A SIMPLY superb display by Cork saw them brush aside Donegal in their Lidl Ladies Football Division 1 clash at Páirc Uí Rinn on Saturday.
Having lost their previous two home games the Cork side were determined not to lose this one as they were far too strong for the table-toppers.
Such was the dominance of the Rebels they kept Donegal scoreless from play for the entire game, with two of their points coming in injury time at the end of the tie.
Donegal only scored one point in the first half and it took until the 46th minute for them to get their second.
With most of their established stars, including the likes of the O’Sullivan’s, Ciara and Doireann, Marie O’Callaghan and Eimear Meaney all available for selection it was their strongest squad all season and it showed.
There were a number of outstanding displays, starting at the back, where Hannah Looney is growing, game by game, into the full-back berth. The Kiely twins, Daire and Eimear, are gaining valuable game time with every outing in the half-back line.
O’Callaghan and Niamh Cotter dominated at midfield and up front Donegal couldn’t find any answers to the likes of Orlagh Farmer, Orla Finn, Eimear Scally and Aine O’Sullivan.
Add in Ciara O’Sullivan, who leads by example, and they had Donegal on the back foot from the throw-in to the final whistle.
This was Ciara’s first start and she showed her importance to the side, with an emphatic display, scoring 1-3 along the way. She drives her side on and can pop up in defence, just as easily as the full-forward line.
Afterwards, Cork manager, Ephie Fitzgerald, was delighted with the win but more so the performance.
“It was a good win, we were disappointed with our display against Tipperary and we looked for a response and we got it today,” said Ephie.
In a low-scoring start, the first chance came five minutes in when Scally beat several players, but her effort was well saved by Donegal keeper, Aoife McColgan.
Two minutes later and the Rebels were in front when Farmer pointed, with Niamh Cotter adding a second for them.
Ten minutes in and Karen Guthrie got Donegal off the mark from a free, with Finn responding at the other end from a free as well.
Finn increased the Rebels lead from another free, as they pushed up on the Donegal kick-outs, making it difficult for their opponents to get out of their own half.
Farmer got Cork’s fourth point, in the 17th minute as it was all too easy for the Rebels at this stage.
Two from Finn made it 0-6 to 0-1 before Katy Herron missed a great chance from a free to get their second point.
Late points from Aine O’Sullivan and Finn, another free, had Cork well in control at half-time, 0-8 to 0-1, leaving Donegal with a lot to do in the second-half.
The second half was all Cork, with an early goal from Ashling Hutchings setting the tone. Two from Finn, along with scores from Daire Kiely and Melissa Duggan extended their lead.
It took until the 16th minute of this half for Donegal to get their second point, with Guthrie on target again.
Cotter added another goal, with Ciara O’Sullivan hitting two-in-a-row to make it 2-16 to 0-2.
Two frees from Guthrie, late on, doubled Donegal’s score, with a late goal from Ciara O’Sullivan rounding off the scoring as Cork ran out comfortable winners.
Scorers for Cork: C O’Sullivan 1-3, N Cotter 1-1, A Hutchings 1-0, O Finn 0-6 (0-4 f), O Farmer 0-2, A O’Sullivan, E Kiely, D Kiely, M Duggan 0-1 each.
Donegal: K Guthrie 0-4 f.
CORK: M O’Brien; S Kelly, H Looney, M Duggan; D Kiely, A Hutchings, E Kiely; N Cotter, M O’Callaghan; Á O’Sullivan, O Farmer, C O’Sullivan; E Scally, L Coppinger, O Finn.
Subs: E Meaney for S Kelly (36m), L O’Mahony for O Farmer (40m), D O’Sullivan for O Finn, R Ni Bhuachalla for L Coppinger (both 44m), L Cleary for N Cotter, E Spillane for E Kiely, C O’Shea for A Hutchings, M Cahalane for D Kiely (all 51m).
DONEGAL: A McColgan; A.M. McGlynn, E Gallagher, E McGinley; T Doherty, N McLaughlin, N Carr; K Herron, N Boyle; K Guthrie, S McLaughlin, A Boyle Carr; S McGroddy, M Ryan, R Friel.
Subs: A Flanagan for R Friel (ht), J Treaty for S McLaughlin (45m), S McGinty for A M McGlynn (47m), E Melaugh for S McGroddy (51m), K McKinney for E Gallagher, L Carr for M Ryan (both 55m), A Nee for A Boyle Carr (56m).
Ref: Shane Curley, Galway.