Saturday 28 January 2023 Dublin: 5°C
INPHO/Ryan Byrne Niamh O'Dea played an integral role in Clare's victory.
# Epic
Ladies SFC wrap: Clare shock Kildare, Westmeath topple Donegal
Full-forward O’Dea finished with a haul of 2-7 from this afternoon’s remarkable game.

Updated at 19.16

Clare 3-17

Kildare 1-22

(Clare 2-13 Kildare 0-19 after 60 minutes)

NIAMH O’DEA WAS the matchwinner for Clare as the Banner County stunned Kildare in Saturday’s brilliant TG4 All-Ireland Ladies SFC round 1 qualifier at Páirc Seán MacDiarmada in Carrick-on-Shannon.

O’Dea hauled Clare level at the end of normal time and she added 1-1 in the second period of extra-time as Clare bounced back from the concession of 8-25 in their last championship outing against Kerry to score a gritty qualifier win.

Full-forward O’Dea finished with a haul of 2-7 from a remarkable game that saw Kildare finish with 14 players, after sub Ashling Savage was sent off early in extra-time.

There was still nothing to separate the teams at the end of the first period of extra-time but O’Dea netted with five minutes remaining to put Clare in control.

Roisin Looney’s point put them three clear but remarkably, Ashling Holton slammed home a sensational equalising goal for Kildare with two minutes left.

But there was still time for O’Dea to have the final say as she slotted over the winning point, before Holton dragged a shot wide as desperate Kildare chased another equaliser.

The sides finished level at the end of the regulation hour – 2-13 to 0-19.

Kildare were ahead at the break and led by four points – 0-19 to 2-9 – before Clare came storming back with four points without reply, including two from O’Dea, to take the game into extra-time.

But Kildare will rue a final tally of 16 wides – including nine during the first hour – and Stacy Cannon missed a glorious goal chance in the 50th minute.

Áine Gatley scored 0-8 for Kildare and captain Maria Moolick added 0-6 but it still wasn’t enough as Clare refused to yield.

Roisin Byrne made a big impact off the bench for Kildare in the second half but Eimear Considine, subdued in the first half, finished with four points in total.

At half-time in normal time, Kildare led by 0-10 to 1-4 as Moolick and centre forward Gately cut holes in the Clare defence with clever lines of running.

By half-time, the pair had scored four points each, with Ashling Holton and Siobhan Hurley also on target.

Clare’s sole scorer in that opening half was O’Dea, who notched 1-1 from play and three pointed frees.

It was Moolick who grabbed the opening score for Kildare in the first minute but O’Dea responded with a fine goal in fifth minute, after taking a neat pass from Louise Henchy.

O’Dea tagged on a point and Clare were three points clear but Kildare were quickly on terms with points from Gatley and Moolick (two).

Gately edged Kildare in front again only for O’Dea to respond and bring Clare level again at 1-2 to 0-5.

But with Gatley and Moolick pulling the strings, Kildare dominated the remainder of the half to establish a four-point lead at the midway point.

There was a moment of controversy, too, when Clare captain Marie Considine had what looked to be a point waved wide by the umpire.

Scorers for Clare: N O’Dea 2-7 (0-4f), E Considine 0-4, R Howley 1-0, R Looney & M Considine 0-2 each, N Keane & M Kelly 0-1 each.

Scorers for Kildare: A Gatley 0-8 (1f), M Moolick 0-6, A Holton 1-2, R Byrne 0-2, S Cannon, S Hurley, K Leahy & M McKenna 0-1 each.

CLARE: S Higgins; E O’Driscoll, L Kelly, L Ryan; M Foran, F Lafferty, K McCormack; M Considine, N Keane; R Howley, L Henchy, R Looney; E Considine, N O’Dea, M Kelly.

Subs: A O’Brien for McCormack (h.t.), K Connole for M Kelly (55), E Hillery for Ryan (60), M Kelly for Keane (64), N Keane for Connole (74).

KILDARE: A Hederman; A Lambe, K Lowry, P Keatley; A Herbert, D Berry, A Holton; M Moolick, L Keatley; B Leahy, A Gately, K Leahy; S Hurley, E Dillon, M McKenna.

Subs: A Savage for Herbert (21), R Byrne for Herbert (h.t.), S Cannon for K Leahy (40), O Gowran for Dillon (48), J Timmins for McKenna (60),  for Savage (64), C Keoghan for L Keatley (73), T Duggan for B Leahy (75).

Referee: G Corrigan (Down)

Donegal 1-7

Westmeath 1-15

MARTIN FLANAGAN’S WESTMEATH marched into round 2 of the TG4 All-Ireland Ladies SFC qualifier with an eight-point victory over Donegal at Páirc Seán MacDiarmada on Saturday afternoon.

Karen Hegarty scored the decisive goal with 14 minutes remaining and full-forward Fiona Leavy chipped in with seven points in all as the Midlanders scored a surprisingly comfortable win.

Donegal had given quite a good account of themselves against All-Ireland contenders Monaghan in the Ulster semi-final and were expected to produce a strong performance.

But Westmeath, beaten by Meath in the Leinster quarter-final, had much of the hard work done by half-time as they had established a 0-7 to 0-2, having played into the teeth of a strong wind that later subsided.

And Westmeath survived the second half sin-binning of full-back Aimee Giles to set up a clash with Mayo in the next round.

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Leavy was a constant thorn in Donegal’s side and even though the Killucan player shot a number of wides, she still emerged as Westmeath’s most dangerous forward.

Leavy had three points on the board by half-time as Donegal struggled badly for scores at the other end.

Rose Boyle put the Ulster side ahead but they had to wait 22 minutes on the time clock for another score, when Karen Guthrie pointed.

The best goal chance of the first half fell to Westmeath but Leavy saw her shot brilliantly saved by Donegal goalkeeper Niamh Mailey in the sixth minute.

The goals did come in the second half – one for each side – and after Westmeath survived an early scare when Roisin Curran struck the post, the Donegal full-forward netted soon after with a speculative shot that Niamh Mulligan couldn’t keep out.

Eilish Ward tagged on a free and Donegal were back to within a point, 1-3 to 0-7, before Leavy added two frees for Westmeath.

The Lake County then lost Giles to that yellow card but even though Donegal cut the deficit back to a point again, Westmeath held firm and Hegarty’s goal put them 1-10 to 1-5 clear and in a real comfort zone.

In the closing stages, Westmeath outscored Donegal by 0-5 to 0-2 to get the job done and they will provide dangerous opposition for Mayo next time out.

Scorers for Westmeath: F Leavy 0-7 (5f), K Hegarty 1-0, R Kearney & J Maher 0-2 each, T Durkan, M.A. Foley (f), C Blundell & S Dolan 0-1 each.

Scorers for Donegal: R Curran 1-1, E Ward 0-3 (2f), K Guthrie 0-2 (1f), R Boyle 0-1.

DONEGAL: N Mailey; O Carr, K Herron, N McLaughlin; D Foley, T McCafferty, P McCafferty; S McGroody, K Guthrie; K Feeney, A Cunningham, R Boyle; E Gallagher, R Curran, E Ward.

Subs: P Mannering for Cunningham (20), K McKinney for P McCafferty (35), A Cunningham for Mannering (52), N Friel for Foley (54), C Kelly for Carr (57).

WESTMEATH: N Mulligan; A Martin, A Giles, T Durkan; K Boyce Jordan, L Duncan, L Brennan; R Kearney, M.A. Foley; J Maher, L Walsh, C Blundell; K Hegarty, F Leavy, C Kelly.

Subs: S Dolan for Kelly (50), L Kiernan for Blundell (50), A Brady for Maher (56).

Referee: PJ Rabbitte (Galway).

First published at 18.09

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