Tipperary star Cáit Devane pictured with Clare's Laura McMahon.
A goal in either half from Éire Óg Annacarty star Eibhlís McDonald inspired Tipperary to a crucial eight-point win over Clare in the third round of the Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Senior Camogie Championship at Sixmilebridge on Saturday evening.
Liberty Insurance All-Ireland
Senior Camogie Championship
Clare 1-7 Tipperary 2-12
Tipperary lost their opening game during the group stage to Cork (1-8 to 2-20) and although the Premier County bounced back to register a vital 4-11 to 2-14 win over Waterford last weekend another positive result was required against Clare. Thankfully, Tipp managed to carve out the win which propels the Premier County into second place in the group. And, with contests against Dublin and Meath remaining during the group stage Tipperary now look a solid bet to book their place in the quarter-finals.
Although Tipperary would ultimately prove themselves the more accomplished team at Sixmilebridge the Premier County did overcome a significant speed bump when outstanding centre-back Karen Kennedy limped off with an injury during the opening half.
Mary Ryan, however, slotted in superbly at the heart of the defence while Grace O’Toole, Ereena Fryday and Laura Loughnane made a big impact in the middle third of the field. Loughnane, especially, was smart in possession and created a number of attacks with a series of clever stick passes.
As ever Cáit Devane was reliable from placed balls, but the player of the match award had to find its way to right corner-forward Eibhlís McDonald. The Éire Óg Annacarty star made the difference in this contest. McDonald tormented the Clare defence while her hard-running and dynamic style is sure to endear the Annacarty attacker to all supporters of the blue and gold.
Clare, initially, took the lead, but Tipperary hit back in the fourth minute when Eibhlís McDonald raced through the heart of the opposition defence and lashed her first shot of the game into the roof of ‘keeper Sarah Loughnane’s net; seconds later McDonald added a point from play. And, following further efforts from Niamh Treacy, Cáit Devane and McDonald, once more, Tipperary led 1-4 to 0-2 with just nine minutes on the clock.
The home side rallied, however, and ten scoreless minutes ensued before Fiona Lafferty was hauled down for a penalty which Chloe Morey converted (19th minute). Cáit Devane converted a ’50 in response nine minutes later, but Clare closed out the half with two efforts from Orlaith Duggan which narrowed the gap to one (1-5 to 1-4).
Having scored just a single point during the concluding twenty-four minutes of the opening half Tipperary probably welcomed the break and the opportunity to re-focus. And, the interval appeared to serve the Premier County well as Cáit Devane drilled over three frees during the opening eight minutes of the second half to leave four between the sides.
Efforts from Miriam Campion and Cáit Devane (free) then ensured that Tipperary led by six points (1-10 to 1-4) entering the final quarter.
Clare were not posing a significant threat to the Tipperary defence, but after Chloe Morey converted two frees there was just four in it with five minutes to play (1-10 to 1-6).
In the 55th minute, however, Tipperary put the contest to bed - Grace O’Toole took on the Clare defence down the left flank and found Eibhlís McDonald who buried her second goal of the evening.
Chloe Morey hit back with another converted free, but Tipperary closed out the game well thanks to points from Grace O’Brien and Cáit Devane (free).
Next up for Tipperary in the Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Senior Camogie Championship is a home tie against Dublin (July 13) and then an away clash with Meath (July 20) will complete the round robin phase of the championship. On Saturday afternoon last Dublin suffered a seventeen-point defeat at the hands of Cork (0-9 to 2-20).
The All-Ireland quarter-finals are scheduled to take place on the weekend of August 3, the semi-finals on August 17 and the final on September 8.
Tipperary: Caoimhe Bourke (Drom & Inch), Julieanne Bourke (Borris-Ileigh), Eimear Loughman (Clonoulty-Rossmore), Clodagh Quirke (Clonoulty-Rossmore), Gemma Grace (Burgess-Duharra), Karen Kennedy (Thurles Sarsfields), Aoife McGrath (Drom & Inch), Grace O’Toole (Newport-Ballinahinch), Mary Ryan (Moneygall), Niamh Treacy (Drom & Inch, 0-1), Megan Ryan (Borris-Ileigh), Ereena Fryday (Knockavilla Kickhams), Eibhlís McDonald (Éire Óg Annacarty, 2-2), Cáit Devane (Clonoulty-Rossmore, 0-7, 0-5 frees, 0-1 ’50), Miriam Campion (Drom & Inch, 0-1). Subs: (28th) Laura Loughnane (Thurles Sarsfields) for Karen Kennedy, (51st) Grace O’Brien (Nenagh Éire Óg, 0-1) for Miriam Campion, (57th) Jean Kelly (Éire Óg Annacarty) for Grace O’Toole, (61st) Caroline Mullaney (Newport-Ballinahinch) for Gemma Grace, (61st) Karin Blair (Cashel) for Niamh Treacy.
Clare: Sarah Loughnane, Laura McMahon, Claire Hehir, Ciara Doyle, Teresa O’Keeffe, Alannah Ryan, Michelle Caulfield, Amy Barrett, Róisín Begley, Niamh Corry, Andrea O’Keeffe, Orlaith Duggan (0-2), Fiona Lafferty (0-1), Eimear Kelly, Chloe Morey (1-4, 0-4 frees, 1-0 penalty). Subs: (49th) Sinéad Conlon for Amy Barrett, (56th) Aoife Power for Fiona Lafferty, (57th) Aoife Keane for Michelle Caulfield.
Referee: Liz Dempsey.
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