Dublin ladies footballers maintain their edge over Cork in league final

Rebels battled hard but were unable to defeat their great rivals at Croke Park
Dublin ladies footballers maintain their edge over Cork in league final

Dublin’s Martha Byrne and Máire O’Callaghan of Cork battle for the ball. Picture: INPHO/Brian Reilly-Troy

Dublin 2-15 Cork 1-11

IT was more heartache for the Cork ladies footballers as they lost out to Dublin in the Lidl NFL final at Croke Park.

Over the last number of years, Dublin have had the upper hand on Cork in big games and that continued as they ran out worthy winners on the night.

They were simply too strong for the Rebels overall, despite the best efforts of the likes of Sadhbh O'Leary, Erika O'Shea, Maire O'Callaghan, Ciara O'Sullivan and Orla Finn. But Cork found it difficult to cope with the Dublin attack, led by Caoimhe O'Connor, Sinead Aherne and in particular Hannah Tyrrell.

Tyrrell tormented Cork in their group stage game a few weeks ago at Páirc Uí Chaoimh and did it again, particularly in the first half.

Dublin took the lead two minutes in when Aherne scored from a free, with Finn replying for Cork. Finn raised the white flag again from another free to put the Rebels in front.

Aherne had the sides level and her third point, the first from play in the game, put her side ahead. Siobhan Killeen got off the mark to make it 0-4 to 0-2 to Dublin with nine minutes gone.

A minute later and a superb moving, involving Ciara O'Sullivan and Finn set up Libby Coppinger for the opening goal as Cork retook the lead, 1-2 to 0-4.

Tyrrell pointed from a free, with Aine O'Sullivan replying, with what proved to be her last involvement in the game as she went off injured.

Just before the water break, Dublin were back in front when Niamh Hetherton burst through the Cork defence and blasted to the back of the net, with Tyrrell adding a point.

Dublin finished much the stronger with Jennifer Dunne extending their lead and Tyrrell on target again to make it 1-9 to 1-6. Dublin had a goal disallowed for a square ball before Tyrrell pointed from a free to make it 1-10 to 1-6 at the break and Dublin in control at that stage.

Finn pulled a point back from a free, with Aherne replying at the other end. Lyndsey Davey increased Dublin's lead before they had Martha Byrne sin-binned for a foul on Eimear Scally.

But Dublin just fell back in defence and gave Cork little room inside while then moving forward at pace.

In that spell Cork only got two points, courtesy of a Finn free and Scally, but Dublin hit three, with Aherne scoring two and Tyrrell one, all from frees.

Dublin’s Martha Byrne and Máire O’Callaghan of Cork battle for the ball. Picture: INPHO/Brian Reilly-Troy
Dublin’s Martha Byrne and Máire O’Callaghan of Cork battle for the ball. Picture: INPHO/Brian Reilly-Troy

With 10 minutes to go any chance of a Cork comeback were dashed when a Davey long ball in was caught superbly by Niamh McEvoy and her pass found the onrushing Carle Rowe who scored Dublin's second goal, to make it 2-15 to 1-10.

Ciara O'Sullivan pointed for Cork and they then had a goal disallowed for a foul. Scally then had the ball in the back of the net again, but referee Seamus Mulvihill had blown his whistle for a foul before she buried it.

Coppinger pointed for Cork, who have to be credited for their never-say-die attitude as they kept fighting all the way to the end. Finn added another, but really at this stage they were no more than consolation scores as Dublin add the league title to their All-Ireland championship win over Cork last December.

Scorers for Dublin: H Tyrrell (0-4 f), S Aherne (f) 0-6 each, N Hetherton, C Rowe 1-0 each, S Killeen, J Dunne, L Davey 0-1 each.

Cork: O Finn 0-8 (0-6 f), L Coppinger 1-1, A O'Sullivan, S O'Leary, E Scally, C O'Sullivan 0-1 each.

DUBLIN: A Sheils; M Byrne, N Collins, H Leahy; L Caffrey, O Carey, L Magee; S McGrath, J Dunne; H Tyrrell, L Davey, S Killeen; S Aherne, N Hetherton, C O’Connor.

Subs: C Rowe for N Hetherton (37), N McEvoy for S Killeen (39), L Collins for H Leahy (45), K Sullivan for C O'Connor (48), C Trant for A Sheils (51),

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

Subs: D Kiely for A O'Sullivan (14), E Cleary for D Kiely (38), E Scally for S O'Leary (39), S Kelly for A Hutchings (43),

Referee: Seamus Mulvihill, Kerry.


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