Survival of the fittest to decide this tie

Ga lway v Cla r e @ Pea r se St adium, Sa lt hill, Sat ur day 7pm (Dia r muid Kir wa n, Cor k) Ext r a-t ime playable if necessa r y CALL IT Déjà vu if you will but the truth remains that we have been here before. Only 12 months ago in fact, off the back of an encouraging yet losing start to the championship, Clare entered the qualifiers with renewed hope before disappointingly failing to perform when it mattered most.

How much Clare have learned since then is still up in the air but their propensity to leak ‘soft’ goals is something that has haunted the Banner for the past three years and going on the Tipperary game, is still quite prevalent. Clare have now conceded 14 goals in their last seven games while only scoring six themsevles.

As Anthony Daly stressed before the league final, that tendency to flit in and out of the game is something that just needs to be ironed out over time and comes with young and inex- perienced players and looking at his Dublin side, it certainly gives Clare hope for the future.

For that to happen, Clare need to make the breakthrough and take a big scalp. After all, it’s over three years since Clare’s last championship victory and having lost their last seven games, beating Galway is now of paramount importance.

However, Clare’s neighbours have been eerily quiet since being humbled by the Dubs which is worrying for the Banner. Had they come out and pointed fingers, the morale in the camp would have diminished further but by staying quiet, you can sense a back lash from the Tribesmen. After all, before Tipperary emerged from the pack last year, it was felt that Galway were the team most likely to knock Kilkenny off their perch and they haven’t become a bad team overnight, regardless of what is being said about them outside of the camp.

So this is essentially a clash of two wounded animals who may have to eat up the other in order to survive. It’s survival of the fittest at this stage.


Brave Banner denied at the death

Down 1-13 – Clare 1-12 at Cusack Park, Ennis

NO moral victories screamed Micheál McDermott afterwards; so too did team coach Liam McHale, while new captain Gary Brennan sang the same hymn in the huddle on the field minutes after the end.

But just a few feet away James McCartan had a different take on things when saying “all the plaudits go to Clare on this one”. Yes, he would say that wouldn’t he, after Down escaped with the championship lives intact, but there was substance to his words at the same time.

Clare had whipped up a storm in the closing 25 minutes – coming from six adrift of the bluebloods in red and black and being a few more revolutions of an O’Neills away to a standout moment in the county’s less than distinguished football story.

They produced something special – true grit married to never-say-die that exposed the soft underbelly of a Down side that, save last year’s exploits, has a history of fragility in the Qualifier series.

And, when David Tubridy stroked over a 66th minute free to bring the sides level at 1-12 apiece, they were barging at the door of history, within touching distance of Clare’s greatest football day since Martin Daly put the ball in the Cork net at the Stamer Park end in the last second in 1997.

The chance came when Laurence Healy’s fist connected with his clubmate Joe Dowling’s up and under in the 70th minute, beat keeper Brendan McVeigh and was on its way into the same Stamer Park end net until Brendan Lavery got back to save the day.

That close for Clare, that close for Down, who lived to fight another day in 2011 thanks to Paul McComiskey’s 68th minute winner that he fisted over the bar, when they could so easily have died.

All this after Clare had looked dead themselves inside five minutes of this helter-skelter afternoon that eventually re-affirmed a notion – long since lost – that Clare had any kind of future in football.

Clare were at sea from as early as the first minute when a sweeping move Brendan McComiskey, Benny Coulter and was flashed inches wide of Joe Hayes’ left hand post by Martin Clarke.

Four minutes later they were looking for life rafts after points by Lavery and Clarke was followed by a goal after a burst from Kevin Duffin was taken on by Coulter and Sean Poland before Lavery fisted to the net past Joe Hayes from eight yards.

Amazingly, that was effectively as good as it got for Down in the half as Clare gradually got accustomed to the pace of the game after settling points from Mark Tubridy and Alan Clohessy by the tenth minute, while their recovery was complete when Ger Quinlan’s 16th minute point was followed by a Timmy Ryan goal a minute later.

Ryan got the better of both Dan Gordon and Brendan McVeigh, toepoking the ball to the net when a long ball from Cathal O’Connor from the right wing broke on the edge of the square.

Down recovered some of their poise before the break thanks to frees by Paul McComiskey and Martin Clarke and two fisted efforts from Paul Laverty, but Clare’s determination was rewarded with fine points from play by Gary Brennan and Ger Quinlan to leave them only 1-6 to 1-5 adrift at the break.

However, Down’s rapid fire response on the turnover that saw them hit five points inside 12 minutes seemed to restore order.

Their county minor captain Caolan Mooney got them going while Liam Poland, Paul McComiskey, Benny Coulter and corner-back Brendan McArdle also pointed as Down moved 1-11 to 1-5 clear.

Remarkably though, Down only managed two points in the final 25 minutes as Clare’s tour de force brought them to within inches of a fairytale success.

They roused themselves once more thanks to a David Tubridy point from play in the 48th minute. From there it was all Clare as two more Tubridy points from frees, either side of two from play by sub Joe Dowling brought the gap back to 1-12 to 1-10 by the 57th minute.

Then John Hayes raided up the right wing and stroked over a point in the 63rd minute, while David Tubridy’s 66th minute equaliser had an air of inevitability about it.

So did the winner – but it had come down the other end from McComiskey’s fisted effort, not Laurence Healy’s one in the final minute of normal time.


‘I thought we had them, they were really rattled’

IT was 15 minutes from time – Clare were still trailing by three points, but it was the point when Clare coach Liam McHale was like a seasoned salmon fisher on River Moy outside his native Ballina.

The prize catch of the day, a real heavyweight catch, was hooked – just to win the battle of reeling it in to shore.

“I thought we had them,” says McHale. “It was when the Down defender came out and kicked it over the sideline with no one near him.

“I said to myself ‘these guys are under real pressure, we can take them’. Coming into the game, they were under pressure because they’re considered one of the best teams in the country and they were coming to play a Division 4 team.

“They weren’t supposed to be in the position they found themselves in when we were roaring back at them and dominating this game, but it wasn’t enough…….”

It wasn’t enough, say McHale, because the Clare performance over the 70 minutes wasn’t what it should have been. Rather than reflect in the strange kind of glory that comes with any near-miss by an underdog, McHale parses why the result didn’t go his team’s way.

“We had a lot of unforced errors – at the end of the first half and the start of the second half,” he says. “We were turning the ball over, not bringing the ball back and switching the play.

“We had some nightmare plays, especially at the start of the second half. That gave them a six-point lead that ultimately we couldn’t overhaul. It’s disappointing because we had been working on situations where there are two or three defenders around you, but then looking around and working it back, switching the play and attacking again.

“Yes we were excellent at times and played the best football we’ve played this year, but at other times we were very, very poor. We have to try and stop those basic errors. Every time you commit a basic error against a team like this, they’ll punish you. That’s what Down did. “We showed a lot of heart and we were the team playing all the football with about 12 minutes to go – but we wanted to do that for the whole game and unfortunately we didn’t do it. It’s a learning curve.

“If we were a litte bit smarter and took care of the ball a little bit more at certain stages of the game, especially at the end of the first and the start of the second, we could have won that game,” adds McHale.

Instead, just another defeat – Clare’s sixth defeat out of ten competitive games between league and championship – the only returns from the year coming in the league with wins of Kilkenny, London and Longford and a draw with Wicklow.

Wicklow, Longford and London all advanced in the first round Qualifiers – Clare didn’t, which even in their strange kind of glory moment, put a very disappointing year in perspective.

“We have to try and improve,” says McHale. “The ambition for this team at the moment is to get out of Division 4 – with the likes of Wicklow, Fermanagh, Limerick and Waterford, it’s not an easy task, but that’s the team’s ambition and that’s the right way to got about it.

“Get out of Divison 4, stay in that and then have an assault on Division 3. When you’re at that level and in Division 2, maybe then Clare can compete with the big boys in Munster. That’s what Clare football has to do first. Getting the best team out and getting out of Division 4 is a big must.”


Down’s mission accomplished

“IT was one, but it could have been 16,” quips James McCartan to one reporter from the fourth green field before the dictaphones were rolling, officially that is.

Hence the two-time All-Ireland winner and All Star’s verdict that “it was a strange kind of game”. Down starting as if they meant to run riot around Cusack Park, finishing with the near meltdown of only scoring two points in the last 25 minutes and being driven back over the wall into Stamer Park, the home of Daly’s Undertakers.

And, it would probably have been a funeral for Down’s management team had they been on the wrong side of that one-point margin. No wonder it makes for a reflective McCartan afterwards.

“There’s no doubt about the fact that what we’ll take away from this game is the result – nothing else,” he admits. “It was a strange, very strange. Our lads decided they were going to go for goals at one stage and we were nearly left to rue that.

“Fair play to Clare, they dug deep for last 15 minutes of the first half and the last 15 minutes of the second half. We started both halves pretty brightly. That’s what you set out to do in the dressing room and whenever it starts to unravel a wee bit, you’re scratching your head. You send the same guys out at the start of the second half and they start off like a house on fire again,” he adds.

But from there, McCartan is at a loss to explain where it all went wrong and nearly horribly so.

“When we took Kalum (King) off it wasn’t us thinking we had the game won. We felt we needed fresh legs in there. The guy we brought in probably had missed a bit of training and was a wee bit off the boil, so we put Calum back in to try and finish the game out.

“I was disappointed the way we went out of the game for long periods of both halves – it’s something we’ll have to take a look at. You have to give credit to Clare, but we have to look at ourselves very closely over the next few days.

“I do think over the course of the game we probably deserved to win the game, but if Clare had stuck a goal in and won the match, we would have had to hands up and say that they deserved it, the way they got in at us and came back,” he adds.

That comeback was only denied by Conor Laverty’s last gasp goal-line clearance at the death.

“I was just delighted Conor (Laverty) was there,” admits McCartan. “He might have been lucky to stay on the field because he took a wild swipe at somebody earlier, but obviously we were lucky to get the break.

“In the past Down have lost in places like this. The team talk this morning in the hotel was that if we can get out of here with a one-point win, it will be a positive. That’s what we did. It was a mission accomplished.”

Only just.


Pride but bitter disappointment

THIS was more than just a football game for Clare – it was a game when the county’s unheralded senior team finally threw off the shackles of indifference and mediocrity and struck a blow for the prestige of the game in the county.

That was the feeling of the few Clare supporters in Cusack Park on Saturday afternoon, something manager Micheál McDermott could sense in the feelgood factor and smiles on the stragglers left behind.

He didn’t want any of it though – and his players were of a like mind as he referenced the words of new captain Gary Brennan immediately after the game as they huddled together, for comfort maybe, down at the scoreboard end of the field.

“Gary showed the way,” said McDermott. “He said it clearly ‘no matter who applauds you off the field and no matter who slaps you on the back, today we lost and remember the pain the hurt of losing’.

“We emptied our tank on the field and the effort, the courage, the drive and desire from everyone of those players has to be held up as a great display for Clare, but it’s all about winning.

“People will say moral victories are good for a team like Clare, but I would say different. We have to learn from defeats like this and the hurt of today. We can’t say we were nearly there – we should have won that match today, we could have won it. That’s the bottom line. Our summer is over and Down move on.”

That’s the line any management team has to take, but at the same time there was much to take from the 70- plus minutes when Clare confounded their critics to produce their best performance of the year.

“We were brave today as a team,” said McDermott. “That’s the way we decided to go out and play. We said if we were going to win this game, we were going to win it playing football, by showing courage and bravery and going for the game, not being negative, not being here to contain.

“We set out our plan to go at them toe-to-toe. If we were to win, we had to take the game to them, man for man, with no sweeper system. Forget about blanket defences and things like that – we had to play football and take our game to them, rather than worry about their game or their key players. That’s what we did.

“The bodies are tired in there. They’re hurting from the effort they put in over the 70 minutes. Every one of the players emptied the tank out there today. It was all about hard work, intensity and trying to play good open football. We did that at times today.

“When you see Down holding onto the ball just to keep possession, you know they were in a battle. They weren’t going to showboat at the end. Listen it could have been a repeat of Louth against Meath – it would have been a hard call on the umpire with that last ball that went in, but that’s how close we were to winning the game and that’s how disappointed I feel for the players. We were on our home pitch and we wanted to go out and play football and win it playing football. We very nearly did that.”


‘Everything else is a bonus’

TO BEAT Tipperary at any time provides a sizeable sense of achievement so to beat them for the second year in succession and in their home ground of Thurles was more than satisfying for the Clare minors on Friday evening.

However, beneath that veneer of contentment also lay a sense of relief for joint-manager Gerry O’Connor that after the disruption of exams and the long lay-off since their previous competitive outing, his side had showed enough character to prevail.

“We came down here and we had huge hopes for this team but with minors, you don’t know what you’ve got until you turn up on the night. The first half was very funny and I’ll be honest, we got a lucky goal from the penalty to go three points up.

“But they came back and we just couldn’t shake them off.

“Then Shane O’Donnell got a ball and popped a pass to Galvin and wow what a finish. The accusation that was levelled at us last year was that we couldn’t score goals and honestly, we couldn’t argue with that case but in fairness, the ability of our full-forward line when they got the ball to be able to turn them into scores was key to the match this evening.”

And so the Clare minor rollercoaster rolls on for at least two more games after reaching a second consecutive provincial decider, with last year’s experience certain to aid the cause as it did on Friday evening.

“Really and truly, we didn’t know what we were going to be like until we turned up today and that’s the real pressure that was on the team. But in fairness, the experienced guys from last year, that diamond of Shanahan, Galvin Kelly and Tots [Cathal O’Connell], and Seadna Morey, they were unbelievable tonight to be fair to them.”

“Everything is a bonus from now on because the year opens up for us now. Tonight was do-or-die and was a real championship match because there is no backdoor. I know we are in a Munster final now and that was our goal from the outset to get back there again but ultimately the next day it’s not the end of the world whatever happens.

“Don’t get me wrong, we will do out damnedness the next day to defend our title but the pressure eases now and hopefully we can play with some freedom in the final.”


Kelly’s gang storms into final

Clare 3-13 – Tipperary 1-13 at Semple Stadium, Thurles

IN THE end, it came down to character. Having led by three points at the break, Clare saw their advantage wiped away within five minutes of the restart and with the home crowd beginning to sense a sea change, the Banner were forced into introspection.

However, in midfielders Colm Galvin and Tony Kelly, the defending champions held the real aces in the pack and the experienced partnership that drove Clare to an AllIreland decider last year were not about to let their title slip without an almighty fight.

It was Galvin’s goal in the 38th minute that injected new life into the Clare cause while beside him, Ballyea’s Kelly was simply immense in a 15 minute period that saw him hoover up everything that came his way.

Of course there were several others who stood out from the pack on Friday evening. The towering Peter Duggan was Clare’s most prominent forward while the ever-reliable Jamie Sh a n a h a n – Ga l v i n – Kel l y- Ca t h a l O’Connell axis was also ably assisted by corner-backs Jack Browne and Seadna Morey and Ballyea’s Gearoid O’Connell.

Clare’s second successive victory over Tipperary was made all the sweeter by the fact that they passed a major test of character to reach another Munster decider.

Disruptions in preparation due to exams; the two month gap since their last competitive outing against Kerry and having to go to the veritable Clare graveyard of Thurles to take on a Tipperary side hell bent on revenge after last year, this was a banana skin waiting to happen. But while the home side had their moments, it was the visitors who set the pace for the majority and eventually reaped the rewards.

They blazed a trail early on, with Peter Duggan and Colm Galvin pointing while Cathal O’Connell and a superb Duggan lineball had them 0-4 to 0-2 clear by the ninth minute.

Tipperary’s chief tactic was to utilise the pace and guile of Pat Ralph in the full-forward line and by the 13th minute, the sides were level once more.

However, their reprieve didn’t last long as from the puck-out, midfielders Kelly and Galvin combined to put Aaron Cunningham through on goal only to be hauled down for a penalty. Captain Kelly took the honours only to see his shot saved by goalkeeper Shane Hassett and a rebound came off the post before Eoin Enright kicked to the net to restore Clare’s three point advantage.

That pattern was repeated once more before the break as Ralph’s pace allowed Liam McGrath to gain parity from frees but Clare did hold a 1-8 to 0-8 half-time advantage as Cathal O’Connell converted Clare’s last three scores in a six minute spell.

Again Tipperary came thundering back and through Liam McGrath (2) and Pat Ralph, the sides were level for the fourth time by the 35th minute. However, just as in the first half, their recovery lasted merely seconds as from a Tipperary attack at one end, Clare counterattacked through Jack Browne, Peter Duggan and Shane O’Donnell who laid off the perfect pass for the overlapping Colm Galvin to find the right corner of the net.

That inspirational lift was heightened further by the emergence of Tony Kelly who dominated proceedings for the next 15 minutes, scoring four points himself and setting up another for Aaron Cunningham to give Clare a 2-13 to 0-11 lead by the 53rd minute.

The defending champions were also very vigilant at the back as twice they snuffed out John McGrath who appeared to be through on goal.

A brief Tipperary fightback collapsed when a defensive error gifted Clare a third goal through substitute Alan Mulready and while a bullet free from Jason Forde ruined Clare’s clean sheet, the prize of a second successive Munster final against Waterford in Pairc Uí Chaoimh on Sunday, July 10 certainly softened the blow considerably.

Eibhear Quilligan (Feakle), Jack Browne (Ballyea), Niall O’Connor (Newmarket-on-Fergus), Seadna Morey (Sixmilebridge), Jarleth Colleran (St Joseph’s Doora/Barefield), Jamie Shanahan (Sixmilebridge), Gearoid O’Connell (Ballyea), ColmGalvin (Clonlara) (1-1),Tony Kelly (Ballyea) (0-4 2f), Peter Duggan (Clooney/Quin) (0-3 1s/l), Cathal O’Connell (Clonlara) (0-4 2f, 1’65), Eoin Enright (Kilmaley) (1-0),Aaron Cunningham(WolfeTones) (0-1), Oisin Hickey (Meelick), Shane O’Donnell (Éire Óg)

Alan Mulready (Sixmilebridge) (1-0) for Enright (48 mins), Martin Moroney (Parteen) for Kelly (58 mins, inj), Damien Moloney (Meelick) for O’Connell (60 mins)

Shane Hassett (Dromand Inch), James Bourke (Moycarkey Borris), John Meagher (Loughmore Castleiney), Jack Peters (Kilruan MacDonaghs), Thomas Hamill (Killea), Jason Forde (Silvermines) (1-0f), Cathal Barrett (Holycross/Ballycahill), Eoin Fennelly (Mullinahone), Bill Maher (Kilsheelan Kilcash), John McGrath (Loughmore Castleiney), Dan McCormack (Borris-Ileigh) (0-1), Liam McGrath (Loughmore Castleiney) (0-9 7f), Stephen Cahill (Thurles Sarsfields) (0-1), Pat Ralph (Moycarkey/Borris) (0-2), Cathal Horan (Mullinahone)

Barry Heffernan (Éire Óg Nenagh) for Horan (44 mins), Seamus Kennedy (St Mary’s) for Fennelly (53 mins)

Player of the Game
Tony Kelly (Clare) Referee Jer O’Connell (Cork)


Into the west of league final

DOONBEG AND West Clare Gaels will contest the Div. 3 league final on Saturday. Doonbeg had a comfortable win over Kilrush last Saturday while it was a different story for West Clare Gaels who finished with a point to spare over Éire Óg on Sunday in a match that produced nine goals.

Last year for the first time, West Clare Gaels fielded a second team and reached the final of this competition but were defeated by Burren Gaels. Fiona Troy and club secretary Deirdre Kenny Downes are in charge of this group and they will be hoping for good performances from Tracey Downes the team captain, Lisa Harte, Andrea Kenny, Grainne Harvey, Becky O’Farrell, Lorraine Ryan, Colette Keniry and Marybeth Downes.

Doonbeg this year are back in competition action at adult level. They have been unable to field a team in this age group since 05. However, a number of their players assisted other clubs, mainly Kilmihil and Shannon Gaels.

Edel Conway is the team captain, she along with Linda Russell, Sarah Cahill and Yvonne Downes were part of the Kilmihil set up that went on to win the All Ireland Junior Club Championship in 08.

The Madigan sisters Edel and Mairead and Amanda Ryan all played with Shannon Gaels in recent years and have experienced contesting a number of Intermediate Championship Finals. Players like Lorraine Tubridy and Caroline Haugh who have not played for a number of years will also feature for the magpiesTeam.

Manager Cathal Hayes and his assistant James Stack will be hoping that those experiences will stand to their side who will be strong favourites to win the league and championship double at junior level.


Clare bow out to Rebels

Cork 3-19 – Clare 1-02 at Clarecastle

THE SCOREBOARD won’t frustrate as much as fact that Clare just never got going. Or perhaps more accurately that they weren’t allowed to get going by a ravenous Cork side who almost produced the perfect hour of football.

Such pace, passion and intensity was simply a joy to behold and should be the benchmark for Clare to aspire to in the coming years. Forget the fact that Clare were plying their trade two tiers below Cork in the league as on this display, it is unlikely that anyone could have lived with the Rebels who moved the ball around with strength, pace and purpose.

Clare started both halves brightly but it would not be until the second half that they opened their account such was the control of this Cork outfit who built up a 1-11 to 0-0 halftime advantage. Dual star Briege Corkery and Nollaig Cleary were the instigators of the goal for Rhona Ní Bhuachalla to finish in the tenth minute while Valerie Mulcahy (5) and Cleary (4) would do the bulk of the point scoring.

By the finish, all six forwards would get on the scoresheet and out of the 3-19 final total, all but two points would come from play which only enhances their display on Clare soil.

Eimear Considine finally broke Clare’s deadlock after only 15 seconds of the restart while sister Ailish might have dented Cork’s lead further soon afterwards but saw her shot for goal just go the wrong side of the post. Clare did finally breach Aisling Barrett’s goal-line in the 37th minute when Eimear Considine finished at the near post after some great solo work from the hardworking Louise Henchy.

However, Cork’s reply was even more powerful when Amy O’Shea was allowed to fist to the net four minutes later while Mariead Kelly added a third goal around the turn of the final quarter.

With that, Clare’s heads dropped and Cork punished further with six more points to maintain their bid for an eighth successive provincial crown. Clare’s route will be through the backdoor where they will hope for better fortune and a sustained run in the championship.

Aisling Barrett (Donoughmore),Ann MarieWalsh (Inch Rovers),Angela Walsh (Inch Rovers), Deirdre O’Reilly (Liscarroll), Briege Corkery (St Vals), Brid Stack (Liscarroll), Geraldine O’Flynn (Liscarroll), Juliet Murphy (Donoughmre) (0-3 2f),AnnieWalsh (Inch Rovers), Nollaig Cleary (Gabriel Rangers) (0-4), Mairead Kelly (Liscarroll) (1-0), Grace Kearney (Bride Rovers) (0-3),Valerie Mulcahy (Rockban) (0-6), Rhona Ní Bhuachalla (Naomh Fionnbarra) (1-1),Amy O’Shea (Inch Rovers) (1-0)

Rena Buckley (Donoughmore) (0-2) for AnnieWalsh (44 mins), Oralith Farmer (Midleton) for Ann MarieWalsh (46 mins), Laura McMahon (Rosscarbery) for Cleary (48 mins),Aine Sheehan (Glanworth) for O’Flynn (50 mins), Geradline O’Flynn for Ní Bhuachalla (54 mins, inj)

Emma O’Drsicoll (The Banner), Clare Hestor (Fergus Rovers), Lorraine Kelly (Fergus Rovers), Sinead Eustace (Coolmeen), Louise Woods (The Banner), Carmel Considine (Liscannor), Eimear O’Connor (Coolmeen), Marie Considine (Liscannor), Colette Corry (Shannon Gaels),Ailish Considine (Kilmihil), Louise Henchy (The Banner) (0-1), Niamh Keane (The Banner), Niamh O’Dea (The Banner), Fiona Lafferty (The Banner), Eimear Considine (Kilmihil) (1-1)

Laurie Ryan (The Banner) for Kelly (42 mins), Roisin McMahon (Newmarket-onFergus) for O’Connor (46 mins), Naomi Carroll (The Banner) for A. Considine (52 mins),Aine Burke (Liscannor) for Lafferty Carol O’Leary (Newmarket-on-Fergus) for Keane (57 mins)

Player of the Game
Valerie Mulcahy (Cork) Referee Richie O’Connor (Tipperary)


Carrigaholt climb through the ranks to take the title

Carrigaholt Schools Team 6-8 – Ballynacally/Lissycasey 1-1 at Cusack Park, Ennis

THE rise of Carrigaholt schools through the ranks of the game continued in Cusack Park on Thursday last when they scored an impressive final victory over the Ballynacally/ Lissycasey amalgamation.

The west Clare amalgamation are made up of Carrigaholt, Moveen, Querrin and Doonaha schools and their 24-point win completed a hattrick of county schools titles in successive years.

In 2009 they won the Division 4 title, last year Division 3 honours came their way, while they made it three-in-a-row with this comprehen- sive win. They led by 2-6 to 1-0 at half-time, with player of the match Fidelma Marrinan showing the way all through.

They bagged an impressive 3-5 over the hour, while Shauna Melican and Caoimhe Harvey also chipped in with scores.

The victory made up for the disappointment of the narrow one-point defeat they suffered at the hands of Cross/Kilbaha in the mixed schools final in Kilmihil.

Carrigaholt Schools
Michelle Marrinan, Patricia Foran, Chloe Elderfield, Róisín Brew, Áine Murphy, Sarah Marrinan, Shauna Melican (2-0), Caoimhe Harvey (1-3), Siobhán Brew, Áine Moloney (Capt), Ciara McInerney, Fidelma Marrinan (3-5),Treasa Moloney. Subs Alannah Murphy, Síobhán Keane, Ciara Donnelly.

Ballynacally/ Lissycasey
Katie Fizgerald, Lauren Hill,Ava O’Malley, Sahron Cummins, Emma Moriarty, Lorraine Kelly, Áine McSweeney, Gillian Griffin, Rebecca Cahill, Sarah Mullins, Danielle McCarthy, Bernadette Kelly, Bríd Garry. Subs Celine Brassil, Áine Kelly, Clodah Doohan, Caireann Brigdale, Ciara Sheehan,Alana Hanrahan, Áine Slattery,Tara O’Malley.