Irish Daily Star National Camogie League Division 1 Final – Kilkenny 1-15 Clare 0-4

Kilkenny defeated Clare by 1-15 to 0-4 in the Irish Daily Star National Camogie League Division 1 Final on Sunday May 4th at Semple Stadium Thurles.

Kilkenny camogie team beat Clare to win first national title since 2008

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Kilkenny 1-15 Clare 0-4

KILKENNY CLAIMED THEIR first national title since 2008 when they proved much too strong for Clare in a disappointingly one-sided Irish Daily Star camogie league Division 1 final at Semple Stadium. This competition provided the Noresiders with their last silverware at senior level and on this evidence, they will make a bold bid for All-Ireland honours later this year, having fallen at the last hurdle last September.

The Clare defensive unit was clearly unsettled by the loss of Eimear Considine to injury in the seventh minute, with the Kilmaley player being stretchered off with a knee injury. Kilkenny had suffered their own misfortune before the throw-in though, with influential full-forward Shelley Farrell unavailable due to an ankle knock. They settled reasonably well though and with the conditions making controlling the sliotar difficult they led by a point (0-2 to 0-1) approaching the end of the opening quarter.

They opened up from there though, with points from player of the match Denise Gaule and a Miriam Walsh brace stretching the margin to four.
Clare’s inexperience showed itself at this juncture, in what was their first-ever national final at the highest level, as they began to chase goals rather than take the point-scoring opportunities presented to them. Missing a couple of early frees also betrayed their nerves.

It was no coincidence that their longest-serving operator, Deirdre Murphy presented their chief threat and she scored a lovely point to make it 0-5 to 0-2. Kilkenny finished strongly though, and points from Gaule (free), Leann Fennelly, Áine Connery and Walsh gave them a seven-point interval lead. Chloe Morey landed a trademark long distance free immediately after the restart but that would be Clare’s last score until Murphy’s injury-time point.

Instead, with Mairéad Power and Jacqui Frisby completely on top in their full-back line, and Ann Dalton, Gaule and Walsh dominant, Kilkenny exerted themselves. Gaule brought her tally to six points with four well-taken scores, while Walsh and Fennelly also found the target. Aoife Neary goaled from close range in the 41st minute to cement their superiority and though the likes of Murphy, Kate Lynch and Máire McGrath put up a brave resistance, Clare were never going to deny Kilkenny.

SCORERS FOR KILKENNY: D Gaule 0-6(3fs); M Walsh 0-4; A Neary 1-0; L Fennelly, A Connery 0-2 each; A Dalton 0-1

SCORERS FOR CLARE: D Murphy 0-3(1f); C Morey 0-1(f)

KILKENNY: E Kavanagh, M Power, K McDonald, J Frisby, C Dormer, E Keane, E Aylward, A Dalton, a Dunphy, A Connery, M Walsh, D Gaule, M Quilty, L Fennelly, A Neary
Subs: C Phelan for Connery (51), M Dargan for Walsh (54), A Kinsella for Aylward (59)

CLARE: D Lynch, R McMahon, M McGrath, C O’Leary, N O’Dea, C Morey, E Considine, K Lynch, O Duggan, D Murphy, F Lafferty, C Hennessy, N Kaiser, L McMahon, E Horgan
Subs: K Horgan for Considine inj (7), C McMahon for Hennessy (19), H McMahon for K Horgan (45), V Loughnane for E Horgan (46), K Cahill for Duggan (50), A Griffin for O’Leary (59)

REFEREE: G O’Dowd (Limerick)

Irish Daily Star Camogie League Division 1 final

Clare v Kilkenny, Semple Stadium, 1.30pm *Live on TG4

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Clare caused a minor shock by ending Cork’s three-in-a-row bid in the semi-final but given that they had only lost to the Leesiders after extra time at the same stage of last year’s competition, and beat them in the 2012 Munster final, it couldn’t be described as a sensation. With the younger girls having gained experience and a vital veteran element still having a key role in the squad, the time had come for the Bannerwomen to step up to the plate.

They have reached their first national final at senior level the hard way though, needing to carve out a dogged two-point win over Limerick to earn a three-way play-off. They didn’t give their Shannonside rivals a sniff next time out however, and a comfortable win over their western neighbours and All-Ireland champions, Galway secured the semi-final berth. The confidence derived from those wins, added to the sharpness the extra games gave them, certainly helped them end the champions’ run.
Kilkenny have had a much more serene progression through the group section, with the Bannerwomen providing their sternest challenge when getting to within five points of them in Ballyhale on March 8. Wexford rallied late on in the semi-final but the Noresiders were good value for their 2-7 to 1-7 victory.

The Black and Ambers had a tremendous championship campaign last season but were dreadfully disappointed to lose the All-Ireland final to Galway. They look very motivated this term and will be desperate to end a drought at national level that goes back to the winning the league in 2008. They have a really strong look at both ends of the field, with Ann Dalton, Jacqui Frisby, Shelly Farrell, Denise Gaule and Elaine Aylward in excellent form.

Clare are in bonus territory but won’t be looking at it like that as finals are for winning. With Máire McGrath, Chloe Morey, Deirdre Murphy, Eimear Considine and Nikki Kaiser in their ranks, they can be expected to fight hard to do just that.

Kilkenny: E.Kavanagh; M.Power ; K.McDonald; J.Frisby; C.Phelan E.Keane; .E.Aylward; A.Dunphy; A.Dalton D.Gaule; M.Walsh; L.Fennelly (Capt); M.Quilty; S.Farrell ; A.Neary

Clare: D.Lynch ; C.Morey; M.McGrath; C.O’Leary; R.McMahon; N.O’Dea; E.Considine; K.Lynch (Capt) O.Duggan; N.Kaiser; F.Lafferty ; D.Murphy ; C.Hennessy ; L.McMahon; E.Horgan