Mourneabbey are still gunning for senior All-Ireland glory

Mourneabbey are still gunning for senior All-Ireland glory
Meabh O'Sullivan, Mourneabbey goalkeeper, gets the ball away from Louise Coholan, Ciara McCarthy and Bríd Stack, St Val's. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

THE Railway Bar in Mourneabbey was hopping on Saturday night as supporters and players celebrated their fourth successive Cork Senior Championship title win.

Shane Ronayne's side defeated St Val's in CIT on Saturday by 10 points, and wrote themselves into the history books as the only the third club to have won the John Hurley Cup four years in-a-row alongside Glanworth and Donoughmore.

The Clyda club are well used to winning, having claimed All-Ireland honours at junior and intermediate level, but it's the senior title that has eluded them.

Laura Fitzgerald, Mourneabbey, followes her shot into the goal, watched by Mairead O'Sullivan and Jenny Brew Dinan, St Val's. Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Laura Fitzgerald, Mourneabbey, followes her shot into the goal, watched by Mairead O'Sullivan and Jenny Brew Dinan, St Val's. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

In 2014 and 2015 they suffered back-to-back defeats in the All-Ireland final against Termon of Donegal and Donaghmoyne of Monaghan respectively, while last year they were denied in the semi-finals once again by the Farney army.

Should manager Aisling Murphy's players claim the title this year, they will become the first club in the history of ladies football to have won every national title - junior, intermediate and senior - but a Munster championship final is the first on their to-do list.

Selectors Con O'Sullivan and Derry Cronin got their tactics spot on for the encounter, with the reigning champions opting to spread their forwards as opposed to taking their traditional route of going down the middle, and it paid off.

Inside eight minutes, Laura Fitzgerald helped herself to two goals, while Cork captain Ciara O'Sullivan and Eimear Harrington netted two more to lead 4-2 to 1-5 at half-time.

St Val's made a powerful comeback at the end of the first, registering 1-4 without reply, but it was heartache for the mid-Cork side who suffered defeat to the same opponents for the third successive season.

Preparations, however, are now already underway in Mourneabbey, as they now wait to see who will come out on top in the Munster Senior B final, ahead of the provincial showdown in three weeks' time.

Bríd O'Sullivan, Mourneabbey captain. Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Bríd O'Sullivan, Mourneabbey captain. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

Speaking after the game, Cork star Doireann O'Sullivan admitted that each win was as sweet as the last and following on from last year's All-Ireland semi-final defeat to Donaghmoyne of Monaghan, she hopes the side are learning with every game.

"It only seems like yesterday that we won our first one, but the county championship is so competitive, the novelty of it doesn't wear off. We were extremely nervous coming into this match, every year we are.

"If you look at the programme, St Val's have some unbelievable players and you can never take things for granted against them.

"You'd like to think that we're learning with every game, and we won't be looking beyond the Munster final now in a few weeks' time."

Preparations are also underway for Kinsale and Aghada as they ready themselves to compete in the Munster intermediate and junior A finals respectively in a few weeks' time.

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