Cork defeated Monaghan by 1-10 to 1-9 in the TG4 All Ireland Ladies Football Senior Championship Final on Sunday September 29th at Croke Park.
TG4 All-Ireland Ladies SFC final
Cork 1-10 Monaghan 1-9
By Jackie Cahill at Croke Park
EAMONN Ryan’s Cork are TG4 All-Ireland Ladies senior football champions for the eighth time in nine seasons. The Rebelettes completed the three-in-a-row with a gripping one-point victory over Monaghan in Sunday afternoon’s decider at Croke Park.
In front of 25,103 spectators, Cork ensured that it was final heartbreak for Monaghan for the third time in six seasons. And like it was in 2008 and 2011, it was Cork once again who ensured that Monaghan’s long wait for their first senior title since 1997 continues. With three minutes remaining, Valerie Mulcahy kicked the winning score with a nerveless free.
Monaghan had a chance to salvage a draw but her Catriona McConnell’s free, which was the last kick of the game, sailed wide into the teeth of a strong breeze from some 40 metres out. In truth, Cork could have made life easier for themselves but the winners registered eight second half wides. Monaghan also suffered a blow with 12 minutes remaining when Eileen McKenna was sinbinned. The Ulster champions were left a player light as a result and Cork were coming on strong.
And yet the Farney county edged ahead with eight minutes remaining when McConnell landed a free, before inspirational midfielder Juliet Murphy, who performed a retirement U-turn earlier in the season, banged over an inspirational equaliser from long range. The scene was set for a grandstand finish and Mulcahy held her nerve to convert what turned out to be the winner, as McConnell and her teammates were left heartbroken at the death.
And so Cork were left to celebrate yet another All-Ireland title, to cement a remarkable period of dominance. The second half was an edgy, scrappy affair at times as both sides struggled for scores. Monaghan, who trailed by 0-6 to 1-6 at half-time, received a major boost when goalkeeper Linda Martin converted a 33rdminute penalty, following Briege Corkery’s foul on Cora Courtney. And Monaghan moved two points clear – 1-8 to 1-6 – when Laura McEnaney, daughter of selector Seamus, kicked a point.
That completed a spirited Monaghan revival, as they had trailed by five points – 0-3 to 1-5 – in the first half. Goal machine Valerie Mulcahy grabbed Cork’s goal in the 14th minute, taking a pass from Doireann O’Sullivan before finishing coolly from close range. But Monaghan had a chance themselves eight minutes before half-time, with McConnell denied by recalled Cork goalkeeper Elaine Harte’s fine stop. In the second half, Cork had the ball in the net but Orlagh Farmer’s handpassed goal was disallowed as it sailed straight into the net, seconds after Doireann O’Sullivan had sent a shot against the crossbar.
Scorers for Cork: V Mulcahy 1-4 (0-4f), J Murphy & N Cleary 0-2 each, G O’Flynn & Annie Walsh 0-1 each.
Scorers for Monaghan: C McConnell 0-4f, L Martin 1-0 (pen), C Mohan 0-2, L McEnaney, T McNally & C McAnespie 0-1 each.
CORK: E Harte; A.M. Walsh, Angela Walsh, B Stack; B Corkery, R Buckley, G O’Flynn; D O’Reilly, J Murphy; N Cleary, Annie Walsh, D O’Sullivan; C O’Sullivan, V Mulcahy, R Ní Bhuachalla.
Subs: O Farmer for Ní Bhuachalla (h.t.), O Finn for Annie Walsh (49), R Ní Bhuachalla for Farmer (52), A Barrett for A.M. Walsh (60),
MONAGHAN: L Martin; G McNally, S Courtney, C Reilly; L McEnaney, E McCarron, A McAnespie; A Casey, Y Connell; T McNally, C Mohan, C Courtney; C McConnell, E McKenna, C McAnespie.
Subs: E McElroy for A McAnespie (h.t.), N Kindlon for Mohan (56),
Referee: J Niland (Sligo)
CORK (SLF v Monaghan): E Harte; AM Walsh, B Stack, D O’Reilly; B Corkery, R Buckley, G O’Flynn; J Murphy, Angela Walsh; N Cleary, D O’Sullivan, Annie Walsh; V Mulcahy, R Ní Bhuachalla, C O’Sullivan.
MONAGHAN (SLF v Cork): L Martin; G McNally, S Courtney, C Reilly; L McEnaney, E McCarron, A McAnespie; A Casey, Y Connell; T McNally, C Mohan, C Courtney; C McConnell, E McKenna, C McAnespie.
TG4 All-Ireland ladies senior football championship final
Cork v Monaghan – Croke Park, Dublin – 4.00pm.
By Jackie Cahill
FOR the third time in six seasons, Cork and Monaghan clash in the TG4 All-Ireland ladies senior football championship final. All-conquering Cork, the holders, are going for their eighth title in nine seasons while the Brendan Martin Cup has not visited Monaghan since 1997. Monaghan have lost all four finals they have contested since then but this is their best chance to end that run.
Under manager Gregory McGonigle, the Ulster champions have been knocking on the door in recent seasons and it really is now or never for them. Monaghan possess the pace and firepower to really trouble Cork, who are chasing a third successive All-Ireland, but they will find it difficult to penetrate a half-back line brilliantly anchored by Geraldine O’Flynn and Briege Corkery.
Monaghan had to work hard for their five-point victory over Galway in the semi-finals and while they looked comfortable throughout, Cork won’t have been unduly worried by the Farney County’s display.
The Rebelettes took care of business against Kerry, who had beaten them twice in the Munster championship, and look to have rediscovered something like their best form in their last two outings. But Monaghan will take heart from the fact that Kerry were good enough to expose Cork not once, but twice. And McGonigle’s girls simply cannot afford to lose another All-Ireland final, with Seamus ‘Banty’ McEnaney performing an influential role in the backroom team.
Betting: Cork 8-11 Draw 9-1 Monaghan 13-10
Interview with Cork’s Elaine Harte
While Juliet Murphy’s retirement, and subsequent return to action, took most of the Cork ladies’ football headlines during the summer, it almost went unnoticed that another of the Rebels’ stalwarts was also considering an exit.
Goalkeeper Elaine Harte – a substitute teacher – took an extended break to Australia when the school holidays came around, intending for it to ease herself into retirement, but Murphy coming back made her rethink. “I’m at the age where I was thinking about retiring,” she says, “and I said I’d throw a holiday in there so I’d definitely retire but it hasn’t quite worked out like that. “I was being kept updated and when I came back Jules was there. She’s is inspirational, even just her drive and the way she drives everyone else on, it gives everyone a boost, even just watching her in training.”
Cork are aiming for a eighth All-Ireland in nine years against Monaghan in Sunday’s TG4 All-Ireland senior final. Harte, who has played in the previous seven wins, has regained her place in goal from Martina O’Brien, but she is keen to keep the focus forward rather than backwards. “We’re not going to concentrate on the record,” she says. “Every match has its own merits, every All-Ireland is different, we’ll focus on this one. “Yesterday’s dinner won’t feed you today and any of our previous finals won’t help us on Sunday!”
Having lost twice to Kerry in the Munster championship, Cork looked beaten against Dublin in the All-Ireland quarter-final before a late surge gave them victory. The Kingdom were seen off in the last four after that and Harte cites the win over the Dubs as the year’s turning point. “It has stood to us,” she says, “we’ve built up our confidence from that game.
“It just showed the heart on the team, the girls were excellent, what won us that game was that we didn’t panic, we went for points. “The three points before the goal really won us the match and we didn’t go for goals. That’s experience, it was similar to the Dublin game two years ago and also the Mayo match in 2005, our first final. Again, we didn’t panic.”
That level of resolve is indicative of just how good a team Cork are. The obituaries had been written after the Kerry defeats, but Harte says that, like in 2010 after they were beaten by Tyrone in the All-Ireland quarter-final, it only drove them on. “When we met them a third time that was a factor, we didn’t want to lose to them a third time in the one year. “The will to come back in play in Croke Park was still very strong,especially this year as it’s the celebration of the association’s 40th year, it’s a special year.
“It’s the love of the game, we really enjoy training, we really enjoy the game and we’re really good friends. You’re doing it for each other. “When we lost people were saying, ‘That’s it, ye’re gone, ye’re done with’, and I think we kind of fed off that. We’re kind of stubborn!”
Monaghan Manager Interview
Monaghan ladies’ football manager Gregory McGonigle made an astute addition to his team during the summer.
Former county Gaelic football manager Séamus McEnaney joined as a selector for the Farney County, as McGonigle – who runs a nightclub in Monaghan town for McEnaney – displayed persistence to get him to come on board.
“I would have tried to get him on board earlier this year around January/February time,” McGonigle said, “but he said that he had wanted a full year off after the Meath job ended. On July 1 then I rang him and said, ‘As far as I’m aware your 12 months are up!’
“It was good timing, I only started working for him in February, he got to know my character and I got to know his and we got to think that it could work.
“Séamus is a selector, the same as Mickey [Morgan], and I’m manager but as far as I see it the three of us have an equal say.
“He has had a massive influence on the girls and on us as a management team too.”
In Sunday’s All-Ireland senior final, Monaghan come up against Cork, who beat them in the 2011 decider. McGonigle, then in his first year in charge, is to the point when asked what he would have done differently.
“Well we didn’t win, so that would be the first thing!” he laughed.
“Basically it’s up to each to see if she can make a positive contribution, can you make an extra run, can you make an extra pass, can you make an extra block?
“It can come down to a simple thing and you’re always looking for that extra percentage. As a management team, we’ve maybe tried to remove them from the hype, I think they’re a bit more grounded than in 2011.”
Though Cork beat Monaghan at the semi-final stage last year, it was after the Ulster side had beaten the Rebels to claim the league title. McGonigle doesn’t believe that Monaghan lack the mentality to overcome the reigning All-Ireland champions but knows how tough a challenge awaits.
“I think everybody might that psychological block!” he said.
“They’re a great team, you’ve got to them credit, they’re going for eight out of nine All-Ireland wins.
“Since the early days of ladies’ football, the speed and skill has improved an awful lot, to me that just shows how phenomenal Cork are.”