of chances to draw it, but overall I suppose Tipperary probably just about deserved it."
While his full back line who were outstanding in the opening half came under immense pressure in that second period the Kilmaley native felt the problem stemmed from out the field. "They defended heroically because the issue was in the middle third, we were losing that battle for long spells. Jenny Grace, an ex- senior, made a huge difference for them when introduced. In fairness to our backs the ball was raining down on top of them for the majority of that second half and I thought they did really well. We were struggling for possession which in turn meant territorial wise Tipp were firmly on top. But we finished really strongly which is a huge positive going forward."Similarly to the Wexford outing Carmody used the majority of his bench and they certainly had an impact, something which must have been pleasing for the Clare boss who has admitted several times already that his sights are firmly set on the All Ireland series above anything else." We are juggling the panels and crucially we got more game time into more players today. We will lose some of these to the Senior side in two weeks time but that's what we've been planning for. For years the Senior panel was bare with few options but today we again saw new players representing their County and they didn't let us down when introduced and isn't that exactly what we want? All the players we brought in helped us to finish strong and competition for places is healthy which always benefits the team as a whole. We're not worried about results at the moment and I've openly stated that the league is for performance, developing players and building towards the Championship. Yes, we want to win every time we go out, but our ultimate goal is to make the quarter finals of the Championship at both levels and we will keep building towards that.

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