McGrath provides the inspiration as Banner see off Offaly in thriller
Published 30/06/2014 | 02:30
Clare made it two out of two in the Liberty Insurance Senior Championship when just holding off Offaly by 1-10 to 1-8 in a titanic battle in Birr.
There was nothing between them early on as Offaly's Siobhan Flannery, twice, and the excellent Tina Hannon, replied to scores from Niki Kaiser, Claire McMahon and the experienced Deirdre Murphy.
McMahon edged Clare ahead once more and they opened some daylight when Fiona Lafferty found the net.
Offaly had plenty of scoring chances but shot 11 wides in that first half, although much of the credit for that should go to a magnificent Clare full-back line in which Maire McGrath gave a player-of-the-match performance.
It was 1-7 to 0-4 to the winners at half-time but Offaly were better in the second half, keeping Clare to just three points.
They had two penalties and a 21-yard free in the final quarter too as they threw everything at Colm Honan's side.
Elaine Dermody (twice) and Flannery had their shots saved, though Dermody did register a point from a rebound after goalkeeper Denise Lynch – herself a point-scorer from a long-distance free – blocked Flannery's penalty.
As well as that, Flannery finished to the net from close range after Dermody's effort from the 21-yard free was blocked by McGrath. Time ran out on Offaly, however.
In the other senior game Derry beat Tipperary 2-12 to 1-9 in Swatragh.
Tipperary had more than enough chances to win the game but struggled to convert them to scores.
That meant that despite a good start, that included points from Cait Devane and Sarah Fryday, they were rocked back on their heels by a deflected goal from Grainne McGoldrick, who finished with 1-3.
Karen Kielt was excellent for Derry in the second half and brought her tally to five points. Amy Kennedy scored an excellent goal for Tipperary, but when Grainne McNicholl found the net at the other end, that was enough for Derry to cement a 2-12 to 1-9 win.