Mourneabbey 1-16 Ballymacarbry 2-9
MOURNEABBEY have made it fiveMunster ladies football titles in a row after their hard-won victory over Ballymacarbry in Cahir on Saturday.
They got what they expected from the Waterford champions — a tough and competitive game. The Déise side has been getting closer and closer to catching Mourneabbey in the past couple of years and, early in the second half, it looked like this could be their year.
Any club that wins its county championship for 37 years in a row must be doing something right. Bear in mind 10 years of All-Ireland club titles in 11 years in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and you get an idea of the calibre of Mourneabbey’s opponents.
But the spirit, determination and skill of Mourneabbey have come to the fore as they come from the win to advance to the All-Ireland semi-final.
They were inspired by the likes of Bríd O’Sullivan, Eimear Meaney, Roisín O’Sullivan, and, in particular, Doireann O’Sullivan.
Doireann was outstanding all through, but she was injured with a few minutes to go.
The thoughts of all in attendance were also with Ballymacarbry’s Trease McGrath. The game was just two minutes old when a serious injury to the Ballymacarbry corner-back saw it delayed for more than 45 minutes as they took her away by ambulance.
By the time the ambulance left the pitch, and the players got the chance to warm up again, the game re-started an hour late.
Once it re-started, Bríd O’Sullivan opened the scoring for Mourneabbey, with Doireann O’Sullivan adding her second, with six minutes played.
A free from Sinead Ryan got Ballymacarbry off the mark and, with 11 minutes gone, they took the lead.
Linda Wall played the ball to Ryan and her looping shot to the back of the net, to make it 1-1 to 0-3.
Ryan added a point, with Ciara O’Sullivan replying at the other end for Mourneabbey.
Maire O’Callaghan was fouled as she bore down on goal and the referee had no hesitation in awarding a penalty, but Laura Fitzgerald’s effort was superbly saved by Lauren Fitzpatrick.
Doireann O’Sullivan had the Cork side back in front, 0-7 to 1-2, with 19 minutes gone.
Then Abby Dalton and Aileen Wall brought the sides level, 1-4 to 0-7, with two minutes to half-time.
Sinead Ryan put the Waterford side back in front, but on the stroke of half-time Doireann O’Sullivan equalised for Mourneabbey to make it 0-8 to 1-5 at the break.
Ballymacarbry started the second half brightly and went in front when Dalton pointed and Ryan added a second. Ryan also got her second goal, to make it 2-7 to 0-8, with 33 minutes played.
But Mourneabbey never panicked, with two Doireann O’Sullivan frees reducing the deficit.
And then, with 40 minutes gone, the North Cork side’s Ciara O’Sullivan found the back of the net, to make it level at 1-10 to 2-7.
Ryan and Ciara O’Sullivan exchanged scores, with Dalton putting Ballymacarbry back in front with 49 minutes gone.
However, this proved to be their last score as the Cork side finished strongly, with Doireann hitting two frees to put them a point in front.
Her sister, Ciara, added two more as Ballymacarbry could find no answer at this stage, and Fitzgerald got the last score of the tie to see them bring the cup for the fifth year in a row as they continue their dominance in Munster.
Scorers for Mourneabbey: D O’Sullivan 0-9 (0-6 f), C O’Sullivan 1-4, B O’Sullivan, L Fitzgerald (f), M O’Callaghan 0-1 each.
Ballymacarbry: S Ryan 2-5 (0-3 f), A Dalton 0-3, A Wall 0-1.
MOURNEABBEY: M O’Sullivan; E Meaney, C 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 A O’Sullivan, A Ryan for D O’Sullivan.
BALLYMACARBRY: L Fitzpatrick; McGrath, McGrath, M Ryan; M Wall, K McGrath, A Dalton; K Hogan, L Mulcahy; A Wall, E Cooney, Shauna Ryan; L Wall, Sinead Ryan, M Ryan.
Subs: B Hogan for T McGrath, B Valuntaite for S Ryan, S Ryan for E Cooney.
Referee: Niall McCormack, Laois.