All-Ireland Ladies Minor B Football Final – Laois 4-9 Clare 2-13

All-Ireland ladies minor B football final

Clare 2-13 Laois 4-9

By Jackie Cahill at MacDonagh Park, Nenagh

SUPERSUB Niamh Power scored two second half goals as Laois claimed their first All-Ireland ladies minor football title since 1992, in a thrilling final against Clare on Monday afternoon. Power came off the bench to make a huge impact as the O’Moore girls won the B final at MacDonagh Park, Nenagh. In a superb game, Laois were six points twice in the first half against last year’s winners. The Leinster outfit cruised into an early 1-3 to 0-0 lead, with Ciara Burke netting the ninth minute goal.

But Clare settled and responded in the 16th minute when player of the match Gráinne Nolan slotted home a penalty after Katie Connole was fouled. Laois scored a second goal in the 26th minute, with corner forward Shannon Costello on target, and that strike put the newly-crowned champions 2-6 to 1-3 clear. But a run of four unanswered points brought Clare back in contention by half-time, as they trailed by 1-7 to 2-7. Sub Aoife Keane tied the game with Clare’s second goal early in the second half and the sides were level again before Power struck the first of her two goals.

And after the sides were level again with just a few minutes remaining, 3-9 to 2-12, Power’s decisive second goal ensured victory for Laois. Keane slotted over a late point for Clare but time ran out for the Banner girls as Laois edged a memorable see-saw battle by two points, in what was their very first All-Ireland B decider. Laois were appearing in their first All-Ireland final since the 2004 A defeat to Cork – and when the dust settled, they were celebrating a second ever national success in the minor grade.

Scorers for Clare: G Nolan 1-7 (1-0 pen, 0-5f), A Keane 1-1, C Moloney 0-3, O Devitt 0-2.

Scorers for Laois: N Power 2-0, L.M. Maher 0-5 (3f), S Costello 1-2, C Burke 1-0, A Fitzgibbon & A Haberlin 0-1 each.

CLARE: A O’Neill; J Howley, A O’Brien, S Harvey; E Hillary, M Foran, O Lynch; A Corbett, N Kaiser; N Blake, O Devitt, K Connole; A O’Gorman, C Moloney, G Nolan.

Subs: A Keane for Blake (30), S Quinn for Howley (30).

LAOIS: F Kelly; K Preston, C Dunne, N Byrne; F Dooley, C Dollard, A Loughman; M Dunne, A Haberlin; C Burke, A Fitzpatrick, L.M. Maher; S Costello, A Fitzgibbon, C Simms.

Subs: L Kearney for Fitzpatrick (h.t.), N Power for Fitzgibbon (45), R Rafter for Byrne (48), R O’Connell for Costello (60).

Referee: G Carmody (Mayo)