Cork 2-10 Waterford 1-5
CORK are through to the quarter-finals of the TG4 All-Ireland championship after a hard-fought win over Waterford in Portlaoise.
The win means they topped the group, having got the better of Donegal a week earlier. This was never going to be an easy encounter, with Waterford using a blanket defence to try and curb the Cork attack.
For long parts of the game, they had only one player in the Cork half as they tried to deny the Rebels space and then break at pace when they regained possession. It was as frustrating to watch as it was for the Cork players at times, but the Déise knew that a win would put them through to the quarter-finals and that was all they were concerned about.
But patience paid off in the end for Cork as they ran out deserving winners with some impressive displays. Defensively Roisín Phelan, Eimear Meaney and Laura O’Mahony were outstanding and up front Libby Coppinger worked hard all through. Ciara O’Sullivan was her usual self and her sister, Doireann didn’t put a foot wrong.
Such was Cork’s dominance in the second half they kept Waterford scoreless as they added 1-7 of their own. It was no surprise that Doireann was named Player of the Game afterward but Phelan must have run her a very close second.
The Déise had the strong wind in their favour for the first half and straight from the start, they had their first chance, with Katie Murray running at the Cork defence. Her pass found Áine O’Neill and she played Annie Fitzgerald in, but Meabh O’Sullivan was quickly off her line to deny a green flag.
With the elements, Waterford had the better of the early exchanges but they couldn’t break down the Cork defence, with Roisín Phelan and Eimear Meaney making a number of telling tackles and blocks.
Cork took the lead eight minutes in when Doireann O’Sullivan pointed from a free, with Waterford being wasteful down the other end, before Murray equalised in the 10th minute.
She put her side in front before the Rebels retook the lead, following a mistake by the Waterford keeper. Katie O’Hanlon’s kick-out went straight to Orla Finn and she combined with Áine O’Sullivan to set up Doireann O’Sullivan to find the back of the net
Waterford were soon back on level terms with Lauren McGregor pointing from a free and Kellyann Hogan also raising a white flag, to make it 0-4 to 1-1 after 19 minutes. A minute later and the Deise were in front when Fitzgerald played McGregor in and this time Meabh O’Sullivan had no chance of saving.
A brilliant point from Kate McGrath increased their lead before Ciara O’Sullivan raised a white flag, to make it 1-2 to 1-5. It was down to a two-point game when Doireann was on target again, with 24 minutes gone.
Cork had two late goal chances, with O’Hanlon making up for her earlier error when she saved superbly from Libby Coppinger after a brilliant pass from Doireann O’Sullivan put her in on goal.
Just before the half-time whistle Áine O’Sullivan was denied by a last-gasp block from Emma Murray, to see Waterford lead 1-5 to 1-3 at the break.
Now with the strong wind at their backs Cork started the second-half much the better of the two sides as they also brought in fresh legs with Katie Quirke and Aisling Hutchings replacing Áine and Brid O’Sullivan respectively.
It was down to one when Doireann O’Sullivan pointed and she was unlucky not to get a goal from the restart when her chip went just wide, with O’Hanlon well beaten.
With less that three minutes gone Cork were denied another goal, this time O’Hanlon saving well from Laura O’Mahony.
With 39 minutes gone the sides were level when Doireann O’Sullivan raised her fourth white flag and she put her side in front from a free four minutes later.
Waterford continued with their blanket approach but tiring players saw Cork start to find gaps, with Doireann O’Sullivan pointing again to put two between the sides, 1-7 to 1-5, while up the other end their defence weren’t giving the Déise an inch.
Any hope of a Deise comeback were well and truly dashed with five minutes to go when Coppinger got the goal her display deserved, after another great ball from Doireann O’Sullivan as the Rebels move on to the quarter-finals and Waterford bow out.
D O’Sullivan 1-7 (0-4 f), L Coppinger 1-0, C O’Sullivan 0-2, K Quirke 0-1.
L McGregor 1-1 (0-1 f), K Murray 0-2, Kate McGrath, K Hogan 0-1 each. M O’Sullivan; R Phelan, E Meaney, M Cahalane; M Duggan, M O’Callaghan, L O’Mahony; S Leahy, B O’Sullivan; E Cleary, C O’Sullivan, L Coppinger; Á O’Sullivan, D O’Sullivan, O Finn.
K Quirke for A O'Sullivan, A Hutchings for B O’Sullivan (both h-t), E Scally for O Finn (43), R Leahy for E Cleary, S Kelly for S Leahy (both 53).
K O’Hanlon; Kate McGrath, M Dunford, H Power; M Wall, L Mulcahy, Karen McGrath; E Murray, Á O’Neill; L McGregor, K Hogan, A Fitzgerald; K Murray, A Wall, R Casey.
for B McMaugh for L McGregor (ht), C Fennell for M Wall (40), A Mullaney for Á O’Neill, C McGrath for K Hogan (both 54),
Jonathan Murphy, Carlow.