Mourneabbey 2-18 Ballymacarbry 4-8
MOURNEABBEY lifted the Munster senior ladies football title yet again after a tremendous battle with Ballymacarbry at Bansha yesterday.
The Cork side made it six in-a-row and are now one step closer to retaining their All-Ireland title, with a home semi-final to come in two weeks.
From start to finish this was a superb game and it could have gone either way right up until the final 10 minutes.
Then the experience of playing in big games showed with the likes of Ciara and Doireann O'Sullivan and Noelle Healy leading by example.
Ciara was in superb form all through for her side and ended up scoring 2-6, scoring the two goals at vital stages in the first-half when they needed them.
Ballymacarbry got off to a great start with Aileen Wall opening the scoring in the second minute.
They kept pushing forward and a great run from Lauren Guiry saw them get their opening goal, to make it 1-1 to no score.
But Mourneabbey responded with a brilliant move, started and finished by Ciara for their opening goal.
From the re-start Ballymacarbry worked the ball down the pitch and it took a great block from Roisin O'Sullivan to deny Kelly Ann Hogan a certain goal.
Noelle Healy added a point as the Cork side enjoyed their best spell of the first-half.
Two from Ciara along with one from Brid O'Sullivan made it 1-4 to 1-1.
Michelle Ryan pointed for Ballymacarbry, but another brilliant move, again started and finished by Ciara made it 2-4 to 1-2.
Credit to Ballymacarbry they didn't panic and got their second goal with Wall finding the back of the net. Ryan added a point to put only one between them, 2-4 to 2-3.
Laura Fitzgerald added a point for Mourneabbey, with Wall replying for her side.
With 25 minutes gone Doireann was sin-binned for a tackle on Wall, with the latter pointing from the re-start to make it a one point game again.
But the Cork side finished the half strongly, with points from Ciara and Fitzgerald to lead 2-7 to 2-4 at half-time.
Ballymacarbry got off to the perfect start to the second-half when Ryan got their third goal and she added a point to help them lead 3-6 to 2-8, after 35 minutes.
Fitzgerald and Hogan exchanged scores, before McGregor got Ballymacarbry fourth goal, with 42 minutes gone, to put her side three points clear, 4-7 to 2-10.
But the champions didn't panic and three in-a-row from Doireann had the sides level, before another from her and one from Healy turned the game in their favour.
Fitzgerald and Doireann were on target again and fittingly Ciara got the last score of the game to see them retain their title and advance to the All-Ireland semi-final in two weeks time at home.
Scorers for Mourneabbey: C O'Sullivan 2-6, D O'Sullivan 0-5 (0-2 f), L Fitzgerald 0-4 (0-1 f), N Healy 0-2, B O'Sullivan 0-1.
Ballymacarbry: M Ryan 1-3, A Wall 1-2, L Guiry, L McGregor 1-0 each, S Kenrick 0-2, K A Hogan 0-1.
MOURNEABBEY: M O’Sullivan; A O’Sullivan, E Meaney, S Conroy; K Coakley, R O’Sullivan, A Ryan; M O’Callaghan, N O’Sullivan; C O’Sullivan, B O’Sullivan, N Healy; L Fitzgerald, D O’Sullivan, S O’Callaghan.
Subs: E Harrington for A Ryan (h-t), E Jack for N O'Sullivan (41), A Cronin for S O'Callaghan (50).
BALLYMACARBRY: L Fitzpatrick; T McGrath, M McGrath, M Ryan; M Wall, K McGrath, L Mulcahy; S Ryan, L Ryan; A Wall, K.A. Hogan, A Dalton; S Kenrick, M Ryan, L Guiry.
Subs: L McGregor for L Guiry (38), B McMaugh for A Dalton (41), B Valuntaite for L Ryan (60).
Referee: Seamus Mulvihill (Kerry).