Cork ladies football boss vows Rebels can come back stronger in 2021

Cork ladies football boss vows Rebels can come back stronger in 2021

Cork's Martina O'Brien and Aisling Kelleher were left dejected after the defeat to Dublin at Croke Park. Picture: INPHO/Tommy Dickson

IT was not to be for the Cork ladies footballers as they lost out to Dublin in the TG4 All-Ireland senior final.

A brilliant second-half display from the defending champions ensured the cup remained in the capital for the fourth year-in-a-row, with Cork's last win coming in 2016.

At half-time, it was looking good for Cork as they led by 1-3 to 0-3 and deservedly so. In that half, they had some outstanding displays from the likes of Ciara O'Sullivan along with Máire O'Callaghan and Hannah Looney in midfield. Roisin Phelan was commanding the backline, but unfortunately, the second-half was a different matter.

Dublin showed why they are the champions with a powerful display that Cork found difficult to live with. Key to their win was a goal from a penalty after 35 minutes, which put them in front for the first time and they never surrendered their lead again.

But there is a lot Cork can be proud of and it certainly wasn't for the lack of effort that they lost out. They gave it everything and manager Ephie Fitzgerald said he was very proud of their efforts on the day and all through the championship.

“In the dressing room before I came out to speak to ye I thanked them for that effort and also wished them a happy and safe Christmas and I told them to go enjoy it with their families.

“They have given up an awful lot to play for their county this year and they deserve massive praise for that.”

He did single out the start of the second half as the critical period when Dublin hit 1-3 without reply.

“This gave them a huge lift and you could see the energy coming into their game after that. 

"They are an experienced side and we are still a work in progress.

“In that regard, and I don't like to single out players, but I thought Erika O'Shea was outstanding for us today. For an 18-year-old to perform like that in her first senior All-Ireland final says a lot about her.

“But we will regroup and take a break and hopefully come back stronger next year."

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