Mourneabby are back in the All-Ireland final for the fourth time in five years

Mourneabby are back in the All-Ireland final for the fourth time in five years
Laura Fitzgerald of Mourneabbey in action against Aisling Costello of Kilkerrin-Clonberne. Picture: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Mourneabey 1-14 Kilkerrin/Clonberne 0-9 

FOR the fourth time in five seasons, Mourneabbey march on to the All-Ireland senior club final after an emphatic performance against Connacht champions Kilkerrin/Clonberne.

Doireann O’Sullivan bagged 0-8 in an outstanding display and county skipper Ciara O’Sullivan collected 0-3 as Mourneabbey set up a final meeting with Dublin’s Foxrock-Cabinteely on December 8.

Hosts and Connacht champions Kilkerrin-Clonberne battled gamely in front of a huge crowd at the Clonberne Sports Field but Mourneabbey had too much know-how and experience.

Just a point separated the teams when they met in a 2015 semi-final but eight points was the difference at full-time here.

But Carnacon’s Connacht Final conquerors Kilkerrin-Clonberne enjoyed much of the opening possession, and only for a good Maebh O’Sullivan save, they could have rattled the net inside the first two minutes.

Claire Dunleavy, on for the injured Nicola Ward, eventually opened Kilkerrin/Clonberne’s account on the five-minute mark. Mourneabbey registered their first score in the 8th minute when Doireann O’Sullivan scored a great point to get her team off the mark.

Kilkerrin/Clonberne looked very lively in the opening exchanges, launching attack after attack but the Cork champions defended excellently, forcing their opponents wide and get in a couple of vital blocks.

Doireann O’Sullivan, who was an injury doubt coming into the game, kicked into form and put her side ahead in the 10th minute.

Mourneabbey showed their pedigree from this point onwards, kicking six unanswered points through Doireann (4), Ciara (1) and full-forward Laura Fitzgerald (1) all the while holding Kilkerrin/Clonberne scoreless. The Westerners did manage to create chances of their own but were very wasteful in front of goal, kicking four first-half wides and dropping three short into Maeve O'Sullivan's hands.

Annette Clarke, Galway’s 2004 All-Ireland winning skipper, got Kilkerrin-Clonberne back on the scoreboard in the 27th minute, just their second white flag of the game.

Ailish Morrissey followed that point up as did Olivia Divilly to leave it 0-4 to 0-9 at the half time break.

The intensity increased ten-fold after the half time whistle; Doireann O’Sullivan converted her 6th of the day but again Clarke responded with an excellent point of her own, which the impressive Chloe Miskell followed up less than two minutes later.

The action continued end to end with Kilkerrin/Clonberne throwing everything they had at the Mourneabbey contingent but the Munster champions were proving hard to contain with the O’Sullivan sisters causing havoc, combining for 11 points in total.

Aisling O'Sullivan of Mourneabbey in action against Siobhan Divilly of Kilkerrin-Clonberne. Picture: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
Aisling O'Sullivan of Mourneabbey in action against Siobhan Divilly of Kilkerrin-Clonberne. Picture: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Time was running out for the Galway outfit as they struggled to get within four points of their opponents. Louise Ward’s attempt at goal from a 21-yard free was saved on the line in the 28th minute and Mourneabbey survived.

The visitors soaked up a lot of pressure from the Connaught champions in the closing exchanges but an Eimear Harrington goal in the 32nd minute ensured there place in the final on December 8th.

The O’Sullivan sisters may have provided much of the firepower but as a whole Mourneabbey’s team performance was excellent.

Defensively, the Clyda unit were extremely solid as Eimear Meaney, Roisin O’Sullivan and Aisling O’Sullivan especially stood out.

Mourneabbey midfield duo of Brid O’Sullivan and Maire O’Callaghan were also maginificent, O’Callaghan, in particular, was in fine form, defensively she provided excellent cover while O’Sullivan charged forward at every opportunity.

While up front, minor Ellie Jack was handful, very ably assisted by full-forward Laura Fitzgerald, both of which contributed a point each.

The next challenge that awaits the Cork and Munster Champions are Dublin side Foxrock-Cabinteely in what will be a repeat of last year’s All-Ireland semi-final.

It took extra time for Mourneabbey to get over their opponents that day and a mouth-watering encounter is on the cards for three weeks time.

Scorers for Kilkerrin/Clonberne: A Clarke 0-4, C Dunleavy 0-2, A Morrissey, O Divilly, C Miskell 1 each.  

Mourneabbey: D O’Sullivan 0-8 (0-1 f), C O’Sullivan 0-3, E Harrington 1-1, L Fitzgerald, E Jack 1 each. 

KILKERRIN/CLONBERNE: L Murphy; A Costello, S Gormally, C Costello; S Fahy, L Gannon, H Noone; S Divilly, C Miskell; L Noone, L Ward, O Divilly; C Dunleavy, A Clarke, A Morrissey.

MOURNEABBEY: M O’Sullivan; E Meaney, CA Stack, A O’Sullivan; S Conroy, R O’Sullivan, K Coakley; M O’Callaghan, B O’Sullivan; E Harrington, C O’Sullivan, N O’Sullivan; E Jack, L Fitzgerald, D O’Sullivan.

Subs: S O’Callaghan for N O’Sullivan (38), L Fitzgerald for A Cronin (34). 

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