The step up to the Premier Junior Championship this year was no surprise to anyone in Mayo Camogie circles with the team having won the Nancy Murray Cup in 2021 and the Division 4 League title earlier this year. On Saturday last the team travelled to meet Clare in Cusack Park in Ennis for their opening fixture in this year’s Glen Dimplex Premier Junior Championship.
Both teams made strong starts with play travelling up and down the pitch. Clare got their first point on the board after two and half minutes. A Mayo sideline cut just on three and a half minutes was caught out of the air by Saoirse O’Brien and passed to Fionnuala McLaughlin who took the ball on a run and then confidently put it over the bar to open Mayo’s account.
A consistent feature throughout the whole match was the diligence with which the Clare back lines marked their opponents, not an inch was given.
Saoirse Delaney made a beautiful catch out of the air while on a run and sent it down the pitch into the forward lines where Lisa Scahill picked it up only to be met with two Clare players who were intent on gaining the ball for themselves.
There was some fantastic confident team play by all the Mayo players, Saoirse Delaney scored two points in a row from play and showed that when she was able to find space, she could make some great conversions.
During the middle of the first half the Clare forward lines were shooting a barrage of wides at the Mayo uprights mainly due to the pressure they were under from the Mayo backlines who put up a massive display all afternoon.
Mayo’s only goal chance in the first half began with a puck out from Aoibheann Crawley which accurately picked out Emily Kelly. It was then passed onto Saoirse O’Brien and moved into the forward lines to Saoirse Delaney. Saoirse O’Brien then made a run forward and picked up the play again to drive the sliotar towards the Clare goal, where unfortunately for Mayo, the Clare goalie was waiting and while she took her time clearing it under pressure from Saoirse Delaney it went out over the endline for a 45’. Thankfully for Mayo this resulted in a point from Meabh Delaney.
The next period of the first half was dominated by Clare scores and they racked up 1 goal and 4 points from play along with a point from a free.
Meabh Delaney stepped up to take a free deep in injury time and put Mayo’s final score of the first half on the board.
At half time Clare led by 1 goal and 8 points to Mayo’s 5 points.
The second half of the match was dominated by a keenly focused Clare side who were determined to take the win. They added another three goals and 9 points during the second half with our players scoring 2 points. Clare are a battled hardened side and have a wealth of match time at this level under their belts.
While Mayo lost today, they will take a massive depth of experience from this fixture into their next match where they meet Tipperary at home on Saturday 28th May.
Team, Subs & Scorers
Mayo: A Crawley, A Doherty, A Mulkeen, G Delaney, S Golden, A Lambert, Caoimhe Delaney, M Delaney (C), R Lyons, F McLaughlin, S O’Brien, E Kelly, S Delaney, L Scahill, Ciara Delaney
Subs: Roisin Cassidy for Lisa Scahill (50), Niamh Kennedy for Saoirse O’Brien (56), Brona Joyce for Shauna Golden (60), Kate Scahill for Emily Kelly (60), Siobhan Mooney for Caoimhe Delaney (60)
Scorers Mayo: M Delaney (0-02 1’45, 1f), S Delaney (0-02), F McLaughlin (0-01), C Delaney (0-01), R Cassidy (0-01):
Clare: L Solon, C Lally, M Powell, S Hogg (Joint-Captain), R Crowe , K O’Gorman (Joint-Captain), S O’Keeffe, A Walsh, N Mulqueen, G Carmody, S Canny, A Anderson, R Conway, O Phelan, Aideen Hickey
Subs: Rachel Kelly for N Mulqueen (HT), Siobhan Lenihan for S Canny (39), Emma Kennedy for C Lally (42), Aisling Cooney for Hickey (45), Éabha McInerney for S O’Keeffe (56)
Scorers Clare: R Conway (1-03), O Phelan (1-02), A Anderson (0-04), A Walsh (1-01), S Canny (1-01 1f), G Carmody (0-03), A Hickey (0-01), R Kelly (0-01), S Lenihan (0-01).