Cork footballers on the right road despite loss to Dublin in women's national league

Cork footballers on the right road despite loss to Dublin in women's national league

Cork's Sadhbh O'Leary scores past Abby Shiels of Dublin

IF all football games were as good as Cork's clash with Dublin in the Lidl Ladies NFL on Saturday night, then stadiums would be packed to the rafters for every one of them.

For excitement and drama you couldn't get much better and any time you see a football match with seven goals then you know it will be one that fans will talk about for sometime.

The only disappointment, from a Cork viewpoint, was they were on the wrong side of the scoreline, with the All-Ireland champions winning by 3-15 to 4-11 at Páirc Uí Chaoimh.

In their first outing against Tipperary Cork hit 3-15, with all their scores coming from play. 

Against Dublin they were 0-8 to 0-6 down at half-time, with Orla Finn getting all their first-half scores from frees.

Even at that it had been an entertaining first-half with Dublin keeper Abbey Sheils making magnificent saves to deny Melissa Duggan and Sadhbh O'Leary goals.

The warning sides were there though and it was no great surprise to see the Rebels get four goals after the break. 

Probably what was surprising was the fact they didn't win with a score of 4-11. It's not too often you will score that and lost a football game, with O'Leary, Ciara O'Sullivan, Hannah Looney and Emma Cleary raising the green flag.

Some will look at the score and will be discussing how open it was but when fans are allowed back in shortly I'm sure most would prefer to see one like that.

Cork's Sadhbh O'Leary in action against Martha Byrne of Dublin
Cork's Sadhbh O'Leary in action against Martha Byrne of Dublin

The levels of play from both sides was exceptional and even more so when you consider it was only their second game of the season.

Cork had a brilliant start to the second-half and hit 2-1 in the first two minutes to turn the game on its head. 

But Dublin aren't the All-Ireland champions for nothing and an already top-quality squad has been strengthened even further with the addition of Hannah Tyrrell.

The former Irish rugby international star is a strong, tall physical player with plenty of skill too. She has hit 3-12 in her first two games and is sure to continue to be a threat for the champions going forward.

But Cork looked to have a gem of their own in O'Leary. 

She is at the other end of the scale from 30 year old Tyrrell and is very much at the start of her senior career in red.

The Kinsale player has shown in their outings against Tipp and Dublin that she has a bright future ahead and is the type of forward that defenders hate marking.

Constantly on the move and with plenty of pace she will be gone past you before you know it. No doubt her clubmate, Finn, will have been giving her plenty of help and advice over the last few seasons.

Cork may have lost by a point to Dublin but these two will meet again this season and if they are kept apart then it's going to take an upset not to see them at Croker for the All-Ireland final later in the year.

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