Clann na nGael 3-17 Bennekerry/Tinryland 3-8
Fresh from their championship final win over O'Mahonys in The Optimism Junior A final, Clann na nGael were pitted against Carlow Senior County Champions Bennekerry/Tinryland in the 1st round of their Leinster Campaign played in St Ultans Sean Newman Park.
Conditions were good all morning but the rain started just before throw in, it was the Carlow Champions who were 1st off the mark, passing a excellent ball into the forward line, a goal was on but kicked wide, Bennekerry/Tinryland took off at high speed and notched up 2 points only 4 minutes into the game. Clann na nGael battled hard knowing this wasn't going to be an easy match, a ball won by Cailin McDonagh, played to Vivienne McCormack and passed to Laura Gilsenan saw the 1st wide of the game for the home side.
It was 11 minutes into the game before Clann na nGael got their 1st point from a free taken by Louise O'Connor, minutes later the Clann na nGael girls got the boost they needed with a goal from the ever reliable Louise O'Connor, Cailin Mc Donagh added a point, followed by an excellent point by Orla McLoughlin. Clann na nGaels forwards worked well together with excellent passes by Laura Gilsenan, Orla McLoughlin and fine catches by Orlagh Lally.
Bennekerry/Tinryland got their 1st goal of the game in the 16th minute, adding 2 further points from frees saw the visitors' take the lead. Louise O'Connor added 2 points from frees and a 2nd goal to put the home side in front. Camogie All Ireland champion and all star nominee Áine Keogh worked extremely hard in mid field covering huge ground and winning vital balls, with Áine Castles and Martha Reidy supporting her from either side. A point from Vivienne McCormack and a point from a free by Louise O'Connor saw the home side go in 4 points ahead a half time.
It was the Clann na nGael girls who started the smartest in the 2nd half, despite Bennekerry/Tinryland scoring their only point of the 2nd half in the opening minute. Fresh from her Camogie All Ireland win Maire Keogh replaced Martha Reidy and Áine Keogh moved into the halfback line leaving her sister Maire in mid field to join Orlagh Lally and moving Cailin Mc Donagh into the forward line was crucial to the settling of the Clann na nGael girls.
Bláthnaid Keogh scored Clann na nGaels 1st point of the 2nd half. The Clann na nGael girls took the game by the scruff of the neck when a superb pass by Orlagh Lally to Louise O'Connor who found the net for the 3rd time, the home side took off and never looked back. Points from play by Bláthnaid Keogh, Orla McLoughlin, Vivienne McCormack, Cailin McDonagh and Orlagh Lally ensured the score kept ticking over. Rianna Kelly replaced Helena Garry in the 8th minute giving a fresh pair of legs into the half back line. Credit to the Bennekerry/Tinryland who never stopped battling and putting the back line under severe pressure, great work in the backs by Ruth Sherlock, Caitlin Hamilton, Niamh Collins, backed up by some super saves by goal keeper Aoife Lally kept the score line in Clann Na nGaels favour. Nicole Kelly came on for Vivienne Mc Cormack towards the start of the 4th quarter and Kate Smith on for the injured Niamh Collins. Despite the best efforts of the Clann Na nGael back line the visitors' added 2 goals towards the end of the 4th quarter, Ellen Kate Markey replaced Louise O'Connor and was unlucky to have been denied a goal saved by the Bennekerry/Tinryland goal keeper. Deep into injury time saw Orlagh Lally fire over the last point of the game.
Clann na nGael will now meet Dromard from Longford.
Clann na nGael: Aoife Lally, Niamh Collins, Ruth Sherlock, Caitlin Hamilton, Helena Garry, Áine Castles, Martha Reidy, Cailin McDonagh (0-2), Áine Keogh, Vivienne McCormack (0-2), Orlagh Lally (0-2), Orla McLoughlin (0-2), Bláthnaid Keogh (0-1), Louise O'Connor (3-8), Laura Gilsenan, Kate Smith, Maire Keogh, Ellen Kate Markey, Orla Ferguson, Ciara McLoughlin, Amy Farrelly, Rianna Kelly, Amy Collins, Bláthnaid Castles, Keelan O'Connor, Mary Smith.