Limerick kept on track for qualification for the knock-out stages of the All-Ireland champiosnhip with an emphatic 1-13 to 0-9 win over Clare in Ennis on Saturday. Niamh Mulcahy was again the star scoring 1-10 to bring her total from three championship games to an impressive 2-37.
It was Niamh Mulcahy who opened the scoring in the 5th minute with a trademark free. Limerick were dominant throughout the opening half and made full advantage of the breeze to open a 0-8 to 0-2 lead after 20 minutes with Sinead McNamara and Caoimhe Costelloe joining Niamh Mulcahy in the scoring. Niamh Mulcahy added a goal and a point to open what proved to be an unassailable lead before the break and though Clare came back with a late brace of points Limerick lead at the interval by 1-10 to 0-4.
Though Clare did rally somewhat after the break the second half was a tame affair. Clare were able to restrict Limerick to three points one for Sinead McNamara and two for Niamh Mulcahy but their challenge never really materialsied as Limerick’s defense held firm restricting the bannerwomen to 5 points which was never going to be enough to close the gap. Clare did have a penalty with 5 minutes to go but the shot was well saved on the line by Claire Keating.
The defeat has effectively knocked Clare out of contention in Group 1 and and it looks like the three knock-out stage places are between Cork, Wexford, Limerick and Offaly. With Cork travelling to Wexford and Limerick entertaining Offaly, in Kilmallock, in the penultimate round next Saturday, a lot is to play for in these games.
Limerick Scorers: Niamh Mulcahy 1-10, Sinead McNamara 0-2, Caoimhe Costelloe 0-1
Clare Scorers: O. Duggan 0-1, M. Caulfield 0-1, A.Keane 0-3, A.O’Loughlin 0-1, L.Foley 0-1, R.McMahon 0-1 and D.Murphy 0-1.
Limerick: Claire Keating (Cappamore); Siobhan Enright (Granagh/Ballingarry), Muireann Creamer (Cappamore), Judith Mulcahy (Ahane); Niamh Richardson (Murroe/Boher), Fiona Hickey (Granagh/Ballingarry), Rebecca Delee (Newcastle West); Karen O’Leary (Newcastle West), Mary O’Callaghan (Bruff); Deborah Murphy (Knockaderry), Niamh Mulcahy (Ahane) (1-10), Caoimhe Costelloe (Shinrone) (0-01); Sinead McNamara (Na Piarsaigh) (0-02), Cliona Lane (Adare) and Chloe O’Brien (Ballyagran).
Subs: Niamh Ryan (Bruff) for Deborah Murphy, Rebecca Noonan (Granagh/Ballingarry) for Cliona Lane and Marguerite McCarthy (Ahane) for Mary O’Callaghan.