IT was a long time coming, but definitely worth the wait for Louise Henchy who has soldiered for the Banner Ladies cause for more years that she probably cares to remember.
The day that the club finally scaled the heights of Mount Munster and brought provincial honours at A level back to Clare.
“The leader of the club,” says manager Joe Reidy when explaining away Henchy’s contribution to the club as they rose through the ranks of Clare, and now Munster.
“It’s brilliant to finally get there,” she says. “We felt we had a great chance coming down and we got off to a great start, but when they drew level near the end everyone was kind of out on their feet.
“There were a few pulling up with cramp and it was hard to see where we’d get the score from because they were putting everyone behind the ball,” she adds.
But the score came with Katie Cahill becoming the heroine of the hour with her match-winning point at the death, with Henchy pointing out that it was a case of the right person and the right time being on hand to land the crucial score.
“We have four or five left footed players on the team – if it had fallen to a right footed player we probably wouldn’t have got that point, but Katie is left footed and she slotted it over. We were all looking at the umpire to see if he was going to reach for the white flag – it was a very tight angle.”
The Banner Ladies journey to Munster glory started back in 2008 when they landed their first ever Clare senior title, with Henchy pointing to the infusion of youth in recent years as the catalyst for their greatest day.
“We were anxious to make the step up this year in the A competition, but it’s not very easy against Cork teams,” she says.
“We have a young team coming up with the last few years and there’s great potential there, but once you leave the county it’s difficult to make the big breakthrough. It was great to get the win.
“A lot people in our own county were asking questions about us. We’d won Clare five out of the last six years and there was a bit of pressure mounting the last year or two to be successful outside the county.
“These young girls who joined up with the panel in the last few years have come on with every year – they’ve got stronger and more confident and the best thing, just like the Clare hurlers this year, is that with youth they don’t fear any opposition.
“Myself and a few of the older girls might be saying the opposition ‘have this one and that one’, but names mean absolutely nothing to these young girls and it didn’t matter who they were up against,” she adds.

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Joe Ó Muircheartaigh graduated from University College Dublin in 1989 with a degree in history and politics. After completing a Diploma in Journalism at The College of Commerce, Rathmines in 1991, he embarked on a career in journalism. Joe spent four years with Clare FM from 1992 and was with The Clare Champion from 1996 to 2005. He has won two McNamee Awards for GAA journalism and has published two books. Contact Joe on [email protected]

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