Meath cruise into last four
For the second season in succession Meath handed Clare a comprehensive thumping as they followed up last year's Ladies All-Ireland IFC semi-final win with a convincing 4-18 to 0-5 NFL Div 2 victory over the Banner at Pairc Tailteann today.
Last year the margin of Meath's victory was 21 points and today it was 25 as Eamonn Murray's side advanced to the semi-finals where they will face Cavan next weekend.
A good start proved to be more than half the battle for Meath as they were almost out of sight inside four minutes as points from Niamh O'Sullivan (two), Emma Duggan, Stacey Grimes, Orlagh Lally and Aoibheann Leahy had them 0-6 to 0-0 ahead.
Clare were stunned and with Lally, Grimes (free) and Duggan all adding to their tallies the Munster girls were nine points adrift before Roisin Considine finally opened her side's account with the last kick before the first water break.
Meath were mesmerising in that opening spell. Their pace, power and panache was too much for Clare to handle and while the scoring rate slowed after that whirlwind start, Meath were no less dominant.
The sweeping attacking style ensured many magnificent scores and when play resumed it was O'Sullivan who stretched Meath's lead to 0-10 to 0-1.Two pointed frees from Grimes either side of another outstanding score from Duggan extended Meath's lead to 12 points and despite Roisin Looney's point Meath still held a comfortable 0-13 to 0-2 interval advantage.
The only negative from that devastating first-half display was an injury picked up by Vikki Wall, but Meath never missed a beat and dominated throughout.
Clare's best spell came immediately after the restart and they were unlucky not to find the net when Fidelma Marrinan rattled the crossbar with a stinging drive, but after taking six minutes to find their range in the second-half Meath got going again with Leahy on target.
Grimes (free) and Aoibhin Cleary stretched that lead to 0-16 to 0-2 before a brilliant pass from Duggan picked out Grimes who sold Michaela Glynn a dummy and fired to the net.
Another pointed free from Grimes was followed by Meath's second goal when Megan Thynne picked out Emma White with a sublime pass and the St Patrick's player made no mistake to make it 2-17 to 0-2.
Seconds later Grimes produced an audacious lob from a narrow angle to bag a third goal and before the second water break White clipped over another point to make it 3-18 to 0-2.
Considine ended Clare's long barren spell with the first score when play resumed and as both sides emptied their benches it was Bridgetta Lynch who bagged Meath's fourth goal when she followed up Meadhbh Byrne's point attempt that was parried by Glynn and palmed to the net.
Chloe Maloney closed Clare's account with two frees in injury-time and Meath could even afford the luxury of a missed penalty as Glynn made a magnificent save to deny White from the spot.
It was all over long before the end, not long after the start in fact, as Meath marched onto next weekend's semi-final.
Meath - Stacey Grimes 2-6 five frees; Emma White 1-1; Niamh O'Sullivan 0-3; Emma Duggan 0-3; Bridgetta Lynch 1-0; Orlagh Lally 0-2; Aoibheann Leahy 0-2; Aoibhin Cleary 0-1;
Clare - Roisin Considine 0-2; Chloe Maloney 0-2 frees; Roisin Looney 0-1.
Meath - Monica McGuirk; Emma Troy, Mary Kate Lynch, Katie Newe; Orlagh Lally, Aoibhin Cleary, Shauna Ennis; Emma Duggan, Maire O'Shaughnessy; Vikki Wall, Stacey Grimes, Niamh O'Sullivan; Orla Byrne, Aoibheann Leahy, Bridgetta Lynch. Subs - Emma White for Wall 25 mins, Megan Thynne for Lally 33m, Niamh Gallogly for Cleary 42m, Meadhbh Byrne for O'Sullivan, Shelly Melia for Duggan both 49m, Aine Sheridan for Troy 51m, Aoife Farrell for Newe 52m, Aisling McCabe for O'Shaughnessy, Kate Byrne for O Byrne, Megan Peters for Leahy, Olivia Gore for MK Lynch all 56m, Ali Sherlock for Grimes, Caragh Monaghan for B Lynch both 58m, Elaine Dpoyle for Ennis 59m.
Clare - Michaela Glynn; Ellie O'Gorman, Siofra Ni Conaill, Orla Devitt; Caoimhe Harvey, Tara Kelly, Roisin Considine; Aisling Reidy, Roisin Looney; Laura Griffey, Lauren Griffen, Lizzy Roche; Fidelma Marrinan, Cliona Blake, Sinead Considine. Subs - Chloe Maloney for Considine, Catriona Callinan for Griffey both half-time, Ciara McCarthy for Blake 42mins, Rebecca Doohan for Griffen 48m, Aine Keane for Marrinan 51m, Sinead O'Keeffe for Roche, Carol O'Leary for Kelly, Chloe Towey for Harvey all 52m, Eimear Keane for S Considine, Joanna Doohan for Looney 56m.
Referee - Kevin Phelan (Laois).