Ruthless Mourneabbey pick up a seventh Munster title

Cork ladies football powerhouse will now gear up for a tilt at the All-Ireland in the new year
Ruthless Mourneabbey pick up a seventh Munster title

Mourneabbey celebrate at the final whistle after their win against Aherlow. Picture: Larry Cummins.

Mourneabbey 4-10 Aherlow (Tipperary) 0-8

MOURNEABBEY retained their Munster Ladies Senior A football title after their win over Aherlow at Mallow.

The win sees them make it seven titles in a row, over eight years as this competition wasn't played last year.

Conditions were a huge factor in this tie with an extremely strong wind blowing down the pitch and torrential rain at times, reminiscent of Storm Barra, and it was always going to be the old saying of a 'game of two halves'.

Mournebbey had the wind in the first half and it was no surprise to see them lead by 3-7 to 0-3 at half-time.

In that half Aherlow never got to grips with the likes of Doireann O'Sullivan, Laura Fitzgerald and Ciara O'Sullivan, backed up by Brid O'Sullivan and Maire O'Callaghan. Fitzgerald showed she is a goal-scoring machine added another hat-trick to the one she got in the semi-final. No surprise she was named Player of the Game afterwards.

After the break they had to rely on their running game and strong defensive display from the likes of Eimear Meaney and Kathryn Coakley.

Doireann O'Sullivan opened the scoring in the second minute and from the restart she was unlucky not to get a goal, with Aherlow keeper Emer McCarthy saving well to deny her.

She added a second point in the fourth minute before Mourneabbey got their first goal. Eimear Harrington and Fizgerald combined to put Emma Coakley through and this time McCarthy had no chance of saving.

Doireann O'Sullivan got her third point as Mourneabbey led 1-3 to no score with eight minutes played.

 Roisin O'Sullivan, Mourneabbey, in action in the Munster senior ladies football final. Picture: Larry Cummins.
Roisin O'Sullivan, Mourneabbey, in action in the Munster senior ladies football final. Picture: Larry Cummins.

Ciara O'Sullivan added another before Aherlow had their first attack, with Anna Rose Kennedy bursting past several defenders. It eventually lead to a free for her side which Emma Morrissey pointed to get Aherlow off the mark.

Doireann O'Sullivan set up Eimear Harrington to raise another white flag as Mourneabbey led 1-5 to 0-1 at the water break.

Mourneabbey's second goal came just after the break with Doireann O'Sullivan setting up Laura Fitzgerald to find the back of the net.

Both of them added points to make it 2-7 to 0-1, before Morrissey pointed from another free for Aherlow.

With 22 minutes gone Fitzgerald picked the ball up from a kick-out and bore down on goal but again McCarthy showed her class as a keeper to deny her.

But three minutes later Fitzgerald got her second and Mourneabbey's third after some good work by Ciara O'Sullivan and Deirdre Cronin left her with a simple tap in.

Just before half-time Morrissey got Aherlow's third point, from another free to see the Cork side lead 3-7 to 0-3 at half-time. The question at that point was had Mourneabbey built up enough of a lead as they turned to face the near gale-force wind.

Mourneabbey laid down a marker at the start of the second half with Ciara O'Sullivan increasing their lead.

It took Aherlow nine minutes to score after the break and at that it was another Morrissey free as Mourneabbey continued to dominate.

Aherlow's first score came from play, with Morrissey pointing and Doireann O'Sullivan replied at the other end to keep Mourneabbey well in control.

Just before the water break, Morrisey pointed another free as Mourneabbey led 3-9 to 0-6 at the second-half water break.

Any slim hope of an Aherlow fightback were duly crushed on the resumption with Fitzgerald getting her third goal.

Brid Condon pointed for Aherlow but the game was well and truly over a contest by this stage. Mourneabbey now move on to the All-Ireland series in January, where they will bid to retain that title as well.

Scorers for Mourneabbey: L Fitzgerald 3-1, E Coakley 1-0, D O'Sullivan 0-6 (3f), C O'Sullivan 0-2, E Harrington 0-1.

Aherlow: E Morrissey 0-8 (0-7 f), B Condon 0-1.

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, R O'Sullivan, B O'Sullivan; C O'Sullivan, D O'Sullivan, L Fitzgerald.

Subs: D Cronin for E Coakley (17), C Harrington for E Jack (44), A Walsh for A Ryan (51), A Cronin for R O'Sullivan, K O'Toole for C O'Sullivan (both 53)

AHERLOW: E McCarthy; G Condon, B Condon, G Blackburn; L Ivory, C Kennedy, G Ryan; S Condon, AR Kennedy; M Condon, C McCarthy, S Morrissey; E Looby, E Morrissey, C Mullins.

Subs: A Ryan for C Mullins (35), U Carew for E Looby (48), C Riordan for G Blackburn, E English for S Morrissey (both 56).

Referee: Patrick Smith, Waterford.

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