Cork are out of the TG4 All-Ireland ladies football championship after their loss to Mayo at Cusack Park, Ennis.
This was always going to be a tough tie and it proved to be as it was tight all through as Cork found it difficult to get out of their own defence at times with the pressure Mayo were putting them under. It was two uncharacteristic mistakes in their defence that led to the two crucial scores, the Mayo goals, that ultimately cost the Rebels in the end.
But overall they can’t be faulted for their efforts as they gave it their all to the bitter end, with the likes of Doireann O’Sullivan, Aisling Hutchings and Libby Coppinger leading by example. But for now, the wait for another All-Ireland title goes on as they bow out and Mayo move on to next week’s semi-final.
There was some confusion around the time-keeping with a lot of people having 3-4 minutes to go when the referee blew the final whistle, but that’s not an excuse as the better side won on the day.
Two minutes in Mayo took the lead when Sinead Walsh scored as the Connacht side were enjoying the better of the early exchanges.
Shauna Howley raised their second white flag as Cork were finding it difficult to get out of their own half. Mayo kept up the early pressure and Kathryn O’Sullivan made it 0-3 to no score before Cork got off the mark.
The O’Sullivan sisters combined, with Ciara setting up Doireann to split the posts, before Mayo made it a three point game again with Howley pointing another free.
Tamara O’Connor got in on the scoring act as Mayo kept up the pressure on the Cork kick-outs.
Doireann O’Sullivan raised Cork’s second white flag, from a free, but Mayo were in control at this stage and got the game’s opening goal in the 10th minute.
Ciara Whyte’s pass split the Cork defence as she played Walsh in who found the bottom corner, to make it 1-5 to 0-2.
But Cork responded as they began to settle with points from Doireann O’Sullivan and Orla Finn, before they had their first goal chance.
A mistake by the Mayo defence saw Emma Cleary pick up the ball but her effort went just over the bar when it could as easily have gone under.
Doireann O’Sullivan got her third as the frantic pace saw Mayo lead 1-6 to 0-6, with 15 minutes gone. Libby Coppinger made it a two point game, A magnificent point from distance from Doireann O’Sullivan put only one between the sides.
Lisa Cafferky replied for Mayo with Melissa Duggan responding to make it 1-7 to 0-9, with five minutes to half-time.
Ciara and Doireann O’Sullivan both pointed for Cork as they led by a point at the break, despite Mayo playing the better football in the first-half as it was 0-11 to 1-7 at the break.
The second-half saw the return of Hannah Looney to the Cork side after her return from America where she had been working for the past year or so. Finn increased Cork’s lead before they had a let-off when Walsh hit the post when she should have scored. Howley replied from a placed ball for Mayo and she had the sides level, from another placed ball in the 36th minute.
Scores from O’Connor and Tara Needham put Mayo back in front before the decisive score came. A mistake from a Cork kick-out saw Lisa Cafferky pick up the ball to score to make it 2-12 to 0-13.
Cork hit back with points from Doireann and Ciara O’Sullivan to put three between the sides with 10 minutes to go, 2-12 to 0-15.
Mayo were down to 14 when Ciara Whyte was sin-binned but it mattered little as Sarah Mulvihill rounded off the scoring to see the Connacht side advance.
L Cafferky, S Walsh 1-1 each, S Howley 0-6 (3f), T O’Connor 0-2, K Sullivan, T Needham, S Mulvihill 0-1 each.
D O’Sullivan 0-8 (5f), C O’Sullivan, O Finn 0-2 each, E Cleary, L Coppinger, E Scally, A O’Sullivan, M Duggan 0-1 each.
M O’Sullivan; R Phelan, E Meaney, A Hutchings; M Duggan, M O’Callaghan, M Ambrose; S Leahy, B O’Sullivan; E Cleary, C O’Sullivan, L Coppinger; R Leahy, D O’Sullivan, O Finn.
H Looney for S Leahy (ht), A O’Sullivan for B O’Sullivan (38), E Scally for R Leahy (43), M Cahalane for M Ambrose (47).
A Tarpey; E Ronayne, R Flynn, D Caldwell; T O’Connor, F McHale, K Sullivan; S Cafferky, A Geraghty; S Howley, S Walsh, S Mulvihill; L Cafferky, C Whyte, T Needham.
C Needham for S Walsh (43), E Murray for L Cafferky (52), L Wallace for K Sullivan (57), S El Massy for E Ronayne (58).
Seamus Mulvihill, Kerry.