Clinical Cork blitz Mayo in the second half to seal spot in the league semi-finals

Clinical Cork blitz Mayo in the second half to seal spot in the league semi-finals
Doireann O'Sullivan of Cork in action against Róisín Flynn of Mayo. Picture: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Cork 4-16 Mayo 2-5

A SUPERB second-half performance from Cork saw them get the better of Mayo in their Lidl Ladies Division 1 league clash at McHale Park yesterday.

At half-time, there was only one point between the sides, and the Rebels were down to 13 for the first nine minutes or so of the second half, after a late double first-half sin-binning.

But they laid down a statement at the start of the second half to let Mayo there was only going to be one winner and that was the team in red. It sealed their place in the last four of the league with a game remaining.

Such was their dominance they restricted the home side to just one score in that half, a goal, but even when they got that they went up the other end and scored one of their own straight away.

Cork's Eimear Scally blocks a shot by Rachel Kernes of Mayo. Picture: INPHO/Bryan Keane
Cork's Eimear Scally blocks a shot by Rachel Kernes of Mayo. Picture: INPHO/Bryan Keane

Cork were unlucky not to take the lead in the first minute when an Orla Finn free came back off the post, having been caught in the swirling wind.

At the other end Mayo looked like they would open the scoring when Dayna Finn was through on goal, but a magnificent block by Emma Spillane denied her.

Finn got Cork off the mark, in the ninth minute, when she pointed from a free and she added a second to double their lead.

Cork, who had several first-half goal chances, were denied an opening one when Eimear Scally was fouled as she went through, with Finn pointing the resulting free.

Grace Kelly got Mayo off the mark, with 17 minutes gone and she added a second, both from frees, to make it 0-3 to 0-2.

Cork finally got the goal they deserved, when Daire Kiely played in Niamh Cotter and she lobbed the advancing Mayo keeper.

Points from Doireann and Ciara O’Sullivan increased Cork’s lead, before Mayo hit back, with two more from Kelly, to make it 1-6 to 0-5 as half-time approached.

However, in the last minute of the half, it all started to go wrong for Cork. Tamara O’Connor was fouled by Eimear Meaney for a clear penalty for Mayo.

Meaney also found herself sent to the sin bin for 10 minutes.

Rachel Kearns effort from the spot was well saved by Martina O’Brien, but Emma Needham was quickest to the rebound to put only a point between the sides.

But just before half-time Cork were down to 13 when Daire Kiealy followed Meaney to the sin-bin for what the ref deemed a high tackle as the Rebels found themselves down to 13 for the first 10 minutes of the second half.

But the sin-binning came at the right times, if there is ever one, as it gave manager Ephie Fitzgerald, a chance to settle down and get organised.

They had to set up defensively but then broke at pace, with Finn scoring twice, along with one from Doireann O’Sullivan before Mayo knew what hit them.

They responded with a goal from Sinead Cafferky, but even then it was obvious to see that it was going to be no more than a token gesture.

Cork were dominating everywhere, with Doireann O’Sullivan responding with a goal for the Rebels, straight from the re-start.

Two points from Finn made it 2-11 to 2-5, with Ciara and Doireann, along with Cotter and Orlagh Farmer adding points at ease.

Famer got their third goal before Rhona Ní Bhuachalla added a fourth as the Rebels ran out easy winners and move on to the league semi-finals, with a game to spare.

Scorers for Cork: O Finn 0-8 (0-6 f), D O’Sullivan 1-2, N Cotter, O Farmer, R Ní Bhuachalla 1-1 each, C O’Sullivan 0-2, L Cleary 0-1.

Mayo: G Kelly 0-5 (0-4 f), E Needham 1-0 pen, S Cafferky 1-0 each.

CORK: M O’Brien; E Meaney, H Looney, M Duggan; D Kiely, A Hutchings, E Kiely; M O’Callaghan, E Spillane; D O’Sullivan, N Cotter, O Farmer; E Scally, C O’Sullivan, O Finn.

Subs: R Ní Bhuachalla for D Kiely, M Cahalane for E Spillane, L Cleary for O Farmer, S O’Leary for O Finn, C O’Shea for E Kiely.

MAYO: M Treacy; N O’Malley, R Flynn, F McManamon; K Sullivan, Clodagh McManamon, Ciara McManamon; S Cafferky, D Finn; T O’Connor, E Needham, N Kelly; F Doherty, R Kearns, G Kelly.

Subs: N Gaughan for F McManamon, L Cafferky for T O’Connor, R Durkin for N Kelly, S Rowe for E Needham, L McManamon for D Finn, A Sheridan for N O’Malley, R Waldron for R Kearns.

Referee: Gus Chapman (Sligo).

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