Round 3 of the All Ireland A Championship versus Clare was played in bright sunshine in LIT GAA pitch. Willie Banks’ young charges were well up for the task ahead as they knew they had to win this match to keep their championship hopes alive. However, our progression also depended on Cork beating Galway in their Round 3 game as we had drawn with Galway in Round 1 and this would see us into a playoff with Galway for a place in the All Ireland Semi-final.
Straight from the throw-in Limerick rose to the challenge with a passage of play which ended in full forward Claire Keating raising the green flag. This was followed shortly by a point for play by Caoimhe Costello. It took Clare 7 and a half minutes of play before they registered their first score of the game with a point. Limerick showed tremendous passion, playing some strong physical hurling and the outcome was another goal, this time from sharp shooter, Caoimhe. It was 21 minutes into the game before Clare once more got a point. However, from here on Clare upped their game. Their forwards broke through Limericks defence with a clear shot on goal which was brilliantly saved by goalie Orla Condon. However, Clare pulled on the rebound and although Orla dived she was unable to stop the inevitable and the ball went over the line for a goal. Clare and Limerick traded two points apiece as the clock ticked down the remaining time in the first half, a point from a free by the accurate Caoimhe and another from play by on-form Claire Keating. This left the half-time score at Limerick 2-03 and Clare 1-04.
While both sides’ mentors spoke with their respective teams during the interval, the news from the Cork/Galway game filtered through that it was a draw at half time in Mahon Camogie Grounds.
Referee Donal Leahy blew the whistle to call the teams back to the field for the second half which again Limerick began strongly with a point from play by half forward Aoife Wilson. This was closely followed by a point from centre forward Martina McMahon. The next passage of play ended in Claire Keatings second goal of the day. At this stage Limerick were 7 points ahead of Clare. The pressure was now on the Clare backs to defend Limericks attack which resulted in fouls being committed which allowed Caoimhe to pop over two further points from frees. Claire Keating also split the post from play which left Limerick ten points clear of Clare. At this stage there was less than ten minutes left to full time and Clare had not yet registered a score in this half despite tremendous work from their midfield players. The next score was again from the Treatyettes when centre forward Martina struck the sliotar with spin which hurled through the air and curved into the top corner of the Banner girls net. Further points were added to the score sheet by Meadhbh O’Neill and the ever reliable Caoimhe getting the final say of the game with another point from a free. With the referee looking at his watch and calling for the puck out the game ended with the Limerick girls rejoicing with a job well done. However, the scenes of jubilation were short-lived as manager Willie Banks had the difficult job of firstly praising the girls on a tremendous performance and secondly breaking the news and their hearts that their season had ended as Galway had beated Cork by two points and thus ended Limericks’ journey in the Minor All Ireland Camogie Championship for 2013.
Galway and Cork progress to the All Ireland A semifinals as winners and runners up in this Group.
Final Score Limerick 4-14 Clare 1-04
Team: Orla Condon, Miren O’Grady, Sinead McNamara, Shannyn Sheehan, Jane Wilson, Rebecca Delee (Captain), Donna Mulcahy, Karen O’ Leary, Deborah Murphy, Aoife Wilson, Martina McMahon (Vice-Captain), Meadhbh O’Neill, Katie Hennessey, Claire Keating, Caoimhe Costello.
Subs used: Bríd Murphy, Niamh Doyle, Lisa Ryan, Aoife Barry and Deniese Forde.
Other Subs: Shauna Tobin, Muireann Creamer, Orla Cunningham, Mairéad Clancy, Kate Mulqueen, Aishling Scully, Aoife Hogan.