Cork boss Fitzgerald proud of effort as Dublin edge league clash at Croker

Cork boss Fitzgerald proud of effort as Dublin edge league clash at Croker
Carla Rowe of Dublin in action against Maire O'Callaghan of Cork. Picture: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

CORK ladies’ football manager, Ephie Fitzgerald, was disappointed to lose by one point to Dublin in the Lidl National Football League Division 1 at Croke Park on Saturday. 

But he was proud of his young team’s effort.

“Overall, I thought we played quiet well. We started very well, and could have had another goal, maybe, as we created a lot of opportunities, but we left Dublin back into it.

“Maybe, in the first ten minutes of the second-half, they scored 1-4 to 0-1, but, after that, really, I thought we were magnificent and possibly could have stolen it, at the finish.”

Playing in front of a big crowd, in a big game in Croke Park, will stand to the younger members of the panel. It’s a learning experience for a lot of our girls. We had a lot of new girls out there, today. Like Nicole Quinn, where it’s the first time she has been thrown a Cork jersey at senior level.

“So, there’s loads of positives in it for us. We are a work-in-progress. I can’t say I am displeased with the performance, because I thought the heart and commitment, and some of our scores, were absolutely fantastic. Obviously, you don’t want to lose, but, at the end of the day, you have to take the positives out of it. 

"We created a couple of goal-scoring chances towards the finish. We didn’t take them, maybe, but that’s the way it goes. It’s three points, it’s a league game, and it’s a game in Croke Park for our girls, which I am delighted with.”

Fitzgerald accepted that Dublin were just that bit more clinical in front of goal. “They took the chances they had, which was probably the difference.

“It’s quite a young Cork team, even though we have some girls who are there for seven or eight years, so, from that point of view, we are delighted, and to get a game here is invaluable to us, going forward.

“We have played three games now and we have six points, two away from home, so we can’t be displeased with that.

“We have a week off now, so we’ll let the girls rest up now, for a couple of days, and then we’ll go back at it, and, hopefully, prepare well for the Westmeath game, in two weeks time.”

The Cork/Dublin rivalry is simmering away, and while Dublin might be top of the pile, Fitzgerald feels there is not much between the teams.

“Dublin are All-Ireland champions. They play with a bit of a swagger now. That breeds confidence, winning an All-Ireland, but there is very little between the teams, I think, when you look at it overall.

“There are a few things for us to work on. Dublin will probably feel the same. But, overall, I am happy. After ten minutes of the second-half, it looked like an easy three points for Dublin, but it didn’t work out that way.

“Scoring seven points without reply, you have to be pleased with that.”

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