Tipperary ladies football stars Aishling Moloney and Samantha Lambert.
Tipperary progressed to the Munster Intermediate Ladies Football Championship final on June 15 thanks to a four-point win over Clare at Seán Treacy Park in Tipperary Town on Saturday afternoon.
Ladies Football Championship
Tipperary 2-15 Clare 2-11
Tipperary launched their provincial championship campaign on May 11 when the Premier County beat Limerick by forty-eight points (10-22 to 0-4) in the opening round. This year the Munster Intermediate Ladies Football Championship is being played on a round robin basis while the provincial champions are seeded in the group phase of the All-Ireland series so there is huge incentive to do well in Munster. And, Clare and Limerick will now meet to determine who will face Tipperary in the Munster final.
Despite fielding without Aishling Moloney Tipperary looked reasonably comfortable in this contest although the game probably lacked a competitive edge given the fact that both sides would expect to meet one another once more in the provincial final.
Niamh Lonergan, Róisín Daly and Ava Fennessy were in sparking form for a Premier County side which led by nine points at the break (2-8 to 0-5). Caitlin Kennedy scored 2-3 from play and was in sensational form while Anna Rose Kennedy was absolutely terrific and ran the show from centre-forward.
Manager Shane Ronayne (Mourneabbey, Cork) is joined on the management team by Tony Smith (Moyle Rovers), Ed Burke (Moyle Rovers) and Sarah Jane Darmody (Ardfinnan) while James O’Leary (Arravale Rovers) takes responsibility for the strength and conditioning of the side.
Three Aisling McCarthy frees got Tipperary off to a solid start and it was notable early on that the kick-passing ability of Niamh Lonergan, Aishling McCarthy and Anna Rose Kennedy from the middle third of the field would cause Clare the world of problems.
In the 12th minute a Gráinne Nolan free cut the deficit to one (0-3 to 0-2), but Tipperary proceeded to take over and fired five points without reply. Following efforts from Emma Morrissey, Ava Fennessy, Aisling McCarthy (two) and Cailtin Kennedy the home side led by six (0-8 to 0-2) with twenty-one minutes played.
Two Gráinne Nolan frees then preceded the opening goal of the game in the 27th minute - Ava Fennessy broke through the Clare half-back line and set up Caitlin Kennedy for a terrific finish. Two minutes later Kennedy buried a second goal and although Clare hit back with their first point from play soon after Tipperary still led by nine at the break (2-8 to 0-5).
Caitlin Kennedy and Ava Fennessy left eleven between the sides before Clare responded through Sarah Bohannon and then Gráinne Nolan. Following efforts from Caitlin Kennedy (free) and Róisín Daly Clare enjoyed their most dominant period of the game when notching 1-3 without reply between the 38th and 49th minutes. Gráinne Nolan (one free) scored two of the points while the impressive inside forward also belted home a goal.
Ava Fennessy was harshly sin-binned soon after the Clonmel Commercials star converted a free and during the final ten minutes Clare rallied while, it must be admitted, Tipperary appeared a little sloppy. And, Clare took full advantage of their numerical advantage with Róisín Daly adding a point to their tally while Aisling Morrissey stabbed home a goal after Fidleman Marrinan intercepted a wayward Tipperary re-start.
It is worth noting, however, that Clare ‘keeper Ciara Harvey did especially well to save on three separate occasions from Caitlin Kennedy during the course of this contest. The pick of these stops materialised in the 61st minute when Anna Rose Kennedy created a goal-scoring opportunity for the up-and-coming Aherlow star. Harvey also saved superbly from Anna Rose Kennedy in the second half and both Róisín Daly and Aisling McCarthy during the first.
Tipperary: Lauren Fitzpatrick (Ballymacarbry, Waterford), Emma Buckley (Cahir), Maria Curley (Templemore), Niamh Martin (Sliabh na mBan), Niamh Lonergan (Moyle Rovers), Samantha Lambert (Ardfinnan), Laura Dillon (Ardfinnan), Róisín Daly (Moyne-Templetuohy, 0-1), Aisling McCarthy (Cahir, 0-5, 0-3 frees), Courtney Lonergan (Clonmel Commercials), Anna Rose Kennedy (Aherlow), Emma Morrissey (Aherlow, 0-1), Ava Fennessy (Clonmel Commercials, 0-3, 0-1 frees), Caitlin Kennedy (Aherlow, 2-4, 0-1 free), Anna Carey (Clonmel Commercials). Subs: (34th) Elaine Fitzpatrick (Templemore) for Aisling McCarthy, (39th) Emma Cronin (Moyle Rovers) for Niamh Martin, (44th) Bríd Condon (Aherlow) for Niamh Lonergan, (44th) Katie Cunningham (Lattin-Cullen, 0-1) for Courtney Lonergan, (50th) Rosanna Kiely (Cahir) for Emma Morrissey. Unused subs: Aishling Moloney (Cahir), Caoimhe Condon (Brian Ború’s), Rachel Sweeney (Holycross), Muireann Lloyd (Moyne-Templetuohy), Lucy Spillane (Fethard), Rachel O’Donnell (Cahir), Gráinne Condon (Aherlow) & Orla Winston (Clonmel Commercials).
Clare: Ciara Harvey, Eva O’Dea, Ellie O’Gorman, Gráinne Harvey, Carol O’Leary, Róisín Looney (0-1), Síofra Ní Chonaill, Sarah Bohannon (0-1), Eimear O’Connor, Tara Kelly, Róisín Considine, Caoimhe Harvey, Gráinne Nolan (1-8, 0-5 frees), Catriona Callinan, Fidelma Marrinan (0-1). Subs: (HT) Orla Devitt for Tara Kelly, (HT) Ciara Corbett for Eva O’Dea, (42nd) Amy Sexton for Eimear O’Gorman, (45th) Aisling Morrissey (1-0) for Catriona Callinan, (49th) Aoibhinn Cunningham for Síofra Ní Chonaill.
Referee: Niall McCormack (Laois).
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