Kildare will compete in the TG4 All-Ireland ladies senior football championship in 2024 after capping a breakthrough year with the intermediate title at Croke Park.

First-half goals from Trina Duggan and Ellen Dowling ultimately propelled Diane O'Hora's side to a landmark win though they were made to battle all the way.

Leading by double scores - 2-10 to 0-08 - with just 10 minutes remaining, Kildare winced as their advantage was cut to just one by a resurgent Clare. Late goals from Fidelma Marrinan and Chloe Moloney hauled the Banner right back but time simply ran out on their brave bid for a fourth title.

There was some victory in defeat at least for Marrinan who finished with 1-05, leaving her as the winner of the ZuCar Golden Boot award which covers all three ladies grades.

Roisin Byrne starred for Kildare with 0-07 and took the Player of the Match award while Neasa Dooley and Claire Sullivan stood out in attack too.

Roisin Byrne contributed 0-07 of Kildare's total at Croke Park

The win caps a brilliant year for Kildare who were previously promoted to Division 2 of the National League, also at Clare's expense, and won the Leinster intermediate title.

A tight game was always likely because when the sides met in that Division 3 league final back in mid-April, extra-time was required. Kildare eventually won the marathon encounter by a point having previously overcome the Banner by just two points in their group.

Kildare entered the final as favourites and, after a shaky start and the concession of two points which were both scored by Marrinan, began to impose their authority.

Byrne struck 10 points for Kildare in that Division 3 league final and was closely tracked this time by Clare full-back Siofra Ni Chonaill. But Byrne still got away for two first-half points from play and the Sarsfields talent added three more frees in the opening 30 minutes.

Duggan's 11th minute goal put Kildare into a lead they would hold onto for the rest of the game.

Dooley can take plenty of credit for a terrific diagonal ball into the left channel which left Duggan in a one v one though she still had to cut back onto her right foot before dispatching to the net.

Byrne and Lara Gilbert added points before Dowling struck Kildare's second goal in the 20th minute.

It was a disaster from Clare's perspective as goalkeeper Amy Lenihan attempted to take a short kick-out to captain Caoimhe Harvey but Dowling cleverly intercepted and kicked left-footed back into an unguarded net.

Chloe Moloney's goal brought the Banner right back into the game

Sullivan was influential throughout for Kildare and won two frees that Byrne converted while captain Grace Clifford linked up the play and distributed efficiently around midfield. Clare survived on scraps and didn't score from play in the opening half. Marrinan, curiously wearing one orange boot and one white one, struck three points from frees in that period.

The third quarter was split evenly between the teams in scoring terms, 0-02 each, and ended on a low note with Kildare defender Lauren Burke suffering a serious knee injury. She was lifted off the field and returned in a wheelchair after full-time with a heavily bandaged right knee to take part in the celebrations.

Kildare were mightily relieved to still be leading at full-time after that remarkable Clare comeback.

Marrinan's 51st minute goal, when she converted from close range after a high ball in from a Moloney free, gave Clare real hope.

Moloney then netted herself with four minutes remaining, redirecting the ball to the net with a clever punch after a long delivery wasn't dealt with by Kildare defender Gilbert.

Leading by a point, Kildare were in danger of letting victory slip through their fingers but held on for a hugely significant win.

Kildare: Mary Hulgraine; Lauren Burke, Ruth Sargent, Aoife Clifford; Lauren Murtagh, Laoise Lenehan, Lara Gilbert (0-01); Grace Clifford, Aoife Rattigan; Claire Sullivan, Ellen Dowling (1-01), Trina Duggan (1-00); Neasa Dooley (0-02), Roisin Byrne (0-07, 0-05f), Lara Curran.

Subs: Grainne Kenneally for Duggan 41, Mia Doherty for Rattigan 45, Fiona Troute for Burke 45, Orlaith Sullivan for Curran 51.

Clare: Amy Lenihan; Grainne Harvey, Siofra Ni Chonaill, Aine Keane; Orla Devitt, Coaimhe Harvey, Louise Griffin; Aisling Reidy, Chloe Moloney (1-03, 0-03f); Laurie Ryan, Fidelma Marrinan (1-05, 0-05f), Amy Sexton; Laura Griffey, Cliondhna Blake (0-02), Caoimhe Cahill.

Subs: Megan Downes for Griffin 12, Ciara McCarthy for Griffey 38, Roisin Looney for Cahill 44, Sinead Considine for Sexton 48, Joanna Doohan for Devitt 56.

Referee: Gus Chapman (Sligo).