LADIES football fans were treated to a thriller last Saturday when the senior county final between Mourneabbey and West Cork ended in 1-10 apiece and when the sides meet again this Sunday at 4pm in Cloughduv, we can expect much the same.
Mourneabbey were widely regarded as strong favourites coming into last weekend, but such was the performance by West Cork, it is hard to predict who the title will reside with come Sunday evening.
Arguably, West Cork are probably the better side on paper owing to their divisional status, but it was clearly evident this Mourneabbey team have been on the road a long time. They worked better as a unit, almost always laying off possession to someone in a better position, something West Cork struggled to do at times.
Defensively, West Cork were impressive. Maire O’Brien and Laura O’Mahony alternated as sweepers and did so very effectively. While the Kiely twins, Daire and Eimear, and Melissa Duggan were a bundle of energy and provided the platform for much of West Cork’s attack, particularly in the second half.
Overall, it was a frustrating day for the Mourneabbey forward line who are normally so rampant in front of goal. They had to rely mostly on the boot of Doireann O’Sullivan for scores which she provided superbly, hitting 1-8 of her side's tally.
Mourneabbey will need a better spread of scorers on Sunday if they are to retain the title for a fifth year in a row.
West Cork will be happy with the spread of scorers they registered, with a total of seven in comparison to Mourneabbey’s three. But they must be more clinical if they are to be crowned county champions.
In the first half alone they failed to convert three clear-cut goal chances and hit a number of poor wides. Aine Terry O’Sullivan spent much of the game playing deep within her own half. West Cork could be better served playing Aine Terry closer to goal to try and convert more of their chances.
Mourneabbey seemed to have the upper hand at mid-field last weekend. Brid O’Sullivan was a tour de force and constantly provided the link between defence and attack for the Clyda unit. On the bench West Cork have former Cork senior midfielder Niamh Cotter, who could provide the muscle to offset O’Sullivan’s influence this time around.
Overall West Cork will probably feel they don’t need to tweak their game plan too much. In the second half, in particular, they drove at Mourneabbey and will need to bring that intensity again on Sunday.
Mourneabbey captain Brid O’Sullivan felt strongly that her side didn’t give their best performance and I would agree. I think there is a lot more to come from the reigning champions and they may well be a completely different animal on Sunday.