CORK finished their Lidl Ladies NFL Division 1 on a high after a hard-fought win over Meath at Páirc Uí Rinn on Saturday.
They were helped by two first-half green flags from Libby Coppinger and Eimear Kiely which they needed in the end as Meath came back at them after the break.
But there was plenty for the Rebels to be happy about with Sarah Murphy, Roisin Phelan, Erika O’Shea, Emma Cleary, and Ciara O’Sullivan leading by example on the day.
Meath made four changes to the team announced with Olivia Gore, Vikki Wall, Shelly Melia, and Orlaith Mallon, coming in for Aine Sheridan, Ali Sherlock, Ciara Smyth and Amy O’Leary respectively. Cork had to make one late change with Anna Ryan replacing the unwell Orlaith Cahalane.
Chances and scores were few and far between early on before Meath’s Aoibhin Cleary broke the deadlock in the fifth minute, with Ciara O’Sullivan replying for the home side.
Niamh O’Sullivan put Meath back in front, with Ciara O’Sullivan replying from the restart to make it 0-2 each after 10 minutes.
A minute later, Cork raised a green flag when a shot from Doireann O’Sullivan dropped short, but Libby Coppinger was on hand to catch and shoot to make it 1-2 to 0-2.
Coppinger followed up with a point to increase Cork’s lead before Stacey Grimes pulled a point back for Meath.
A foul by Katie Newe on Anna Ryan saw referee Seamus Mulvihill award Cork a penalty but Monica McGuirk superbly saved Emma Cleary’s effort.
Cleary got her second to put two between the sides before Cork keeper Sarah Murphy saved brilliantly to deny Shelly Melia a green flag.
Dara Kiniry got Cork’s fourth point to put a goal between the sides again with Niamh O’Sullivan replying for the visitors.
Doireann O’Sullivan, in her first game of the league, was denied a goal by the width of the crossbar when she rattled it in the 24th minute, with the Meath defence clearing the danger.
The visitors were denied another possible goal, this time Murphy saving well from Cleary. Cork worked the ball straight down the pitch and they enjoyed more success as Eimear Kiely struck for their second green flag, to make it 2-4 to 0-5 and she added a point to increase Cork’s lead to see them lead by six points at half-time.
Emma Duggan came on for the second half and was soon on the scoresheet as she pointed from a free with Ciara O’Sullivan, again, responding for Cork.
White flags from Orlaith Mallon and Grimes made it 0-8 to 2-6 with 44 minutes gone.
A minute later and Cork had another goal chance with Abbie O’Mahony’s effort somehow going across the goal rather than finding the back of the net.
Two frees from Grimes had three points between the sides with five minutes to go before Olivia Callan made it a two-point game. But a late effort from Kiely secured the win for Cork.
E Kiely 1-3 (0-2 f), L Coppinger 1-1, C O’Sullivan 0-3, D Kiniry 0-1.
S Grimes 0-4 (0-2 f), A Cleary, N O’Sullivan 0-2 each, E Duggan, O Mallon, O Callan 0-1 each.
S Murphy; M Duggan, E Meaney, R Phelan; E O’Shea, S Kelly, D Kiniry; H Looney, S Leahy; L Coppinger, D O’Sullivan, E Cleary; A Ryan, E Kiely, C O’Sullivan.
E Jack for D O’Sullivan (ht), A O’Mahony for L Coppinger (33), B O’Sullivan for H Looney (42), L McDonagh for E Cleary (52), E Twomey for D Kiniry (55), S McGoldrick for A Ryan (58), A Ring for E Kiely (59).
M McGuirk; O Gore, M.K. Lynch, K Newe; N Gallogly, S Ennis, A Cleary; M O’Shaughnessy, A Minogue; M Thynne, V Wall, S Melia; O Mallon, S Grimes, N O’Sullivan.
E Duggan for S Melia (ht), O Callan for O Mallon (38), A McCabe for M O’Shaughnessy, A Leahy for N Gallogly (both 48), A Sherlock for M Thynne (52).
Seamus Mulvihill, Kerry.