Dubs edge a Thurles thriller but have to do it all over again today
Dublin1-11 Clare 0-12
There was as much relief as delight in Semple Stadium on Saturday following Dublin's narrow play-off victory over Clare to finally book their place in the All-Ireland Senior Camogie Championship Quarter-Final against Wexford this afternoon.
Both counties had stood firm in their defiance of a proposed coin toss to decide their championship fate before the Camogie Association offered a play-off as an appeasement.
And it proved a fully merited stance as the sides played out a compelling winner-takes-all tie that Dublin only edged through after a tense finale.
"We're delighted to come through" admitted Dublin manager Shane O'Brien afterwards.
"It was a hugely competitive game, but when it came down to it, the girls showed great character and huge resolve to prevail."
Only metres away, defeated Clare manager Colm Honan cut a crestfallen figure.
"It's very disappointing," he said. "It was such a close game, two teams that were locked together, there was nothing between the teams and we got a chance at the end there to get an equaliser and it just faded wide.
"And had that gone over, we would have been looking at extra-time," said the former All Star hurler.
In the end it was Dublin's stronger bench that sealed the late win.
The teams were level at the break at 1-5 to 0-8 after Louise O'Hara's sixth minute goal cancelled out Clare's good start.
Player-of-the-game Sarah O'Donovan and Aine Fanning pushed Dublin clear for the first time, only for freetaker Chloe Morey to keep Clare in touch throughout.
The Banner were also denied a goal by a superb save from Sile Nic Coitir.
The sides were level on three more occasions in the second half before Dublin made good use of their bench to introduce some fresh legs.
Substitute Alison Maguire's free nudged Dublin 1-10 to 0-12 clear in the 54th minute, a lead that they would hold despite some nervy moments at the back.
And a point from another substitute Aisling Maher secured their passage to the quarter-final against Wexford in Carlow this afternoon at 2pm.
SCORERS - Dublin: L O'Hara 1-0 A Maguire 0-3 (2f, 1'45); A Fanning, S Kehoe, A Maher 0-2 each; S O'Donovan, L Quinn 0-1 each. Clare: C Morey 0-7 (7f); E O'Driscoll 0-2; E Kelly, A Keane, A O'Keeffe 0-1 each
DUBLIN: S Nic Coitir; C Power, R Collins, A Carolan; E O'Meara, A Maguire, L Twomey; M Twomey, O Durkin; L Quinn, S O'Donovan, L O'Hara; E Flanagan, A Fanning, S Kehoe Subs: A Maher for Flanagan (ht), M O'Donoghue for Durkin (34), A Twomey for O'Hara (58), A Bugler for Fanning (58), Mairi Moynihan for O'Donovan (61)
CLARE: D Lynch; A Griffin, C O'Leary, E O'Connell; K Lynch, O Duggan, C Hehir; M McGrath, R McMahon; A O'Keeffe, E Kelly, E O' Driscoll; N Carroll, C Morey, A Keane. Sub: A Keating for Kelly (ht). REF - C Egan (Cork)