Ladies Intermediate All-Ireland Semi-Final
Clare 2-14 – 1-13 Antrim
Glennon Brothers Pearse Park
DESPITE a brilliant performance in Longford, the Antrim Ladies were edged out by a slim margin when they took on Clare in Sunday’s Intermediate All-Ireland semi-final.
Both sides competed in a fantastic game of football which the Munster side would emerge victorious, but credit is certainly due to both teams in what was a real advert for ladies’ football.
The Saffrons went into the game as underdogs as they faced, not only a far more experienced side on the All-Ireland stage, but one that plays their league campaign two divisions above.
And it would be the favourites Clare who started very quickly almost stunning Antrim in the early stages. Clare midfielder Chloe Moloney would strike first as her effort soared over the black spot in the second minute.
Moloney once again was in the thick of things when she linked up with team-mate Aisling Reidy who thumped her effort into the top corner of the net extending her sides early advantage to four-points.

All-star Moloney was proving a real threat for Antrim early on when she pointed a brace of scores (one free) followed by scores from team-mates Laura Grifey and Fidelma Marrinan which saw the Banner County eight points in front after just as many minutes of play.
Antrim looked on the ropes in the early stages but fought back just in time to prevent a complete Clare onslaught. Star-forward Orlaith Prenter put a stop to the opposition momentum when she kicked a lovely score from distance between the posts on the 9th minute, registering Antrim’s first score.
Theresa Mellon and Maria O’Neill notched a point apiece for the Saffs reducing the deficit to five points. The game had a real tit-for-tat feel as Antrim woke themselves up for a battle.
Antrim overturned possession deep in enemy territory and Cathy Carey retrieved the ball after a scramble and passed the ball into the path of O’Neill who fisted it into the goal to really turn the tie into an even contest.
The Ulster champions maintained their momentum with Carey this time scoring a lovely point from 30-yards.
Into added time of the first half, Antrim managed to turn over a Clare attack and used the build-up to counter-charge their opponents where Orlaith Prenter was on hand to routinely strike her effort over the bar levelling the game at 1-7 apiece momentarily.
Clare did end the first period strongly, however. A free from Fidelma Marrinan and a brilliant Aisling Reidy point closed the half with the Banner County going into the break with a two-point lead. The score line at the break read, Clare 1-9 – 1-7 Antrim with the second half all to play for.
Emma Kelly’s side  started the second period similarly to the first, as Clare notched a few early scores through midfield duo Moloney and Marrinan once again.
Clare took a four-point gap early into the second half and had the look of a team growing in confidence. One thing that stood out in comparison between the two sides was the physical presence of Clare, especially in the midfield and defensive areas.
Antrim did not back down however and came very close to adding a second goal when Antrim forward Grainne McLaughlin looked to have stolen the ball from her marker Ní Chonaill, but the fullback was on hand to stop the wing-forward and retrieved the ball fantastically launching her sides counter attack.
The ensuing counter saw Clare score a devastating second-goal when substitute Ciara McCarthy launched a brilliant pass into Moloney who caught the ball cleanly before jinking inside on her left and hitting a stunning strike into the top corner.
Clare's lead was now seven points, and Antrim looked out on their feet, however moments after the goal it was McCarthy who would be sin-binned for a tackle on Lara Dahunsi which give Antrim a final glimmer of hope.

Antrim found scores instantly, unsurprisingly Orlaith Prenter being the contributor on two consecutive occasions with one free from 30-yards, before curling a deep effort well-over the black spot halving Clare’s lead.
Time management was clearly on the Munster side's playbook, especially when they were reduced to 14. The clock began to tick, and Antrim’s hopes were dwindling before Lara Dahunsi strolled through the Clare midfield powering past four opponents and blasting an effort over the bar.
With only seven minutes remaining Dahunsi once again picked the ball up from a poor Clare kick-out, this time the St Paul’s woman found herself aiming for goal but unfortunately the midfielder saw her powerful strike just soar over the bar.
The points simply weren’t enough for the Saffrons and Clare substitute Megan Downes struck a point on the 56th minute which all but sealed her side's victory.
Antrim would reply through a Grainne McLaughlin free in the final minute of play, but it simply wasn’t enough this time as the Saffron Ladies came so very close to a final date in Croke Park. Clare now will take on Kildare in the the All-Ireland Intermediate Championship final later this month.
Antrim: A McCann, D Coleman (57’), E Ferran, M Mulholland, O Corr, C Brown, S O’Neill, L Dahunsi 0-2, A Tubridy, G McLaughlin 0-2, C Carey 0-2, T Mellon 0-2, B Devlin, O Prenter 0-4 (2 frees), M O’Neill 1-1
Subs: A Devlin, T Mellon, A Keenan (57’), A Mulholland, C McKenna, C Taggart, A Taggart, L Agnew, C Emerson, R Mulholland, M McGarry, N McIntosh, B Nic Cahill, A Kelly, S Tennyson.
Clare: A Linehan, Á Keane, S Ní Chonaill, G Harvey, L Griffin (55’), C Harvey, S Considine, A Reidy 1-3, C Moloney 1-3 (1 free), L Ryan, F Marrinan 0-4 (2 frees), A Sexton (48’), L Grifey 0-1, C Blake 0-1, C Cahill
Subs: M Downes 0-1 (48’), J Doohan (55’), E Hynes, J Murphy, C McCormack, C Ryan, L Clarke, E Healy, O Devitt, R Doohan, S O’Gorman, C Ryan, C McCarthy