All-Ireland Minor A Ladies Football Final – Cork 5-15 Dublin 4-11

All-Ireland minor A ladies football final

Cork 5-15 Dublin 4-11

By Jackie Cahill in Birr….

CORK were crowned All-Ireland minor A ladies football champions in Birr this afternoon after scoring a thrilling seven-point victory over Dublin. Tara Maguire scored a hat-trick of goals for the Rebelettes, who recovered from a sluggish start to win the minor crown for the first time since 2007, and seventh in all. It was a quite brilliant game at the Offaly venue and Cork were worthy winners in a tie pockmarked by nine goals.

Maguire may have top-scored for the Leesiders but Emma Farmer received the player of the match award on the back of a quite brilliant performance. Farmer, wearing number 14, was superb at midfield and centre forward as her hard-running caused endless problems for the Dublin defence. The Aghada star finished with five points from play and helped to drag Cork back into contention after they fell 0-0 to 1-2 behind with just nine minutes on the clock.

Dublin were rampant in the early exchanges and goaled in the third minute when Aisling King netted a stunning effort. Four minutes later, the Jackies had the chance to bag a second goal but Lauren Ebbs struck the base of the post from a penalty, with Aoife Gallagher lashing the rebound against the woodwork. Cork finally got off the mark in the eleventh minute when Elaine Scally, who scored 1-3, pointed but Ebbs atoned for her earlier penalty miss with an 18th minute goal, tapping the ball into an empty net. Dublin were five points clear, 2-4 to 0-5, approaching half-time before the pendulum swung dramatically in Cork’s favour.

Dublin corner back Leah Caffrey couldn’t keep out Brid O’Sullivan’s 28th minute goal for Cork before the Sky Blues struck goal again on the half hour when Aoife Gallagher lashed home a magnificent strike. But Cork’s response before half-time was magnificent as an unanswered 2-1 established a 3-6 to 3-5 interval lead. Maguire scored both of those Cork goals and the Rosscarbery corner forward completed her hat-trick within a minute of the restart as the Munster champions moved 4-7 to 3-5 clear.

Cork were relatively comfortable from there until the final whistle but approaching the finish, a goal from Dublin sub Shauna Garvin and the impressive Killeen’s fourth point from play brought the metropolitans to within two, 4-10 to 4-12. But in the 60th minute of actual playing time, Scally killed off dogged Dublin resistance with Cork’s fifth goal and there was still time for Cork goalkeeper Lisa Crowley to deny Killeen and Ebbs with a breathtaking late double save.

Scorers for Cork: T Maguire 3-1, E Scally 1-3, E Farmer 0-5, K O’Dea 0-5 (3f), B O’Sullivan 1-0, J O’Shea 0-1.

Scorers for Dublin: A Gallagher & L Ebbs 1-1 each, S Killeen 0-4, S Woods 0-4 (2f), A King & S Garvin 1-0 each, C Ruddy 0-1.

CORK: L Crowley; A Barry, E Coakley, G O’Sullivan; S Kelly, J Barry, R Phelan; E Farmer, J O’Shea; K O’Dea, B O’Sullivan, A Allen; E Scally, A Cott, T Maguire.

Subs: M Dineen for Barry (36), F Neville for Cott (53), A O’Driscoll for Phelan (60+2).

DUBLIN: A Gillen; L Caffrey, E Keatley, C King; G Barrett, J Ward, A Nolan; O Smart, E McDonagh; E McGrath, S Killeen, A King; S Woods, A Gallagher, L Ebbs.

Subs: A Caffrey for King (h.t.), S McCaffrey for McDonagh (37), D Murphy for L Caffrey (42), S Garvin for McGrath (48), C Ruddy for Gallagher (57).

Referee: J Niland (Sligo)