Cork ladies football clubs march on in the Munster championships 

Mourneabbey, Valley Rovers and Castlehaven all pushed into the next stages of the provincial championships
Cork ladies football clubs march on in the Munster championships 

Anna Ryan, Mourneabbey, battling Laura Cleary, Éire Óg. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

MOURNEABBEY will renew their rivalry with Ballymacarbry in the semi-finals of this year’s Munster LGFA senior football club championship.

Shane Ronayne’s side overcame a stiff challenge from Clare champions, the Banner, before emerging 3-15 to 3-5 quarter-final winners in Mallow last Sunday.

Cork senior Doireann O’Sullivan was in top form and scored seven points on an afternoon Laura Fitzgerald, Ellie Jack and Ciara O’Callaghan goals proved equally important.

Mourneabbey were missing Cork senior Ciara O’Sullivan due to injury but were delighted to see Róisín O’Sullivan make a substitute appearance following a long lay-off.

Doireann O’Sullivan contributed 0-4 in the first 15 minutes of a hard-hitting tie dotted with plenty of meaty tackles. O’Sullivan’s side led 1-5 to 0-3 at the first water break. The eventual winners stretched that lead to four at the interval before Ellie Jack and Ciara O’Callaghan goals answered Gráinne Nolan’s green flag for the Banner.

A determined Mourneabbey overcame Anna Ryan’s sin-binning to comfortably see out the closing stages despite a late Aoibhinn Ryan goal. That quarter-final victory has set up a meeting with old rivals Ballymacarbry in Mourneabbey the week after next. Clearly, it is a matchup Shane Ronayne and his players are looking forward to.

“We have a big two weeks ahead of us to get ourselves right for Ballymacarbry as they are serious opposition,” Mourneabbey’s manager admitted.

Castlehaven cruised into the Munster junior A club championship semi-finals following a facile win over St Anne’s last Sunday. The Waterford champions proved no match for their Cork counterparts and were 17 points down at the end of a one-sided opening half in Mallow.

The West Cork club added a further 1-4 after the break and emptied their substitutes bench to register a 4-15 to 1-3 success. The Haven are expecting a much tougher challenge against Tipperary champions Mulinahone in Brinny next Saturday.

First-half goals from Shelly Daly and Grainne O’Sullivan set Castlehaven on their way to victory. A converted Hannah McGrath penalty was St Anne’s only first-half score after O’Sullivan notched her second green flag. An Eilis Bohane goal early in the second half confirmed the West Cork club’s place in the last four.

“We felt very comfortable out there for most of the game,” Castlehaven captain Siobhan Courtney admitted.

“Today was an opportunity to get a lot of our panel on to the pitch and they got a good run out. 

We felt comfortable but that was no harm after such a tough game with Dohenys in the junior A county final last week. We are delighted with the win and to be into a Munster semi-final.”

Gráinne O’Sullivan was in excellent scoring form, finishing with 2-3 of her side’s winning total. Shelly Daly and Eilis Bohane added 1-1 apiece with Rachel Whelton (0-4) also getting her name on the Castlehaven scoresheet. Hannah McGrath (penalty) and Jane Kirwin provided St Anne’s scores.

Valley Rovers travelled to Michael Cusack Park in Clare last Saturday. The newly crowned Cork LGFA IFC county champions registered a hard-earned 1-9 to 0-9 Munster intermediate quarter-final victory over Burren Gaels.

A heavy pitch saw two sides hold nothing back and change ends tied 0-5 apiece. Burren Gaels edged a point ahead, 0-8 to 0-7, at the final water break before the tie’s most important score. Valley Rovers captain Michelle O’Regan found the back of the net courtesy of a fortuitous effort.

The Cork champions withstood a ferocious fightback until a second Burren Gaels yellow card of the afternoon upset the hosts’ chances of forcing extra-time. Valley’s ran out three-point winners thanks to Michelle O’Regan (1-4), Daire Kiely and Eimear Kiely (0-2 each) and Cliona O’Riordan (0-1) scores.

That result has set up a Munster IFC semi-final between Valley Rovers and Limerick champions Monagea in Brinny next weekend. Rovers manager Denis Kiely was just glad to get out of Clare with a win. “It was very, very tough going,” Kiely admitted.

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