THE CORK ladies footballers were crowned All-Ireland minor champions with a 12-point victory over Monaghan, in O’Connor Park, Tullamore.
This was a closer game than the score-line suggests, as Monaghan were in contention for large periods of the game, but Cork were always in control and played some excellent football throughout the match.
Katie Quirke was magnificent for the victors scoring 1-7 over the course of the game in what was a very good individual performance and Fiona Keating, already a minor camogie winner this season, found the net twice for John Cleary’s side.
Cork defeated Galway in the All-Ireland semi-final and were always in control throughout this game, as they did not trail Monaghan at all over the course of the match.
It was Cork who opened the scoring following a point from Jennifer Murphy before a free from Hannah Sherlock levelled the game.
Monaghan had a great goal chance denied, when Aisling McAnespie’s effort came back off the post, and that was as good as it got for the Ulster side, as Cork were dominant from this stage onwards.
Fiona Keating and Katie Quirke added the next two points, before the former found the net for the game’s opening goal, with Keating’s 10th-minute effort beating the goalkeeper, after a solo run from the same player.
Ellen Baker opened her account after the goal, to give Cork a 1-4 to 0-1 lead and John Cleary’s side were well on top at this stage of the game.
Monaghan responded superbly, scoring the next four points to reduce the deficit to two with Hannah Sherlock, Aine Loughman, Lauren Garland and Amy Garland all finding the target.
A free from Quirke settled Cork, before Fiona Keating scored her second goal in the 29th minute, after being set up by Quirke.
Cork held a 2-5 to 0-5 lead at the interval and Monaghan were still in contention at half-time, with six points separating the teams.
Katie Quirke opened the second half scoring with a free in front of the posts to stretch her sides lead to seven.
Monaghan were handed a lifeline, however, when full-forward Jayne Drury found the net with a close-range finish, after an excellent solo run from the same player, to leave the gap at four points with 34 minutes played.
The next score was going to be crucial and it Monaghan was who got it, with Lauren Garland hitting the target and momentum was with Paula Cunningham’s side at this stage of the match.
Monaghan had claims for a penalty denied in the 43rd minute when Jayne Drury appeared to be fouled but the referee waved play on.
Cork almost had another goal straight away, though Quirke’s effort sailed narrowly wide, although they did get a goal in the 46th minute. Kinsale’s Faye Ahern found the net with a close effort to open the gap to six points.
Michaela Linden and Quirke then traded points, before a free from the latter left seven between the teams with 11 minutes remaining.
Cork ended the game with 14 players, as centre-back Isobel Sheehan was sent to the sin-bin with just under nine minutes remaining, after a foul on Lauren Garland.
Sherlock and Quirke traded scores, before a goal from Quirke killed the game, with the Bride Rovers player’s 64th-minute effort beating the goalkeeper to give her side a ten-point lead.
Cork’s lead was increased to 11 after another point from Quirke and the Rebels were home and hosed at this juncture.
Team captain Abbie O’Mahony registered what was the final score of the game as her side held on for a 12-point win.
K Quirke 1-7 (0-4 f), F Keating 2-1, F Ahern 1-0, J Murphy, E Baker, A O’Mahony 0-1 each.