TWO first-half Clare goals made all the difference in this exciting ladies football NFL Division Two final in Cusack Park yesterday. Donegal fought the good fight, but Clare’s goals made the difference.
The scene was set early on: Clare’s Majella Griffin opened the scoring with a pointed free for the home side in the second minute and it was tit-for-tat for the next 10 minutes.
However, on 12 minutes, Griffin and Aine Kelly combined, Griffin shot and Eimear Considine pounced on the rebound for goal.
Two further points followed for Clare, from Una Downes and Griffin again, Bridget Gallagher replying for Donegal, before we had the second Clare major, Marie Kelly and Fiona Lafferty placing Aine Kelly for an unstoppable goal — 2-4 to 0-3 in favour of Clare.
Donegal came back with four points on the trot, including a brace from Nadie Doherty, and a further exchange of points made it 2-5 to 0-8 at half-time.
With the wind at their backs, Clare looked likely winners, and they scored three points in the first five minutes of the second half.
Donegal fought back, with three unanswered points to leave a goal in it by the 43rd minute, 2-8 to 0-11, but a Griffin free for Clare put it back to four.
Again Donegal came, with three more points, but they just couldn’t get their noses in front. Another Griffin free put Clare two up with six minutes to play, but Donegal managed one more point as Clare held out.
Meanwhile, Cavan captured their very first league title with a 1-9 to 1-5 victory against Limerick in an exciting Division 3 final at Semple Stadium on Saturday. Cavan were well in control at half-time, having opened up a 0-8 to 0-2 lead but a storming second half fightback from Limerick, aided by Eimear Enright’s 46th-minute goal, brought the Shannonsiders to within a single point of their opponents with 12 minutes remaining.
Trailing by 0-9 to 1-5 and playing with momentum, Limerick looked set for victory but the Breffni girls dug in and Renee Murphy scored a last-minute goal to ensure a famous win.
Scorers for Clare: M. Griffin 0-7 (all frees); A. Kelly 1-1; E. Considine 1-0; U. Downes, M. Kelly, 0-1 each.
Scorers for Donegal: B. Gallagher 0-4 (0-2 frees); N. Doherty 0-4 (0-2 frees); Y. McMonagle 0-2; K. Guthrie 0-2; T. Doherty, A. Doherty, N. Hegarty .
CLARE: D. Walsh; C. Considine, L. Kelly, A. O’Neill; M. Delaney, S. Kelly, N. Coyne ; S. Malone, L. Henchy (c); F. Lafferty, M. Kelly, U. Downes; A. Kelly, M. Griffin, E. Considine.
Subs: S. Hoey (C. Considine 13); T. Hehir (Coyne 26); S. Eustace (O’Neill 36); N. Keane (Malone 45); M. Considine (Downes 56).
DONEGAL: R. McCafferty; L. O’Sullivan, N. Stapleton, A. Buggy; G. Houston, D. Toner, O. McCafferty; M. Devenney (c), A. McDonnell; T. Doherty, N. Doherty, N. Hegarty; B. Gallagher, A. Doherty, Y. McMonagle.
Subs: D. Cassidy (McDonnell inj. 23); K. Guthrie (A. Doherty 41); S. Mollahan (O. McCafferty 43).
Referee: K. Tighe (Dublin).
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