Clare's Niamh O'Dea (file photo). ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne
Ladies GAA

Ladies SFC: Clare stun Meath at the death

Leinster finalists Meath are out of the All-Ireland series as the Banner snatched a 1-11 to 1-10 win in Birr yesterday.

Clare 1-11 Meath 1-10

NAOMI CARROLL’S LATE point sealed a shock victory for Clare against Meath in Saturday’s TG4 All-Ireland Ladies SFC Round 2 qualifier at St Brendan’s Park, Birr.

Clare lost to Cork by 11 points in the Munster semi-final but hit back in spirited fashion to send Leinster finalists Meath crashing out of the All-Ireland series.

And it was Carroll who sealed Clare’s passage to the quarter-finals with 55 seconds left on the clock.

A tie that was level six times looked destined for extra-time but Carroll, despite being off-balance, fired over the winner to clinch a surprise win.

Meath finished the game with 14 players when Jenny Rispin was sin-binned in the closing minutes but overall, the Royal County didn’t do enough to get the job done.

They were over-reliant on captain Katie O’Brien for scores as the St Ultan’s player finished with 1-7.

O’Brien also levelled the scores at 1-10 apiece with two minutes remaining but that was her sole score of the second half.

Meath managed just three points in entire second period, despite playing with the aid of a stiff breeze.

But when midfielder Shauna Bennett popped over a 32nd point, Meath were two clear and with a decent platform to build from.

Clare’s response was impressive, however, but a run of four unanswered points – including two from impressive forward Niamh O’Dea – send the Banner County into a 1-10 to 1-8 lead.

Meath hit back with scores from Mahon and O’Brien but there was a late sting in the tail as Carroll fired over the priceless winner for the 2009 All-Ireland intermediate champions.

Meath, with O’Brien landing 1-6, led at half-time, 1-7 to 1-6, but had to overturn a four-point deficit to establish that slender interval lead.

In a half that was level four times, it was wind-assisted Clare who struck the first real decisive blow in the 12th minute when Ailish Considine’s defence-splitting pass found Maria Kelly through on goal, and the West Clare Gaels player made no mistake with a low finish.

Niamh O’Dea tagged on a point and Clare were 1-4 to 0-3 clear but Meath were on terms at 1-5 apiece five minutes before half-time.

The goalscorer was O’Brien, who collected a pass from midfielder Shauna Bennett, dodged a defender and cracked home a rising drove to the roof of the Clare net.

That strike midway through the half breathed fresh life into the Leinster runners-up and it was O’Brien who was pulling the strings, roving to good effect in attack and popping over scores with regularity.

O’Brien hit including 1-3 from play but it was a free from the ace forward in the 25th minute that tied the scores at 1-5 each.

Considine nudged Clare back in front again but O’Brien would have the final say in the first half, landing two glorious points from play before half-time to inch Meath ahead again.

Scorers for Clare: N O’Dea 0-5 (2f), M Kelly 1-1, A Considine 0-3 (1f), N Carroll 0-2.

Scorers for Meath: K O’Brien 1-7 (0-3f), S Bennett 0-2, F Mahon 0-1.

CLARE: E O’Driscoll; S Kelly, L Kelly, L Ryan; R Looney, L Henchy, M Delaney; M Considine, F Lafferty; N Carroll, N Keane, M Kelly; N Lardner, N O’Dea, A Considine. Sub: S Harvey for Lardner (h.t.).

MEATH: I Munnelly; O Byrne, A Murray, O Sheridan; E Troy, E Rahill, H Regan; S Bennett, F Mahon; M Sheridan, K O’Brien, J Rispin; V McCormack, A Thompson, B Lynch. Subs: M Peel for Regan (21), L Dempsey for Thompson (42), J Byrne for Lynch (43), G Doherty for McCormack (55).

Referee: S Joy (Kerry).

Emmet McDonnell appointed Offaly senior football manager