Mourneabbey grab seventh title in eight seasons by holding off Éire Óg

First Cork LGFA final to be staged at Páirc Uí Chaoimh went the way of the hot favourites
Mourneabbey grab seventh title in eight seasons by holding off Éire Óg

Anna Ryan, Mourneabbey, gets to the ball ahead of Laura Cleary, Éire Óg, in the Cork LGFA final at Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

Mourneabbey 1-11 Éire Óg 1-6

JOY for Mourneabbey as they won back the Cork Ladies Football Senior A title at Páirc Uí Chaoimh, the first time the final was played at the new stadium.

In a remarkable run for the club it's their seventh title in eight years, having lost out last year to West Cork in the decider.

Overall they were the better side with the likes of Doireann O'Sullivan, Laura Fitzgerald, Brid O'Sullivan and Ellie Jack leading their attack. Defensively Eimear Meaney had a right battle with her fellow Cork player, Eimear Scally. Even though Scally got all the Éire Óg scores, Meaney can be happy with her efforts as most of them, bar two came from frees, the goal a penalty.

They will now go on to defend the Munster and All-Ireland titles,they won in 2019, with neither competition played last year.

It was like a game of chess early on as both sides tried to get a grip of proceedings. It took some time for the tie to settle down with the first score eventually coming five minutes in when Doireann O'Sullivan pointed from a free for Mourneabbey, having been fouled herself.

But their lead didn't last long as after consulting with his umpires referee Peter O'Leary awarded Éire Óg a penalty. A free from Eimear Scally landed in around the square and Mourneabbey defender Aisling O'Sullivan was judged to have fouled the ball, leading to the penalty.

Scally coolly slotted home for their opening score to make it 1-0 to 0-1 with eight minutes on the clock.

Scores were few and far between early on and it took until the 15tth minute for the next to come, but it was worth the wait.

A brilliant run from Doireann O'Sullivan saw her play Laura Fitzgerald in and when she gets sight of a goal she doesn't miss too often.

Her shot to the roof of the net gave Lisa Crowley no chance of saving as Mourneabbey retook the lead. But again Éire Óg responded with Scally splitting the posts at the other end to see them level at the water break, 1-1 apiece.

A few words from the Mourneabbey management seemed to wake them up as they started to dominate, with Doireann O'Sullivan restoring their lead. She raised another white flag, to make it 1-3 to 1-1.

They continued to pile on the pressure with Fitzgerald adding another point and with 25 minutes on the clock Ellie Jack got in on the scoring act, to make it 1-5 to 1-1.

Scally, Éire Óg's only scorer in the first half, added a point from a free, with Doireann O'Sullivan doing the same at the other end.

That proved to be the last score of the half as Mourneabbey went in 1-6 to 1-2 to the good, but knowing they would be playing against the slight wind in the second half.

 Eimear Harrington, Mourneabbey, tackling Aishling O'Connell, Éire Óg. Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Eimear Harrington, Mourneabbey, tackling Aishling O'Connell, Éire Óg. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

Again chances were scarce on the restart with Ciara O'Sullivan going close for Mourneabbey before Scally raised another white flag for Éire Óg to reduce the deficit.

They were a little unlucky in the build-up not to be in on goal when Aisling O'Connell played in Isobel Sheehan, who had burst forward from corner-back.

But she was fouled as she went to pick up the ball, leading to the free, converted by Scally.

Jack raised a white flag at the other end, with Ciara O'Sullivan extending their lead further as her influence on the game started to grow.

With 42 minutes gone Mourneabbey found themselves down to 14 as Aisling O'Sullivan was sin-binned for a foul on Elaine Crowley. Scally pointed the long-range free, to make it 1-4 to 1-8 as the tie started to heat up.

Jack pointed another free, as despite being a player down Mourneabbey led 1-9 to 1-4 at the second-half water break.

Fitzgerald and Scally raised white flags before Orlaith Cahalane was denied a goal by Mourneabbey shot-stopper Meabh O'Sullivan.

Scally raised another white flag but it was no more than a consolation score as Mourneabbey ran out deserving winners to win back their title.

Scorers for Mourneabbey: D O'Sullivan 0-5 (3f), L Fitzgerald 1-2, E Jack 0-3 (2f), C O'Sullivan 0-1.

Éire Óg: E Scally 1-6 (1-0 pen, 4f).

MOURNEABBEY: M O'Sullivan; A O'Sullivan, E Meaney, K Coakley; A Ryan, M O'Callaghan, E Jack; E Coakley, N O'Sullivan; E Harrington, C O'Sullivan, B O'Sullivan; A Cronin, D O'Sullivan, L Fitzgerald

Subs: C O'Callaghan for A Cronin (40), D Cronin for L Fitzgerald (60).

ÉIRE ÓG: L Crowley; A Hickey, J O'Gorman, I Sheehan; M Cahalane, S McGoldrick, E Crowley; S Cronin, A O'Connell; A Nic a Bhaird, E Cleary, C O'Connor; A Rodgers, E Scally, L Cleary.

Subs: O Cahalane for C O'Connor, R Murphy for A Rodgers (both 46), R Sheehy for J O'Gorman, B Feeney for A Nic a Bhaird (both 59).

Referee: Peter O'Leary (Inch Rovers).

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