Cork ladies footballers defeat Limerick in U16 B decider at Mallow

Cliodna McNamara's goal in the closing stages was key to landing the Sharon O'Keefe final
Cork ladies footballers defeat Limerick in U16 B decider at Mallow

Ladies Football: The Cork LGFA U16 B team that won the 2023 Munster LGFA Sharon O’Keefe final in Mallow.

Cork 2-11 Limerick 2-8 

CORK had to dig deep to overcome Limerick in Saturday’s Munster LGFA Sharon O’Keefe U16 B final at Mallow.

After a nervy start, Cork settled into a Munster decider in which Clodagh O’Flaherty and Cliodna McNamara goals proved crucial in seeing off a dogged Limerick.

Limerick’s Caitlin Moriarty opened the scoring with a terrific effort inside 2 minutes. Cork struggled to make headway and were guilty of repeatedly turning over possession until Shóna Cronin converted an equalising free after 10 minutes.

Next, Donoughmore goalkeeper Mollie Buckley produced an important stop to deny Moriarty a goal. Cork’s inability to make incisions in the final third was punished when Aoibnhinn O’Connor (twice) and Gemma Leahy made it 0-4 to 0-1.

Lauren Finnegan reduced the deficit but Limerick’s direct running ensured the Shannonsiders remained in the ascendancy. Both sides wastefulness in front of goal preceded a strong Cork finish.

Upping the tempo, Shóna Cronin scored from close range prior to a flowing move that ended with Clodagh O’Flaherty firing low into the net.

From trailing most of the entire half, Cork changed ends 1-3 to 0-4 ahead.

Shóna Cronin extended Cork’s lead but Limerick’s most prolific scorer Aoibhinn O’Connor responded. The St Brigids forward made it 1-4 to 0-6 courtesy of consecutive points (one free).

The Rebels were much improved in the second period and midfielder Theresa Dorgran burst clear to restore her team’s 2-point advantage.

Substitutes Saoirse Moynihan and Cassandra Fitzgerald made a positive impact and their scores plus a Laura Scannell effort edged Cork 1-8 to 0-6 clear with 13 minutes remaining.

A pulsating finish saw another Cronin free precede a superb Aoibhinn O’Connor goal at the opposite end. Level 1-10 to 2-7, Cork dug deep with substitute Cliodna McNamara finding the net with three minutes to go. Anna Coughlan replied with a Limerick point before a late Cassandra Fitzgerald free put the seal on a hard-earned Cork win.

Ladies Football: The Cork LGFA U16 B team that won the 2023 Munster LGFA Sharon O’Keefe final in Mallow.
Ladies Football: The Cork LGFA U16 B team that won the 2023 Munster LGFA Sharon O’Keefe final in Mallow.

Scorers for Cork: S Cronin 0-4 (0-2f), C O’Flaherty, C McNamara 1-0 each, C Fitzgerald 0-3 (0-2 f), L Finnegan, T Dorgan, L Scannell, S Moynihan 0-1 each. 

Limerick: A O’Connor 1-5 (0-1 f), G Leahy 1-1 (1-0 pen), C Moriarty, A Coughlan 0-1 each.

CORK: M Buckley; S Fielding, G O’Neill, A Ashman (c); E Young, A O’Sullivan, A Hayes; S O’Reilly, T Dorgan; L Finnegan, L Scannell, E Connolly; S Cronin, S Murray, C O’Flaherty.

Subs: C Fitzgerald for E Connolly (23), S Moynihan for C O’Flaherty (h-t), L Desmond for A O’Sullivan, C McNamara for S Murray (44).

LIMERICK: E Cleary; A McNamara, G Fitzgibbon; G Hunt, K O’Donnell, T Haynes; E Fitzgerald, O Barrett; C Moriarty, J Buckley, R Sonners; A Coughlan, G Leahy, A O’Connor.

Subs: A Buckley for C Moriarty (h-t), H Neville for A McNamara (41), C Hennessy for E Fitzgerald (44).

Referee: John Murphy (Tipperary).

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