Photo credits: Aidan Ryan Photography
Excitement is building ahead of this Saturdays Senior Munster Final which takes place at Semple Stadium, Thurles @ 3.30 pm. This is a double header with the Clare senior hurlers taking on Waterford in Munster championship @6pm. Tickets available here
Match report from the semi final v Limerick is below:
Report Credit : Derek Dormer
MUNSTER SENIOR CAMOGIE SEMI FINAL
CLARE RETURN TO THE PROMISED LAND
A far sharper, far hungrier, far more clinical Banner coasted to a seven point victory over the home side after a dominant second half display. One could sense the lasting hurt from last year's heartbreaking extra extra time loss to Cork as Clare showing an incessant appetite for victory were first to the breaking ball time and time again. Playing on the front foot, working the sliotar through the lines, Clare at times were a joy to watch. Defensively sound the Banner were ravenous in the tackle, sometimes overstepping the mark which allowed Limerick to stay in touch through placed balls but only conceding five points from play highlights their overall superiority.
It all began with a superb Orlaith Duggan point after only twenty seconds. Two Lorna McNamara placed balls either side of another Duggan beauty and a terrific Aine O'Loughlin catch swivel and execution had Clare leading four points to one after only six minutes. The concession of frees though, some of the soft nature, were expertly converted which in turn brought Limerick back into the contest before patrons were treated to a wondrous moment of magic. Centre back Clare Hehir burst out of defence before launching a huge delivery into the opposition square. Full forward Aine O'Loughlin then showed incredible ingenuity when audaciously flicking the sliotar in flight off her hurley, over the full backs head and into her hand, all in one poetic fluid movement. The Truagh-Clonlara player then composed herself before blasting home in scintillating fashion. This gave John Carmody's troops a five point lead that their play deserved. However the Treaty girls responded in style outscoring Clare 0-5 to 0-2 for the remainder of the half with midfielder Orlaith Kelleher landing a beauty from out on the sideline to cut the arrears to just two at the interval with the Banner leading 1-8 to 0-9.
When Claire Keating pointed on the resumption of play the lead was now just a solitary point and one wondered how would Carmody's girls respond as the crowd began to fill in. Magnificently is the answer as they moved through the gears landing five of the next six points. Clare were now totally dominant and Limerick can be extremely thankful to keeper Laura O'Neill who firstly denied Eimear Kelly with a terrific stop before somehow defying Aine O'Loughlin with an incredible reflex save.
Feakle-Killanena forward Lorna McNamara was proving imperious from placed balls landing six in total including three 45's while Niamh O'Dea was immense around the middle third constantly winning primary possession and running at the Limerick defence. Midfielder Orlaith Duggan landed another beauty as Clare who were now in cruise control eased into back to back Munster Finals.
The final is set for May 13th in Thurles as a curtain raiser to the Clare and Waterford clash. As of yet their opponents are not known but if last year's decider is anything to go on it will be an epic battle for Camogie enthusiasts to savour.
Clare: Doireann Murphy (Clarecastle), Ciara Grogan (Clooney-Quin), Susan Daly (Scariff-Ogonolloe), Caoimhe Kelly (Kilkishen), Alannah Ryan (Kilkishen), Clare Hehir (Inagh-Kilnamona), Laoise Ryan (Inagh-Kilnamona), Caoimhe Carmody (Kilmaley), Orlaith Duggan (Clooney-Quin), Muireann Scanlon (Sixmilebridge), Niamh O'Dea (Kilmaley), Aoife Keane (Inagh-Kilnamona), Eimear Kelly (Truagh-Clonlara), Aine O'Loughlin (Truagh-Clonlara), Lorna McNamara (Feakle-Killanena)
Subs: Rebecca Foley (Truagh-Clonlara) for M Scanlon (39), Abby Walsh (Scariff-Ogonolloe) for L Ryan (53), Zi Yan Spillane (Feakle-Killanena) for E Kelly (55), Chloe Morey (Sixmilebridge) for Clare Hehir inj (56)
Scorers: Lorna McNamara 0-8 (3 45, 3f), Aine O'Loughlin 1-2, Orlaith Duggan 0-3, Eimear Kelly, Rebecca Foley 0-1 each
Limerick: Laura O'Neill Na (Piarsaigh), Teresa Doyle (Charleville), Muireann Creamer (Cappamore), Marian Quaid (Bruff), Mairead Ryan (Bruff), Ailbhe Larkin (Mungret St.Paul's), Mary O'Callaghan (Bruff), Orlaith Kelleher (Croagh Kilfinny), Caoimhe Costello (Adare), Caoimhe Lyons (Monaleen), Sophie O'Callaghan (Adare), Cliodhna Ryan (Doon), Sarah O'Brien (Templeglantine), Lizanna Boylan (Na Piarsaigh), Claire Keating (Cappamore)
Subs: Aine O Tiarnaigh (Na Piarsaigh) for A Larkin (49), Ele Madigan (Ahane) for C Ryan (49), Laura Fennelly (Cappamore) for L Boylan (57), Stephanie Woulfe (Templeglantine) for S O'Callaghan (60)
Scorers: Claire Keating 0-5 (3f), Caoimhe Costello 0-3 (3f), Caoimhe Lyons, Sarah O'Brien, Orlaith Kelleher 0-1 each
Referee: Diarmuid Kirwan (Cork)
PLAYER OF THE MATCH
ORLAITH DUGGAN (CLARE)
For sheer work rate and intensity the Clooney-Quin woman deservedly takes the plaudits. Duggan was sublime throughout not only landing three points from play but putting Clare on the front foot time and time again. On a day where Clare had several outstanding performers namely Niamh O'Dea, Aine O'Loughlin and Lorna McNamara it was Duggan with her vast experience who shone brightest.
THIS WAS ALWAYS OUR TARGET
Clare manager John Carmody was smiling from ear to ear moments after he saw his charges qualify for another Munster Final
" This was always our target. We said throughout the league we were trying to build a squad for Championship and we saw how it worked today. We emptied the bench there today and we were very comfortable after doing so. That's a huge plus and that bench will be needed in the Final too."
Speaking of the Munster Final Carmody is delighted to get there but feels improvement will be needed.
" To win that Munster Final we will need to improve our performance and especially our discipline. We gave away alot of soft frees which kept Limerick in touch but look it we done what we set out to do and I'm so proud of these girls. There will be a huge buzz at training now and if we can get the Clare crowd behind us in Thurles who knows what we can achieve."
Clare conceded very little from play and coughed up no goal chances. This must have been a really pleasing aspect of the performance for the Banner manager.
" I'd be thrilled overall with our defence today. We've been working on a new structure and we saw the benefits of it out there. If we cut out the indiscipline we will be a very hard team to beat. We have two weeks to work on that and we will be better. We have to stick to our structure and keep our discipline."
The Kilmaley man doesn't care who they play on May 13th.
" It doesn't matter to me being honest. No matter who we play we will probably go in as underdogs and that suits us. We just desperately wanted to get back to the final and now that we have I'm telling you we will have a right go at it. Finals are there to be won and I guarantee these girls will give it their all. They love playing for their County and I just hope they get the support they truly deserve."
Referee Diarmuid Kirwan with Limerick captain, Marian Quaid and Clare joint captains, Clare Hehir & Niamh O'Dea
WE WILL BE READY FOR MAY 13TH
" At the start of the year one of our main aims was to get back to a Munster Final and thankfully we did that today. We can tick that box off now so the next day we have to go out enjoy ourselves and have a real go. We play our best Camoige when we are enjoying it so long may we keep enjoying it.
We made hard work of that first half. We were killing ourselves with frees. We spoke about that at half time. We just had to stick to the program and not panic. That's the key in these scenarios, keep your head and the result will follow.
The last twenty minutes we drove it on and that's the impact of the players who came off the bench. We have a huge panel this year and we need everyone of them. Aine O'Loughlin got a wonder goal and it was crucial for us. But everyone had a part to play. We have a special group, a special bond and we will all give it everything we can for each other every time we put on the Clare jersey.
The Munster Final is next and last year was so tough to take but no matter who we play on May 13th we will be ready."