Niamh O’Dea was the matchwinner for Clare as the Banner County stunned Kildare 3-17 to 1-22 in Saturday’s brilliant TG4 All-Ireland Ladies' SFC round 1 qualifier at Páirc Seán MacDiarmada in Carrick-on-Shannon.
O’Dea hauled Clare level at the end of normal time, and she added 1-01 in the second period of extra-time as Clare bounced back from the concession of 8-25 in their last championship outing against Kerry to score a gritty qualifier win.
Full-forward O’Dea finished with a haul of 2-07 from a remarkable game that saw Kildare finish with 14 players, after sub Ashling Savage was sent off early in extra-time.
There was still nothing to separate the teams at the end of the first period of extra-time, but O’Dea netted with five minutes remaining to put Clare in control.
Roisin Looney’s point put them three clear, but remarkably, Ashling Holton slammed home a sensational equalising goal for Kildare with two minutes left.
But there was still time for O’Dea to have the final say as she slotted over the winning point, before Holton dragged a shot wide as desperate Kildare chased another equaliser.
The sides finished level at the end of the regulation hour – 2-13 to 0-19.
Kildare were ahead at the break and led by four points – 0-19 to 2-9 – before Clare came storming back with four points without reply, including two from O’Dea, to take the game into extra-time.
But Kildare will rue a final tally of 16 wides – including nine during the first hour – and Stacy Cannon missed a glorious goal chance in the 50th minute.
Áine Gatley scored 0-08 for Kildare and captain Maria Moolick added 0-06, but it still wasn’t enough as Clare refused to yield.
Roisin Byrne made a big impact off the bench for Kildare in the second half, but Eimear Considine, subdued in the first half, finished with four points in total.
At half-time in normal time, Kildare led by 0-10 to 1-04 as Moolick and centre-forward Gately cut holes in the Clare defence with clever lines of running.
By half-time, the pair had scored four points each, with Ashling Holton and Siobhan Hurley also on target.
Clare’s sole scorer in that opening half was O’Dea, who notched 1-1 from play and three pointed frees.
It was Moolick who grabbed the opening score for Kildare in the first minute, but O’Dea responded with a fine goal in fifth minute, after taking a neat pass from Louise Henchy.
O’Dea tagged on a point and Clare were three points clear, but Kildare were quickly on terms with points from Gatley and Moolick (two).
Gately edged Kildare in front again only for O’Dea to respond and bring Clare level again at 1-02 to 0-05.
But with Gatley and Moolick pulling the strings, Kildare dominated the remainder of the half to establish a four-point lead at the midway point.
There was a moment of controversy, too, when Clare captain Marie Considine had what looked to be a point waved wide by the umpire.
Scorers for Clare: N O’Dea 2-7 (0-4f), E Considine 0-4, R Howley 1-0, R Looney & M Considine 0-2 each, N Keane & M Kelly 0-1 each.
Scorers for Kildare: A Gatley 0-8 (1f), M Moolick 0-6, A Holton 1-2, R Byrne 0-2, S Cannon, S Hurley, K Leahy & M McKenna 0-1 each.
CLARE: S Higgins; E O’Driscoll, L Kelly, L Ryan; M Foran, F Lafferty, K McCormack; M Considine, N Keane; R Howley, L Henchy, R Looney; E Considine, N O’Dea, M Kelly.
Subs: A O’Brien for McCormack (h.t.), K Connole for M Kelly (55), E Hillery for Ryan (60), M Kelly for Keane (64), N Keane for Connole (74).
KILDARE: A Hederman; A Lambe, K Lowry, P Keatley; A Herbert, D Berry, A Holton; M Moolick, L Keatley; B Leahy, A Gately, K Leahy; S Hurley, E Dillon, M McKenna.
Subs: A Savage for Herbert (21), R Byrne for Herbert (h.t.), S Cannon for K Leahy (40), O Gowran for Dillon (48), J Timmins for McKenna (60), for Savage (64), C Keoghan for L Keatley (73), T Duggan for B Leahy (75).
Referee: G Corrigan (Down)