It took more than a coin toss, but Dublin are eventually through to All Ireland quarters
Dublin 1-11 Clare 0-12
Dublin finally advanced to Monday's All-Ireland Quarter-Final against Wexford following a strong finish to this winner-takes-all showdown in Semple Stadium on Saturday.
After a difficult week in which both counties withdrew from the competition on Wednesday rather than have to draw lots to decide the final quarter-final place after the counties had finished level on points and on the head-to-head in their group, the Camogie Association finally offered the appeasement of a play-off, two days before the winner would then contest the final quarter-final.
In truth, it was just as evenly matched as their group draw with the sides level on seven occasions over the hour before Dublin finally secured victory with the last puck of the game.
Wind-assisted Clare opened with the first three points of the game inside five minutes through Chloe Morey (2) and Eimear Kelly, only for Dublin to cancel it out a minute later in a slick passing move involving Siobhan Kehoe and Aine Fanning who picked out the unmarked Louise O’Hara at the back post to finish to the net at 1-0 to 0-3.
It would prove an inspirational score as the Dubs would quickly hit the front for the first time thanks to unanswered points from Sarah O’Donovan and Fanning by the eleventh minute, a two point lead that they would maintain into the second quarter despite two glorious goal opportunities for the Banner.
Chloe Morey would be on the end of both, first flicking an Aoife Keane delivery just past the post while only minutes later seeing a first time pull somehow tipped away by goalkeeper Sile Nic Coitir.
Clare did finish with four of the last six points of the half however, two from unerring freetaker Morey to ensure that the sides would be on level terms entering the dressing rooms at 1-5 to 0-8.
That inch-tight pattern would continue on the restart as Dublin, now with the aid of the conditions, edged clear on three occasions only to be reeled in each time by their obstinate opponents.
It seemed as if nothing could separate the sides as the game entered the final ten minutes. However, with three of Clare's side also having played 80 minutes of All-Ireland Intermediate Ladies Football Championship with the Banner less than 24 hours earlier, their inevitable fatigue was in contrast to Dublin's fresh legs from the bench in what proved a tense finale.
An Alison Maguire free nudged Dublin 1-10 to 0-12 clear in the 54th minute, an advsantage that they would hold despite some anxious moments at the back before substitute Aisling Maher secured the Dubs place in the last eight against Wexford on Monday.
Scorers for 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
Scorers for 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, Á 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)
Referee: Cathal Egan (Cork)