Off-key Rebels fail to fire in ladies football league opener against Galway

Off-key Rebels fail to fire in ladies football league opener against Galway
Laura O’Mahony looking looking for an opening. Picture: Dan Linehan

Cork 0-5

Galway 1-8

A SURPRISE result as Cork lost their opening Lidl National Ladies Football League Division 1 opening game to Galway at Mallow on Saturday.

The visitors were deserving winners as they played the far better football over the hour and showed they are going to be a force to reckon with this season.

Cork had a number of new players and it will take them a bit of time to get used to the higher level of inter-county play and they certainly will have learned a lot from this encounter.

Work-rate is something Cork could never be faulted on, but it was far from the level expected of them and afterwards manager, Ephie Fitzgerald, certainly let them know his thoughts on this.

He had them in a huddle for some time to get his message across of what he expects from them as a group and you can expect a much-improved performance the next day out against Westmeath.

However, there were a number of players who showed why they are in the Cork side, with the likes of Hannah Looney, Melissa Duggan, Áine T O’Sullivan and Orla Finn working hard all through.

Galway came with a game plan, which was to defend deep and in numbers and they made it extremely difficult for Cork to break them down all through.

It was evident early on that this was their first outing for both as they gave the ball away easily and took some time to settle into the game.

Daire Kiely going past Olivia Divilly. Picture: Dan Linehan
Daire Kiely going past Olivia Divilly. Picture: Dan Linehan

Galway were first off the mark, four minutes in, when Roisín Leonard set up her cousin, Tracey Leonard, for the opening point. Two minutes later Cork were back on level terms when O’Sullivan pointed.

But straight from the restart, Galway worked the ball down the pitch to retake the lead, through Riona Ní Flahartha.

In a low scoring start, it took Cork 18 minutes to level, this time Orla Finn, pointing after a good one-two with Eimear Scally, following a free taken by the former.

But the game exploded into life in the last seven minutes with first Mairead Seoighe finding herself in the bin, with 23 minutes played.

But this didn’t bother her side as they were back in front a minute later when Tracey Leonard put them back in front, and she doubled their advantage, to make it 0-4 to 0-2, with 25 minutes gone.

With 27 minutes played Cork found themselves down to 14 when O’Sullivan followed Seoighe into the sin bin, somewhat harshly.

She was sent to the bin for a tackle on Louise Ward when it looked like the Galway player slipped rather than was fouled, one of several decisions that didn’t go Cork’s way on the day.

Just before half-time Galway took a grip on the game, when a great ball from Megan Glynn set up Roisín Leonard for the game’s only goal, to see her side lead 1-4 to 0-2 at half-time.

Finn got the first score of the second-half for Cork, with three minutes gone and the Rebels weren’t to score again until four minutes into injury-time, simply not good enough at this level.

Seoighe increased Galway’s lead, with 36 minutes played and she was on target again three minutes later, and this was to be the last score for the next 15 minutes. Both sides, particularly Cork, were guilty of missing chances before Tracey Leonard extended Galway’s lead and in the 29th minute, Ward made it 1-8 to 0-3. 

Cork got two points in injury-time, both from O’Sullivan, with one coming back off the bar as she went for goal and she put the breaking ball over, as Galway ran out deserving winners.

Scorers for Cork: A T O’Sullivan 0-3, O Finn 0-2 (1f).

Galway: T Leonard 0-4 (0-1 f), R Leonard 1-0, M Seoighe 0-2, R Ní Flahartha, L Ward 0-1 each.

CORK: M O’Brien; S Kelly, H Looney, A Hutchings; M Cahalane, M Duggan, D Kiely; C McCarthy, A O’Sullivan; E Kiely, N Cotter, L O’Mahony; L Coppinger, E Scally, O Finn.

Subs: S O’Leary for C McCarthy, A Kelleher for M Cahalane (both h-t), C Collins for S Kelly (40), M Ambrose for D Kiely (50).

GALWAY: D Gower; M Coyne, S Lynch, F Cooney; S Molloy, L Ward, C Cooney; O Divilly, M Glynn; M Seoighe, T Leonard, L Coen; R Ní Flahartha, R Leonard, S Conneally.

Subs: L Hannon for M Glynn (33), A Thompson for S Conneally (43), B Murphy for R Ní Flahartha (55), B Hannon for R Leonard (56), L Booth for M Coyne (58).

Referee: Jordan Murphy, Carlow.

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