All-Ireland Minor A Championship Round 5
Clare 5-15 Wexford 1-02
at Gurteen Saturday, April 1st, 2017
by Eoin Brennan
It was the perfect finish to a hugely encouraging All-Ireland Minor A Championship group campaign as Clare put a war-weary Wexford to the sword in emphatic style on Saturday afternoon.
After being edged out by the minimum the previous weekend against Kilkenny, Clare’s fate was still very much in their hands as bouncing back to winning ways would guarantee a semi-final place. However, as it turned out, Clare’s 25 point victory would actually boost them to top spot in the group and a last four outing against Group 1 runners-up Dublin this Saturday.
And in truth this tie was wrapped up by the end of the opening quarter as despite playing into a stiff breeze, the dominant hosts would blaze 2-4 to 0-0 clear. Points from Aine O’Loughlin and Laura McGrath settled the hosts before raiding for their opening goal in the fifth minute. It stemmed from an Aoife Power delivery from the left wing that broke for Olivia Phelan to shake off her marker and fire to the top left corner of the net.
And with a wall-like half-back unit of Ciara Grogan, captain Emma Kennedy and Louise Egan stopping any potential Wexford supply, Clare would remain on the frontfoot with additional points from impressive duo O’Loughlin and Evelyn Duggan before the former grabbed her side’s second goal.
This time it was Sinead Power whose shot held up in the wind enough for O’Loughlin to field and billow the net to move ten clear.
Wexford finally got off the mark in the 22nd minute through Orla Molloy but it was quickly wiped out as county senior O’Loughlin powered through for a third goal.
An improving Wexford found home full-back Alannah Ryan in inspirational form while a rare sighting on goal through Aisling Byrne was excellently repelled by goalkeeper Ciara McCarthy as Clare held a 3-5 to 0-2 interval cushion with the wind to come.
Clare rang the changes but it only seemed to compound the visitor’s misery as substitute Bridin Dinan pounced for 1-1 inside the first six minutes of the new half. As the bench continued to be emptied, Olivia Phelan took a second goal before being called ashore alongside scorer-in-chief O’Loughlin.
However, there were still an abundance of leaders left on the field as Ciara Doyle produced a storming second period display, midfielder Duggan doubled her point tally while wing-forwards Sinead and Aoife Power seized control of the scoring duties as Clare cantered to a facile victory with only a consolation goal from Lettie Whelan in reply.
Clare now face Dublin while Cork take on last year’s finalists Galway as an extremely competitive All-Ireland Minor Championship reaches the business end this weekend.
Clare :Ciara McCarthy (Newmarket-on-Fergus); Eileen Daly (Feakle), Alannah Ryan (Kilkishen), Ciara Doyle (Scariff-Ogonnelloe); Ciara Grogan (Clooney-Quin), Emma Kennedy (Sixmilebridge) (Captain) (0-1 ’45), Louise Egan (Truagh Clonlara); Amy Barrett (Scariff-Ogonnelloe), Evelyn Duggan (Tulla) (0-2); Aoife Power (Scariff-Ogonnelloe) (0-3, 2'45), Shauna Canny (Killanena), Sinead Power (Inagh-Kilnamona) (0-3); Olivia Phelan (Sixmilebridge) (2-0), Aine O’Loughlin (Truagh Clonlara) (2-3), Laura McGrath (Feakle) (0-1)
Subs Bridin Dinan (Tulla) (1-2) for Canny (HT), Kate Dillon (St Joseph’s) for Daly (HT), Mary Enright (Newmarket-on-Fergus) for O’Loughlin (42 mins), Saoirse Warren (Éire Óg) for Grogan (49 mins), Roisin Clancy (Inagh-Kilnamona) for Phelan (49 mins)
Wexford Emma Kiely (Glynn/Barntown); Katie Roche (Oulart-the-Ballagh), Emma Furlong (Castletown), Lara Campbell (St Ibar’s); Anna Hennessy (St Martin’s), Roisin Cooney (Glynn/Barntown) (Captain), Clodagh Jackman (Glynn/Barntown); Dearbhla Doyle (Oylgate), Orla Molloy (Naomh Eanna) (0-1); Emma Codd (St Martin’s), Aoife Guiney (Rathnure), Mary Barrett (St Martin’s); Lettie Whelan (St Martin’s) (1-1, 1-0f, 1'45), Aisling Byrne (Blackwater), Jessie Harding (St Ibar’s)
Subs Rebecca Doran (Craanford) for Kiely (HT), Orla Fortune (Kilmore) for Furlong (33 mins), Anna-Mai Stafford (St Martin’s) for Campbell (42 mins), Aisling Halligan (Glynn/Barntown) for Codd (47 mins, inj), Holly Hynes (Glynn/Barntown) for Byrne (51 mins)
Referee John McDonagh (Galway)