Dublin v Clare

Dublin 1-9  Clare 0-12

Parnell Park has been an happy hunting grounds for the Senior team.  The side recorded its only league victory with a triumph over Tipperary early in the season and in the final game of the round robin phase, Dublin deservedly earned their first point of the campaign.

The result will have given Dublin a badly needed boost with the qualifier for the quarter-finals set for Saturday week against either Kilkenny or Offaly.

Dublin opened well and new free-taker Mairi Moynihan was on target after 2 minutes.  Further points by Mairi (free) and an excellent score from Aisling Carolan gave the home side a 0-3 to 0-1 lead after 10 minutes.  But the Munster champions have had a run of good form of late and Limerick born Naomi Carroll who was player of the match in their Provincial Final win over Cork slipped over a fine point in the 7th minute.

Claire McMahon is the main provider of scores for Clare mainly from placed balls and she showed her skills to with an excellent point from play from near the sideline on the stand side in the 13th minute.

The return of Laura Twomey after injury has been a plus for Dublin and the Naomh Mearnóg player pointed superbly in the 19th minute but replies by Naomi Carroll and Susan Fahy brought matters level by the 26th minute.  Claire MacMahon put the Banner girls ahead for the first time in the 28th minute but as the half-time whistle approached Muireann O'Gorman grabbed Dublin's third point from play in the 31st minute.

A feature of this game was the resilience of the Dublin side which was commendable coming off the back of a heavy defeat to Wexford a week previously.  No sooner had Claire McMahon pointed after the restart but Áine Fanning struck a fine equaliser two minutes later.

Dublin's defence was solid with Arlene Cushen outstanding at week back so much that Clare ace Deirdre Murphy was replaced midway through the second half.  The rest of the Dublin defence of Lizzie McSweeney, Gráinne Quinn, Louise O'Hara and Catriona Power were very composed.  Having found Naomi Carroll a handful in the first half, captain Elaine O'Meara turned in fine second 30 minutes to hold her opponent scoreless.

Another Claire McMahon free put Clare back in front with the breeze slightly favouring them in the 37th minute but once again Dublin responded with Mairi Moynihan getting her third pointed free. 

The most crucial phase of the game arrived in the period between the 40th and 43rd minutes which had a big say in ensuring that Dublin didn't lose the game.

A long delivery from Laura Twomey was plucked from the air by Amy Murphy and off the left side she hammered home an unstoppable shot.  Dublin were now a goal to the good with 20 minutes left.  Clare came storming back and the equaliser looked certain when Naomi Carroll let fly from close range but a diving Fiona Hayes made a super stop in her goalkeeping debut and the danger was averted.

Claire McMahon from another placed ball cut the gap to two in the 36th minute but a wonderful clearance by Gráinne Quinn was won by the hard-working Ali Twomey who fed her clubmate Mairi Moynihan who drove over a rousing point. 

Dublin's workrate was superb with Muireann O'Gorman and Miriam Twomey popping up all over the place. 

Clare enjoyed a good spell from the 49th to the 54th minutes with Fiona Lafferty particularly prominent at centre back.  This dominance yielded three points from Susan Fahy and two more from Claire McMahon to bring the sides together for the 6th time.

Sarah Ryan who due to illness had been unable to start was introduced for the final 5 minutes or so and made an effective contribution.  Good combination between Sarah and Muireann O'Gorman set up Aisling Carolan and the corner forward put Dublin back in front with a great point.

Ciara Burgess had also been introduced and made her contribution with when the ball broke into the Dublin dangerzone a goal looked on when Sinead Tuohy broke through.  However the Clare forward spurned the option of a pass to a free player on her right and fired over a point to level matters for the 7th time.

At the finish both sides were happy to settle for a draw and both will enter the next game in a positive frame of mind.

Dublin continue to improve and the lure of a quarter-final spot for the first time in years will make training very competitive over the coming days.

Fiona Hayes, Lizzie McSweeney, Gráinne Quinn, Elaine O'Meara, Arlene Cushen, Louise O'Hara, Catriona Power, Laura Twomey (0-1), Mairi Moynihan (0-4, 3f), Muireann O'Gorman (0-1), Amy Murphy (1-0), Alison Twomey, Aisling Carolan (0-2), Áine Fanning (0-1), Miriam Twomey

Subs:  Sarah Ryan, Ciara Burgess

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