Éire Óg 2-9 St Val's 1-10
A LATE goal two minutes from full time by Orlaith Cahalane paved the way for Éire Óg to see off a resilient St Val's in a thrilling Ladies Senior Football championship quarter final at Carrigadrohid on Saturday.
In truth, St Val's departed the mid-Cork venue wondering how they managed to lose a game they dominated for long periods. Credit to the winners though, when the game looked to be going away from them, they found a way to win.
St Val's went into this game as underdogs, but they showed great composure in the opening two minutes with two classy points from Nicola Dennehy and Ciara McCarthy.
After a slow start Éire Óg responded in the sixth minute when Laura Cleary kicked a monstrous point but credit to Val’s they replied with two unanswered points.
Éire Óg looked rattled with the high press of their opponents that curtailed their possession. When they did break the shackles they kicked three consecutive wides as they trailed 0-4 to 0-1 in the 17th minute.
When McCarthy kicked her third point from a free a minute later the referee Denis Hickey blew for the water break much to the relief of the Éire Óg players who looked to be on the ropes.
The stoppage can sometimes upset the rhythm of the dominating team in games and that was certainly the case in this game.
Éire Óg, after going 20 minutes without a score, raised consecutive white flags from Laura and Emma Cleary. Orla Cahalane was close to scoring too, but after getting behind Val’s defence but her shot went inches wides of the left post.
Emma Cleary showed her class in the final minute with a terrific point that reduced the deficit to the minimum at the break 0-5 to 0-4.
On the restart Bernie Cronin nailed a fabulous point for Val's but consecutive Emma Cleary points tied the game in the 33rd minute.
Val's were now playing with the aid of a stiff breeze and Sadbh McGoldrick edged them ahead on the next possession.
The pendulum had now swung in Val's direction and they exposed sloppy defending with a stunning goal in the 43rd minute.
A good move from defence was started by the former Cork stalwart Bríd Stack and when the ball fell into the path of Joanne Down she had found the back of the net with sheer precision.
When Ciara McCarthy kicked over her fourth point three minutes later they increased their lead to four points and once again came the dreaded water break.
On the restart, the West Muskerry outfit should have kept possession better but they turned the ball on numerous occasions when in good positions going forward.
The Val's defence were punished in the 48th minute when Breda Feeney was on hand to guide the ball to net after it had come off the crossbar.
A minute later they were punished again when Orlaith Cahalane scored the killer goal that broke the hearts of the gallant Val's.
In the end Éire Óg kept possession in a sensible fashion as they can now prepare for a semi-final clash against the champions Mourneabbey.
Credit to St Val's they gave their all over the hour but when they had the opportunity to get over the line, they fell short despite a terrific effort from start to finish.
Scorers for Éire Óg: E Cleary 0-5 (0-3 f), B Feeney 1-0, O Cahalane 1-0, L Cleary 0-2, S McGoldrick, C O’Connor 0-1 each.
St Val's: C McCarthy 0-4 (0-2 f), J Down 1-1, B Cronin 0-3, N Dennehy, L Buttimer 0-1 each.
ÉIRE ÓG: L Crowley; A Hickey, A O’Connell, H Hickey; A Nic A Bhaird, M Cahalane, S McGoldrick; I Sheehan, B Falvey; E Crowley, L Cleary, C O’Connor; O Cahalane, E Cleary, S Cronin.
Sub: G Collins for B Feeney (57).
St VAL'S: C Love; C Ambrose, B Stack, M Cotter; E O’Shea, S Cotter, A Corkery; A Kelleher, C McCarthy; B Cronin, M Corkery, L Buttimer; N Dennehy, C Hughes, J Down.
Sub: M Stack for J Down (55).
Referee: Denis Hickey (Millstreet).