Cork 2-12 Tipperary 1-10
CORK have booked their place in the TG4 Munster championship final after a hard-fought victory over senior newcomers Tipperary at Ardfinnan on Saturday.
The Rebels ran out winners on a scoreline of 2-12 to 1-10 but were made work hard by the Premier.
Injury and illness forced two changes in the Cork line up before throw- in with Chloe Collins replacing Marie Ambrose, who has been struggling with a hamstring injury. Eimear Scally was ill during the week and the decision was taken to leave her on the bench, with Hannah Looney taking her place at corner-forward.
The game got off to a blistering start as inside the first three minutes both teams registered green flags. A great move in the second minute started by Bríd O’Sullivan involved an interchange of passes between Cork’s Shauna Kelly, Libby Coppinger and Orla Finn who floated the ball to O’Sullivan who tipped it over the onrushing Tipperary Keeper, Lauren Fitzpatrick.
But Tipperary responded immediately when Orla O’Dwyer won the kick-out and hit a long ball into the Tipp full-forward line. The Cork backs struggled to deal with it and Mairead Morrisey palmed it down to the in-form Aishling Moloney, who rocketed it to the net.
Cork responded well through Libby Coppinger and Orlagh Farmer who both converted scores. The half-forward line of Farmer, Ciara O’Sullivan and Doireann O’Sullivan worked hard for a number of turnovers, with Doireann O’Sullivan sailing over an excellent point.
A key moment in the game came in the 13th minute when the lively Coppinger was hauled down by the Tipperary keeper. Looney, in her first start for the Rebels having only rejoined the panel a couple of weeks ago, expertly dispatched the ball to the back of the net.
Cork kept the pressure on for the remainder of the first half, moving the ball excellently out of defence as Melissa Duggan, Shauna Kelly and Maire O’Callaghan started to gain control of the Tipp half-back line.
Tipp to their credit kept in touch through points from Moloney and McCarthy and defensively they forced Cork to shoot from distance as they pressed them high.
A good run by McCarthy in the 25th minute resulted in her slipping through the Cork defence, but she shot straight at Cork custodian Martina O’Brien. Orla Finn, who was being well marshalled by the full-back Maria Curley, converted two frees in the last three minutes to put the Rebels ahead by 2-6 to 1-5 at the interval.
Eimear Scally was introduced at half-time and had a big influence on proceedings as Cork began to take control. Team captain Ciara O’Sullivan was excellent at centre-forward, cutting the Tipperary defence open on a number of occasions and twice raising a white flag.
Scally looked very dangerous and was unlucky to see two goal attempts sail wide but it wasn’t long before she converted her first of two points.
Defensively the rebels really looked on top, holding Tipp scoreless until mid-way into the second half. Morrissey, who looked lively all day, got on the end of a high ball but Martina O’Brien made a great reaction save to tip the ball over the bar.
Tipperary began to pile more pressure on the Cork defence, as substitute Gillian O’Brien had a goal-bound shot deflected wide. The resulting 45 wasn’t adequately dealt with by the Cork defence and the ball landed dangerously around the square before Morrisey blew it over the bar.
Orla O’Dwyer followed this with up with a well-taken point and again Moloney cut through the Cork defence only for her shot to be well blocked by Looney in the 26th minute. The closing five minutes saw the two teams yet again exchange goal chances, but both keepers dealt with them adequately.
Cork will now meet Kerry in the Munster final on Saturday, June 30.
Scorers for Cork: O Finn 0-4 (0-3 f), B O’Sullivan 1-0, H Looney 1-0 pen, C O’Sullivan 0-2, D O’Sullivan 0-2, E Scally 0-2, O Farmer 0-1, L Coppinger 0-1.
Tipperary: A Moloney 1-2, A McCarthy 0-4 (0-3 f), M Morrissey 0-2, R Howard 0-1, O O’Dwyer 0-1.
CORK: M O’Brien, C Collins, E Meaney, E Spillane, M O’Callaghan, M Duggan, S Kelly, B O’Sullivan, A Hutchings, C O’Sullivan, D O’Sullivan, O Farmer, E Scally, L Coppinger, O Finn.
Subs: E Scally for B O’Sullivan (h-t), A Kelleher for M Duggan (60).
TIPPERARY: L Fitzpatrick, B Condon, M Curley, E Buckley, E Cronin, S Lambert, J Grant, C Condon, O O’Dwyer, A Moloney, A McCarthy, AR Kennedy, M Morrissey, N Lonergan, R Howard.
Subs: L Dillon for E Buckley (13), G O’Brien for C Condon (42), K Davey for N Lonergan (51)
Referee: S Mulvihill (Kerry).