Laois downed by slick Clare side
TG4 LGFA Intermediate Championship Round 2
Clare 5-07 Laois 1-11
Three quickfire Clare goals in the opening half put paid to Laois’ chances of winning and topping the table. The O’ Moore women and their management will rue not utilising a sweeper early on in this encounter. Indeed Clare were scarcely able to believe the amount of room they were given in the opening quarter. Backboned by an almost impenetrable halfback line and a dominant Caoimhe Harvey in midfield the Banner women poured down the middle almost at will. Up front the dangerous triumverate of Niamh O’ Dea, Chloe Moloney and Grainne Nolan combined extremely well for Clare and took almost all the chances that came their way.
Moloney opened the scoring with a point which Emma Lawlor soon cancelled out with a superb point for Laois. With Clare now rampant however it took some great backs-to-the-wall defending from Amy Potts and Clodagh Dunne to keep the Munster side at bay. However all that pressure soon told and the Banner women were celebrating their opening goal through O’ Dea. The Kilfenora dual player then turned provider when her great pass found Nolan and the full-forward gave Shanahoe’s Eimear Barry no chance in goals. Barry and then Dunne were called on to keep Laois’ goals intact. However all that Clare pressure soon resulted in Moloney grabbing her side’s third green flag of the match.
In essence that opening quarter was the winning and losing of the game. Laois’ immediate response saw too many misplaced passes and long hit and hope efforts into their forward line. Eventually the O’ Moore women settled on the ball and Laois’ first period of sustained pressure saw well-taken points from Laura Nerney and Leah Tarpey. However a Moloney free soon saw Clare restore their 9-point advantage. Mo Nerney tapped over the opening half’s last score from a placed ball to leave Laois trailing 3-04 to 0-05 at the break.
Any hope Laois had of a huge comeback was soon extinguished after the restart. Barry was harshly adjudged to have committed a foul in her square and Moloney, using all her soccer experience, coolly stroked the resulting penalty home. There was no danger of the Laois women surrendering however. Almost straight after that setback Mo Nerney goaled from play. Laois were defending manfully to haul themselves back into the game and a superb block by Jenny McEvoy epitomised the O’ Moore side’s spirit. Lifted by that defiance Laois soon registered a brace of points. Mo Nerney slotted over yet another free then Tarpey scored a great point from play. When Sarah Ann Fitzgerald was hauled down when going through on goals her cousin Mo was on hand to fire the resultant placed ball over the bar to underline Laois’ purple patch in this encounter.
Clare soon halted Laois’ revival however. Sparked by the dominant Harvey a superb Clare team move was finished off by O’ Dea who goaled. Then O’ Dea popped up in front of her own goals to deny Tarpey a scoring opportunity. Nerney and Moloney traded frees as full-time approached. Laois rounded off the scoring at the death when the indefatigable Laura Nerney fed substitute Kate Whelan and the Ballyroan player popped over her point.
For a battlling Laois side Amy Potts, Clodagh Dunne and Jenny McEvoy all defended heroically throughout. Eimear Barry pulled off some great saves to limit the damage when Clare were rampant at times. The cousins Mo and Laura Nerney were superb throughout. For Clare Caoimhe Harvey, Chloe Maloney, Ciara Hickey, Niamh O’ Dea and Grainne Nolan excelled. The Laois People ‘Player of the Match’ was Laura Nerney however. She was tireless in attack and defence and kept going right up to the final whistle.
Laois: Eimear Barry; Clodagh Dunne, Jenny McEvoy, Amy Potts; Amy Potts, Rachel Williams, Laura Nerney; Jane Moore, Ellen Healy, Leah Tarpey (R. Fitzgerald 50′), Anna Healy, Mo Nerney, Orla Hennessy (C. Conlon 39′), Emma Lawlor, Andrea Moran (S. Larkin 62), Sarah Ann Fitzgerald Subs Used; Kate Whelan Rachel Fitzgerald, Clare Conlon, Sarah Larkin, Subs Not Used: Kate Jacob Nadine Dempsey, Sinead O’ Rourke, Emily Mulhall, Kate Whelan, Leah Loughman, Roisin Larkin, Erone Fitzpatrick, Rebecca Reddin, Rebecca Balfe,
Laois Scorers: Mo Nerney 1-6 (0-06 F), Leah Tarpey 0-2, Laura Nerney, Emma Lawlor, Kate Whelan 0-1 each
Clare: Michaela Glynn; Eimear Keane, Ellie O Gorman, Grainne Harvey; Roisin Considine, Orla Devitt, Aine Keane, Laura Egan, Caoimhe Harvey; Eimear O Connor, Chloe Maloney, Ciara Hickey, Niamh O’ Dea, Grainne Nolan, Cliodhna Blake