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Clare warm to Rebelette challenge

CLARE manager David O'Brien believes that his players are now better equipped to tackle Cork in this year's championship.

The Banner County suffered a 2-9 to 5-13 spanking in last year's provincial final and the two teams will meet again in next month's Munster semi-final.

But Clare can take confidence from victory over Fermanagh in Saturday's decider, a match that was a repeat of the 2009 All-Ireland intermediate final.

"Last year, we played Cork in the Munster final and the game was over after 20 minutes," O'Brien said. "We have improved a bit since then. But that gave us a wake-up call because we thought we were great after winning the intermediate title. We weren't long put in our place that day."

Deflated Fermanagh boss Darren Boyle must pick his charges up for a tilt at the intermediate championship.

Three second-half Clare goals put paid to the Erne County's hopes at Parnell Park and Boyle said: "At the start of the year, promotion and a semi-final was always the target. The final was an added bonus and getting out of the division is important for the county's development."

The sides were level six times on Saturday, including 0-5 apiece at half-time, before Clare opened up in the second half with three killer goals.

Marie Considine netted six minutes after the restart, Eimear Considine struck in the 42nd minute and Niamh O'Dea added the third goal seven minutes from the end.

But Clare, who led by seven points, 3-9 to 0-11, when O'Dea goaled, had to fend off a Fermanagh fightback as Sharon Little's 59th-minute goal brought the Erne County back to within four points of the winners.

Player of the Match: Niamh O'Dea (Clare)

Scorers -- Clare: N O'Dea 1-5 (0-2f), E Considine 1-1, M Considine 1-0, L Henchy 0-2 (1f), N Carroll, A Considine 0-1 each. Fermanagh: S Little 1-4 (0-1f), C Little 0-5, M Connolly 0-2, A Moane 0-1.

CLARE -- E O'Driscoll 7; C Hester 7, L Kelly 7, L Ryan 7; E O'Connor 7, R McMahon 7, L Woods 7; M Considine 8, L Henchy 8; C Corry 6, N Keane 7, N Carroll 7; E Considine 8, N O'Dea 9, S Bohannon 6. Subs: A Considine 7 for Corry (h-t), K Geoghegan 6 for Carroll (53), S Eustace 6 for Bohannon (55), C Considine for Hester (59), C O'Leary for O'Dea (60).

FERMANAGH -- R Gleeson 8; C Woods 6, N Curran 6, O Reihill 6; D Murphy 6, T Little 6, T Melanaphy 6; M Connolly 7, A Moane 6; S Hamilton 5, S Little 6, L McFrederick 5; N McManus 6, C Little 7, A McBrien 6. Subs: K McManus 6 for Hamilton (37), J Doonan 6 for McFrederick (46), R O'Reilly for Woods (57), A Maguire for McManus (58), L Slevin for Melanaphy (59).

REF -- D McEnery (Westmeath).

Irish Independent