Bríd O'Sullivan goal gives Cork win after a tense test against Meath

Ladies footballers were pushed all the way by the 2020 intermediate champions
Bríd O'Sullivan goal gives Cork win after a tense test against Meath

Bríd O'Sullivan hit the vital goal for Cork against Meath.

Cork 1-9 Meath 0-10

BRÍD O'Sullivan's goal just before half-time proved vital as Cork got their TG4 All-Ireland campaign off to a winning start at Birr.

In a tie that was close all through the experience of the Rebels told in the end, with the likes of Hannah Looney, Melissa Duggan, Ciara O'Sullivan and Aine O'Sullivan superb to ensure Cork took the points.

Also on the positive side for the Rebels was the return to action of Marie Ambrose who was rock solid at corner-back having been out for two years injured. 

Finn was the first to raise the white flag when she pointed from a free in the first minute, with Stacey Grimes replying for Meath, also from a free.

Sadhbh O'Leary got the first point from play for Cork, with a sweeping move out of defence seeing Emma Duggan making it 0-2 apiece.

With nine minutes gone Meath had the ball in the net but referee, John Devlin, ruled it out for a square ball. Another Finn free had Cork back in front and just before the water break, Meath were unlucky not to get a goal.

Aoibhin Cleary took on the Cork defence, beating several players to play Grimes in. Her pass found Bridgetta Lynch who effort clipped the bar and the danger was cleared as Cork led 0-3 to 0-2 at the water break.

Points from Finn and Ciara O'Sullivan increased Cork's lead, with Meath missing a number of opportunities to raise the white flag from frees.

Grimes did score one in the 28th minute with Cleary also pointing to put one between the sides.

However just before half-time a cross-field pass from Looney found Duggan who burst in from the wing. She beat several defenders and her pass found Brid O'Sullivan who had the simple task of tapping into the empty net to see her side lead 1-5 to 0-4 at half-time.

Both sides missed chances early in the second half before Grimes pointed from a free. It seemed very soft and Looney's protest saw her sin-binned for 10 minutes. Finn pointed from a free to keep four between them but then had to go off injured.

Grimes raised the white flag from a free, with Duggan replying for Cork, but Meath made the extra player count, with points from Lynch and Niamh O'Sullivan, to make it 0-8 to 1-7.

A brilliant one-two between O'Leary and Scally saw the latter in on goal only for Meath keeper, Monica McGuirk, to save superbly to deny her what looked like a certain goal.

Grimes pointed from another free with Scally replying for Cork. In a tense finish, Duggan pointed for Meath put one between them again before a point in the last minute saw Cork run out winners by 1-9 to 0-10.

Scorers for Cork: B O'Sullivan 1-0, O Finn 0-4 (0-3 f), E Scally 0-2 f, S O'Leary, M Duggan, C O'Sullivan 0-1 each.

Meath: S Grimes 0-5 f, E Duggan 0-2, A Cleary, N O'Sullivan, B Lynch 0-1 each.

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

Subs: E Kiely for M O'Callaghan (15 inj), A O'Sullivan for L Coppinger (ht), D Kiely for O Finn (38 inj), K Quirke for B O'Sullivan (50), S Kelly for E Kiely (55),

MEATH: M McGuirk; E Troy, MK Lynch, K Newe; A Leahy, A Cleary, O Byrne; V Wall, M O’Shaughnessy; S Ennis, S Grimes, N O’Sullivan; O Lally, E Duggan, B Lynch.

Subs: M Thynne for A Leahy, N Gallogly for O Byrne (both 38), S Melia for O Lally (55).

Referee: John Devlin, Galway.

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