Five-star Cork ladies footballers led by Finn into league final

Rebels needed all those green flags in a cracking clash with Donegal
Five-star Cork ladies footballers led by Finn into league final

Cork's Orla Finn was the Player of the Match to help her side into the league final. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Cork 5-10 Donegal 3-13

FIVE goals and a superb display from Orla Finn saw Cork get the better of Donegal in their Lidl Ladies NFL semi-final clash at Tuam Stadium.

In a close game the display of Finn, who hit 1-8, was key as the Rebels were made fight all the way by a quality Donegal side.

Six goals in the first half saw the sides even, with Donegal much the happier of the two sides at the break having played against the strong wind.

Cork got off to the perfect start and before Donegal knew what hit them they were 2-2 in front, all coming in the first four minutes.

Finn opened the scoring from a free and she added a second, again from another free before the two green flags arrived in the space of a minute.

The first saw Sadhbh O'Leary play Ciara O'Sullivan in and her pass was palmed to the back of the net by Brid O'Sullivan.

But Donegal responded in style, with two goals of their own within 30 seconds of each other.

The first coming from Katy Herron, after some good play from Niamh McLaughlin and Karen Guthrie. From the restart Gutherie regained possession to coolly slot home, to make it 2-0 to 2-2 with eight minutes played.

The goal feast continued with Cork working the ball down the other end, this time Maire O'Callaghan raising the green flag.

Ciara O'Sullivan and Finn added points for Cork, before Donegal got their third goal, with Gutherie getting her second of the half. Geraldine McLaughlin pointed from a free, with Finn replying for Cork.

But Donegal finished the stronger of the two sides, with frees from McLaughlin and Gutherie helping to put one between the sides.

Gutherie got the first score of the second-half with Eimear Scally replying, after coming on as a sub at half-time. McLaughlin put Donegal back in front, with Finn levelling it again.

With 38 minutes gone Hannah Looney picked up the ball for Cork, played it to Melissa Duggan and her pass was palmed to the net by Finn, to make it 4-7 to 3-7.

Finn added a point from the re-start, with Gutherie raising the white flag at the other end.

The fifth Cork goal came just before the water break when Meabh Cahalane intercepted a Donegal pass, played it to O'Leary who burst forward to find Brid O'Sullivan. O'Leary kept going and when the ball was played back to her she blasted to the back of the net.

McLaughlin pulled a point back for Donegal before a double save denied them what looked like a certain goal. First Martina O'Brien denied Niamh McLaughlin and when Gutherie picked up the rebound she looked like finding the net, only to be denied by Roisin Phelan.

Scorers for Cork: O Finn 1-8 (0-4 f), C O'Sullivan 1-1, M O'Callaghan, B O'Sullivan, S O'Leary 1-0 each, E Scally 0-1.

Donegal: K Gutherie 2-3 (0-3 f), K Herron 1-1, G McLaughlin 0-8 (4f), K McClenaghan 0-1.

CORK:  M O’Brien; S Kelly, R Phelan, E Meaney; E O’Shea, A Hutchings, M Duggan; M O’Callaghan, H Looney; O Finn, C O’Sullivan, E Spillane; S O’Leary, B O’Sullivan, L Coppinger.

Subs: E Scally for L Coppinger, D Kiely for E Spillane, M Cahalane for E Meaney (all ht), C O'Shea for S Kelly (45), A O'Sullivan for

DONEGAL: A McColgan; N Carr, E McGinley, E Gallagher; AM Logue, Nicole McLaughlin, R Rodgers; K Herron, S Twohig; B McLaughlin, Niamh McLaughlin, N Boyle; N Hegarty, K Guthrie, G McLaughlin.

Subs: T Jenkins for AM Logue (40m), K Keaney for N Boyle (42), K McClenaghan for B McLaughlin (49m),

Referee: Garryowen McMahon, Mayo.

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