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Tesco Homegrown National Ladies Football Division 1 Final – Cork 1-9 Dublin 2-4
Cork defeated Dublin by 1-9 to 2-4 in the Tesco Homegrown National Ladies Football Division 1 Final on Saturday May 10th at Parnell Park Dublin.
Cork ladies continued their winning run over Dublin and lifted their eighth Tesco Homegrown National Football League title in ten years at Parnell Park on Saturday. Dublin were desperate to get one over the Rebelettes, who had beaten them at the All-Ireland quarter-final stage in two of the last three years, and they led by four points early in the second half.
However Cork showed their resilience and battling qualities once again, scoring six points in a row to turn the game on its head with Dublin failing to score for 21 minutes. The Dublin girls hit six wides after the break, the most crucial being a poor effort from captain Sinead Goldrick when they trailed by a point with two minutes remaining. Cork, appearing in their seventh league final in a row compared to Dublin’s first, used all their experience to run the clock down and drew the free which Geraldine O’Reilly expertly converted with ten seconds remaining. There were the same number of goals scored as points in a low-scoring first half.
Lindsay Peat, who scored a hat-trick in the semi-final win over Monaghan, was back among the goals with two cracking finishes in the first half. There was good work down the stand side by Noelle Healy, who passed inside and Peat blasted the ball high to the far corner of the net for the opening goal after ten minutes.
Cork responded with a goal from Orlagh Farmer three minutes later with a low snapshot which flew past Cliodhna O’Connor in the Dublin goal.
Lyndsey Davey scored a long range point for Dublin and she then created Peat’s second goal, spinning brilliantly and running towards before unselfishly passing inside to Peat whose explosive finish left Martina O’Brien with no chance. All Star forward and expert free-taker Valerie Mulcahy was not named to start the game but she ended up as Cork’s top scorer with 0-5. Her only point from play came just before the break to leave her team trailing by just 2-1 to 1-2.
When Dublin opened up with two points in three minutes from Davey and Sinead Aherne to stretch their lead to four, it looked as though they would finally get a victory over the Rebelettes. Cork had other ideas, however, and three Mulcahy frees as well as points from Geraldine O’Flynn, Doireann O’Sullivan and substitute Deirdre O’Reilly from a narrow saw them turn the game around.
While the brilliant Carla Rowe won and carried a lot of ball, the Dublin forwards disappointed and could not win the ball. Aherne’s close-in free ended Dublin’s 21 minute scoring drought after 54 minutes to reduce the gap to a point. But Cork, who have lost some key players since last season, showed they still had the confidence to play the possession game with O’Flynn kicking the insurance point to break Dublin hearts again.
Scorers for Dublin – L Peat 2-0, L Davey 0-2, S Aherne 0-2 (2f)
Scorers for Cork – V Mulcahy 0-5 (4f), O Farmer 1-0, G O’Flynn 0-2 (1f), D O’Sullivan, D O’Reilly 0-1 each
DUBLIN: C O’Connor; S McGrath, S Furlong, R Ruddy; S Goldrick (capt), S Finnegan, C Rowe; D Masterson, S McCaffrey; S Woods, N McEvoy, N Healy; L Davey, S Aherne, L Peat
Subs: D Murphy for Woods (45), N Hyland for McEvoy (48), O Leonard for Masterson (55)
CORK: M O’Brien; R Phelan, Angela Walsh, B Stack; V Foley, Ann Marie Walsh, G O’Flynn; R Buckley, B Corkery (capt); Annie Walsh, C O’Sullivan, O Farmer; E Farmer, D O’Sullivan, V Mulcahy
Subs: D O’Reilly for Ann Marie Walsh (36), O Finn for O Farmer (40), E Scally for Annie Walsh (40), G Kearney for E Farmer (51), N Kelly for Foley (54)
REFEREE: J Niland (Sligo)
CORK: M O’Brien (Clonakilty); R Phelan (Aghada), A Walsh (Inch Rovers), B Stack (Liscarroll); V Foley (St. Val’s), AM Walsh (Inch Rovers), G O’Flynn (Lisacarroll); R Buckley (Donoughmore), B Corkery (C) (St. Val’s); A Walsh (Inch Rovers), C O’Sullivan (Mourneabbey), O Farmer (Midelton); E Farmer (Aghada), D O’Sullivan (Mourneabbey), O Finn (Kinsale)
Subs: J O’Sullivan (St Val’s), V Mulcahy (Rockbán), G Kearney (Bride Rovers), E Scally (Éire Óg), M Ambrose (St Val’s), N Kelly (Liscarroll), A Barrett (Donoughmore), J Barry (Bride Rovers), R O’Sullivan (Mourneabbey), D O’Reilly (Liscarroll), C Creedon (St Vals), J O’Shea (Inch Rovers), ÁT O’Sullivan (Beara), M O’Callaghan (Mourneabbey), E Scally (Éire Óg).
DUBLIN: C Trant (St Brigid’s); S McGrath (Thomas Davis), S Furlong (St. Brigid’s), R Ruddy (Ballyboden St. Enda’s); S Goldrick (C) (Foxrock Cabinteely), S Finnegan (Fingallians), C Rowe (Clann Mhuire); D Masterson (Naomh Mearnóg), S McCaffrey (Clontarf); S Woods (Raheny), N McEvoy (St Sylvester’s), N Healy (St Brigid’s); L Davey (Skerries Harps), S Aherne (St Sylvester’s), L Peat (Parnell’s)
Subs: C O’Connor (Naomh Mearnóg), N Hyland (Ballyboden St. Enda’s), D Murphy (St. Brigid’s), O Leonard (St Maur’s), L Caffrey (Na Fianna), N Collins (Foxrock Cabinteely), M Mohan (Clontarf), L Collins (Na Fianna), E McDonagh, (Foxrock Cabinteely), M Lambe (Kilmacud Crokes), N Owens (St Sylvester’s), O Carey (Thomas Davis), A Barrett (Clann Mhuire), C Barrett (St Brigid’s), E Merrigan (Parnells).
By Jackie Cahill
AT just 19 years of age, Cork star Doireann O’Sullivan already boasts a career CV that is the envy of many. The Mourneabbey player is a two-time TG4 All-Ireland senior medallist and a Munster senior championship winner from 2012. And next Saturday at Parnell Park, O’Sullivan is hoping to claim a second Tesco Homegrown Ladies National Football League Division 1 crown in three seasons.
But the 2014 campaign has been one of transition for Cork, following the retirements of goalkeeper Elaine Harte and ‘puppet-master’ midfielder Juliet Murphy. O’Sullivan’s abiding memory of O’Sullivan is from last year’s All-Ireland quarter-final – when Cork staged a staggering comeback from nine points down to win by four against Dublin.
O’Sullivan recalls: “We went in at half-time and we were in an ok place. “They (Dublin) came out all guns blazing and we weren’t ready for that at all. Down to Juliet, I think. “A few of were panicking on the ball, small things like getting passes wrong or fumbling the solo. “There was a break in play, one of the Dublin girls went down and she called the six forwards in and spoke to us. “She’s just an incredible leader on the field. She’s like a puppet-master – she pulls all the strings and someone to look up to when things are going bad.”
Cork have slowly adapted to life with Murphy and Harte to reach a seventh successive Division 1 final, despite losing to Kerry and Monaghan along the way. And O’Sullivan is “unsure” about the future of another eight-time All-Ireland senior medallist, Nollaig Cleary, who is contemplating her intercounty future.
O’Sullivan revealed: “Unsure – I think she’s making up her mind after the League. “She came back I think just before the semi-final of the League last year. “She got married there over Christmas so I’d say it’s taking her a bit longer this year! Hopefully she’ll be back.”
Harte, Cleary and Murphy were just three of the vastly experienced Cork stars who welcomed O’Sullivan into the fold with open arms. She explains: “This is my third year. 2012 was my first season. The girls are very humble – they welcomed me in. “I was only 17 and could probably tell that I was nervous. But they were really helpful, gave advice and them passing you the ball in the match is a big thing. “They obviously trust you as well – that’s important. The last couple of years, there’s a good balance between young and old.”
O’Sullivan adds: “When you lose your one of your midfielders and your goalie, it’s a lot to contend with but the everyone in general has pulled up their socks. “We have four minors on the panel and ten U21s pushing for places. We have 40 on the panel; we’ve had A v B matches and you might as well be playing Kerry or rivals like that. There’s a fierce intensity in training, which is good.”
O’Sullivan’s sisters Ciara and Roisin are also key members of the Cork squad.
Ciara has recovered not once but twice from cruciate knee ligament damage and played in the 2012 decider despite suffering injury in the semi-final victory over Monaghan. Doireann confirms: “She played the All-Ireland after doing the cruciate – gym twice a day with Declan O’Sullivan. She’s good now, injury-free fingers crossed but you’d still be worried about her regardless.”
In the League semi-final victory over Munster rivals Kerry, Ciara operated at centre forward, with Doireann occupying the full-forward position. The siblings are expected to occupy the same positions against Dublin on Saturday and Doireann has warned that the Sky Blues won’t let another big lead slip if they manage to establish it.
She said: “If we go down nine points at the weekend, we won’t get away with that. We have to get a good start. They have some good players like Lindsay Peat and Lyndsey Davey and we’ll have to mark a few of their forwards.”