TG4 All-Ireland Intermediate Ladies Football Final – Clare v Fermanagh

Clare defeated Fermanagh by 3-10 to 1-11 in the 2009 TG4 All-Ireland Intermediate Ladies Football Final in Croke Park on Sunday.

TG4 ALL-IRELAND LADIES INTERMEDIATE FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL

CLARE 3-10 FERMANAGH 1-11

JACKIE CAHILL AT CROKE PARK

CLARE made up for last year’s final heartbreak by capturing the TG4 All-Ireland ladies intermediate football championship crown at Croke Park on Sunday.

The Banner County received a fierce test from first-time finalists Fermanagh but eventually emerged five-point winners to erase the heartbreak of the 2008 defeat against Tipperary.

Clare looked on course for a comfortable victory with 20 minutes remaining as they led by seven points, 2-7 to 0-6, but a remarkable Fermanagh rally brought the Ernesiders level with eight minutes left on the clock.

A run of 1-4 without reply tied the game at 1-10 to 2-7 but just when it appeared that Clare’s hold on the game had slipped, they recovered with a strong finish to secure the title.

Clare, who drew with Fermanagh in the group stages, racked up 1-3 in the final seven minutes of playing time as two-goal heroine Majella Griffin’s 53rd minute strike proved crucial.

The experienced Griffin finished a move which covered almost the entire length of the pitch, with Aine Kelly and Sinead Kelly instrumental in the build-up.

Clare assumed complete control again to close the game out and secure senior championship football in 2010.

An exciting second period was in direct contrast to the opening half, which was littered with bad wides and poor passages of play.

Clare got off to the best possible start in the second minute when Griffin’s speculative shot slipped through the fingers of Fermanagh goalkeeper Donna Gilroy and into the net.

In the first half, Fermanagh were restricted to just three points, all from placed balls, as Clare went on to lead by 1-3 to 0-4 at the break, despite enduring a 17-minute barren spell.

Eimear Considine bagged a fine solo goal three minutes after the restart to put Clare 2-4 to 0-4 in front and it took Fermanagh until midway through the second half to register their first score from play.

However, Aisling Moane’s 45th-minute point sparked a dramatic revival which caught fire just a minute later when top scorer Caroline Little cracked home a fine goal.

Further points from Moane and Little hauled Fermanagh level but after working so hard to restore parity, the Ulster representatives were undone as Clare roared away again to claim a memorable win.

Clare scorers: M Griffin 2-4 (0-4f), E Considine 1-1, L Henchy, F Lafferty, R Lenihan, E Morrissey & N Keane 0-1 each.

Fermanagh scorers: C Little 1-5 (0-4f), S Little 0-3f, A Moane 0-2, S Hamilton 0-1.

CLARE: D Walsh; S Eustace, L Kelly, S Hoey; M Delaney, S Kelly, L Woods; L Henchy, F Lafferty; M Considine, E Morrissey, E Considine; A Kelly, N Keane, M Griffin.

Subs: R Lenihan for M Considine (52), G Lynch for Lafferty (56), B Kelly for Morrissey (58), C Considine for A Kelly (58), A.M. Callinan for Griffin (59).

FERMANAGH: D Gilroy; T Hughes-Little, E McGovern, C Woods; A Newell, P Melanaphy, A Gallagher; C Murphy, K McManus; A McBrien, S Hamilton, A Moane; D Maguire, S Little, C Little.

Subs: S McGovern for Woods (36), A McCaughey for McBrien (56), N Curran for E McGovern (59).

Referee: J Murray (Dublin)

Paths to the Final

FERMANAGH: Group A: Fermanagh 2-6 Cavan 0-12; Fermanagh 1-13 Wexford 1-7; Fermanagh 1-9 Clare 2-6; Championship Semi-final: Fermanagh 2-11 Longford 1-10

CLARE: Group A: Clare 3-19 Cavan 2-11; Clare 2-12 Cavan 2-11; Clare 2-6 Fermanagh 1-9; Championship Semi-final: Clare 3-17 Waterford 3-9