Cork ladies footballers through to league semi-final v Donegal next Saturday

Dublin will face Mayo in the other clash next weekend
Cork ladies footballers through to league semi-final v Donegal next Saturday

Cork captain Martina O'Brien congratulates her players after defeating Waterford in the Lidl NFL division 1B, round 3 at Fraher field, Dungarvan

Cork 2-11 Waterford 2-8

CORK are through to the semi-final of the Lidl Ladies NFL after a hard-fought win over Waterford at the Fraher Field, Dungarvan.

Leading by three points at half-time Cork upped their game in the second half and were deserving winners in the end. They will now face Donegal in the semi-final on Saturday at 3pm, live on TG4

There were plenty of talking points from this encounter, with some of the decisions by referee Austin O'Connell baffling to all watching. How he didn't award Cork a penalty at one point is a decision that only he and his umpire can explain.

On the plus side was the return to action of Eimear Scally, who came on for the last few minutes.

Orla Finn got Cork off the mark from a free just 40 seconds in, but this was the Rebels only score by the time the water break came after 15 minutes.

Cork manager Ephie Fitzgerald and selector Paddy O'Shea. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Cork manager Ephie Fitzgerald and selector Paddy O'Shea. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Although Cork were dominating in the possession stakes Waterford were more clinical in front of the goal, with a free from Maria Delahunty in the seventh minute getting them off the mark.

Two minutes later she was on target from another free and with 13 minutes gone Waterford were 0-3 to 0-1 to the good, with Eimear Fennell getting their first point from play.

Finn was unlucky not to add a second when her shot came back off the post and the danger was cleared and by the time we got to the water break it was 0-3 to 0-1 to the home side.

Finn reduced the deficit and Cork were unlucky not to goal when a brilliant ball from Melissa Duggan was just too long for Ciara O'Sullivan.

Waterford increased their lead, with Fennell pointing from a free, before Cork got the goal their overall play deserved.

Hannah Looney picked up the ball in midfield and played it through to Katie Quirke and her pass found Brid O'Sullivan, who coolly slotted under the Waterford keeper, Rosie Landers.

Finn added a point as Cork's dominance of possession was starting to tell on the scoreboard, as they led 1-3 to 0-4.

With four minutes to half-time Cork should have had a penalty when Landers took Quirke down and the only people who didn't think so were referee, Austin O'Connell and one of his umpires.

Totally frustrated at that decision, and rightly so, Cork manager Ephie Fitzgerald questioned it and it saw him sent to the stand.

With time running out Cork were unlucky not to get a second goal when Ciara O'Sullivan was played through, but Laura Mulcahy got back on the line to tip her shot over.

Finn added a late free for Cork as they led by 1-5 to 0-5 at the break, with Aisling Mullaney being sin-binned for the tackle on Ciara that led to the free.

Cork liaison officer Michelle Dunlea gets the drinks ready. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Cork liaison officer Michelle Dunlea gets the drinks ready. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Two early frees from Finn increased Cork's lead and with 35 minutes gone they got their second goal.

A well-worked move saw Ciara O'Sullivan play the ball to Brid O'Sullivan and her return pass was fisted to the net by Ciara, to make it 2-7 to 0-5.

Waterford could have had a goal from the restart but Katie Murray's effort went over the bar when it could as easily have gone under.

Finn kept the scoreboard ticking over for Cork and Emma Cleary made it 2-9 to 0-6, when she pointed with her first touch after coming on as a sub. Ciara O'Sullivan and Finn pointed to increase Cork's lead, with Delahunty pulling a point back for Waterford.

With 10 minutes to go Waterford were back in contention when Emma Murray found the back of the net, with Delahunty adding a point from a free.

With four minutes to go Finn was sin-binned and she was followed to the bin by Maire O'Callaghan as the Rebels finished with 13 players.

With Cork down two Waterford finished on the attack and a late goal from Roisin Tobin saw it finish 2-11 to 2-8 as the Rebels move on to play Donegal in the league semi-final next week.

Scorers for Cork: O Finn 0-8 (0-7 f), C O'Sullivan 1-2, B O'Sullivan 1-0, E Cleary 0-1.

Waterford: M Delahunty 0-5 (0-4 f), E Murray, R Tobin 1-0 each, E Fennell (f), C Fennell, K Murray 0-1 each.

CORK: M O’Brien; S Kelly, E Meaney, A Hutchings; E O’Shea, M Cahalane, E Spillane; M O’Callaghan, M Duggan; H Looney, C O’Sullivan, B O’Sullivan; S O’Leary, K Quirke, O Finn.

Subs: C O'Shea for E Meaney (ht), E Cleary for K Quirke (39), A Kelleher for M Cahalane (44), O Farmer for E Spillane (45), E Scally for B O'Sullivan (57).

WATERFORD: R Landers; M Dunford, L Mulcahy, R Casey; A Mullaney, Karen McGrath, M Wall; Kate McGrath, C Fennell; C McGrath, A Wall, K Murray; E Fennell, E Murray, M Delahunty.

Subs: B McMaugh for C McGrath, K Hogan for C Fennell (both ht), R Robin for E Fennell (40), A Murray for K McGrath (45), L Cusack for A Mullaney, S Dunphy for A Wall, (both 50), C McCarthy for K McGrath (60).

Referee: Austin O'Connell, Galway.

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