By Kevin Moran in Ballyhaunis
CARNACON’S reign as Connacht and All-Ireland Ladies Club Football champions was ended by Kilkerrin-Clonberne in Saturday’s provincial decider.
The Galway outfit gained sweet revenge a year after losing out in a Connacht Final replay to the Mayo side.
It’s Kilkerrin-Clonberne’s first Connacht success since 2015 – and sends Kevin Reidy’s side into an All-Ireland semi-final clash with Cork and Munster standard-bearers Mourneabbey.
With the sides level at the break, Kilkerrin/Clonberne faced an uphill task playing into a strong breeze but second half goals from Annette Clarke, Galway’s 2004 All-Ireland winning skipper, and current county star Louise Ward set them on the path to victory.
A youthful Kilkerrin-Clonberne were full value for their victory and were the side setting the tempo from the outset. They opened the scoring courtesy of a goal from Ailish Morrissey and soon followed up with points from Chloe Miskell and Morrissey.
Cora Staunton, who collected all but one point of her side’s tally, opened Carnacon’s account before Aoife Brennan was fouled inside the area to give Staunton a chance to convert from the spot.
Staunton made no mistake driving high into the roof of the net to make it 1-1 to 1-2 midway through the half.
Olivia Diviliy added a free for Kilkerrin/Clonberne but it was Carnacon who would finish the half the stronger of the two sides with points into the wind coming from Staunton and Louise Dowling.
Despite the aid of the wind, Carnacon found their opponents difficult to break down and Kilkerrin/Clonberne crowded out the attack time and again to frustrate. They could do little to halt Cora Staunton at times in the second period, however, as she hit five second half points – the majority from distance.
Goals win games however, and Kilkerrin/Clonberne’s work rate was matched by their ability to create a goal chance from nowhere.
Clarke finished their first of the half after direct running from Louise Ward and Olivia Divily created the chance.
After Carnacon regained the lead, Louise Ward hit a curling effort toward the posts that dropped into the corner of the net to leave Kilkerrin/Clonberne a point ahead entering injury time.
In the dying moments, substitute Claire Dunleavy hit the insurance point to ensure the title headed back to Galway.
Carnacon – C Staunton 1-7 (1-0pen, 0-1f), L Dowling 0-1.
Kilkerrin/Clonberne – A Morrissey 1-1, L Ward 1-0, A Clarke 1-0, O Divily 0-1f, C Dunleavy 0-1, C Miskell 0-1.
Carnacon – M Higgins; S McGing, M Carter, S Larkin; E Cosgrave, M Corbett, S Walsh; M McGing, B Bruton; L Dowling, A Dowling, F McHale; A Brennan, C Staunton, E Flannery.
Subs used – N Flannery for E Flannery (39)
Kilkerrin/Clonberne – L Murphy, A Costello, S Gormally, C Costello; S Fahy, L Gannon, H Noone; S Divilly, C Miskell; L Noone, L Ward, O Divilly; E Noone, A Clarke, A Morrissey.
Subs used – K Mee for E Noone (30), C Dunleavy for Morrissey (45), C Boyle for L Noone (53)
Ref: G Carmody (Roscommon).