By ANTHONY NEWMAN
A goal from Hannah Looney helped Cork to a derby victory over Kerry in their Lidl NFL Division 1 clash at Páirc Uí Chaoimh.
The home side had to withstand a second-half comeback from the table-toppers to inflict a first league defeat on Kerry this season.
Orlaith Cahalane opened the scoring for Cork in the second minute, picking up the loose ball after Katie Quirke’s shot on goal had been blocked. Eimear Kiely added a second from the restart as Cork pushed up to try and put pressure on the Kerry kick-outs.
Four minutes in, and from their first attack, Hannah O’Donoghue pointed for the Kingdom to make it 0-2 to 0-1. O’Donoghue thought she had levelled it, but her effort was ruled out for taking too many steps.
Quirke combined with Sarah Leahy for the former to get Cork’s third point before O’Donoghue missed a good opportunity to reduce the gap.
Rachel Dwyer made it 0-3 to 0-2 as Kerry started to settle into the game. Kiely and Ciara O’Sullivan both scored to keep Cork ahead before they too had a goal chance ruled out for overcarrying.
Libby Coppinger added a point, before Ciara O’Sullivan set up Hannah Looney for the game’s opening goal, to make it 1-6 to 0-2 with 19 minutes played.
O’Donoghue and Dwyer, from a free, responded for Kerry with Cahalane replying at the other end. Two more from Kiely saw Cork lead by 1-9 to 0-4 at half-time.
Kiely started the second half as she finished the first, with two pointed frees to push the Rebels further in front. Cork were denied a second goal when Ciara Butler saved brilliant from Dara Kiniry’s effort.
Abigail Ring, on as sub at half-time, increased Cork’s lead to make it 1-12 to 0-4. But Kerry weren’t going to go away easily and Síofra O’Shea goaled for them to bring the visitors back into contention.
Kiely and O’Shea exchanged scores as Cork led 1-13 to 1-5 with 15 minutes left. Three minutes later O’Shea got her, and Kerry’s, second goal to make it 1-15 to 2-5 as the visitors showed why they had been undefeated in the league to this point.
Shauna Kelly scored again for Cork with O’Shea replying for Kerry as time ran out and Cork took the points on offer.
Scorers for Cork: E Kiely 0-8 (7f), H Looney 1-1, O Cahalane 0-2, K Quirke, C O’Sullivan, L Coppinger, A Ring, S Kelly, D Kiniry 0-1 each.
Kerry: S O’Shea 2-2 (1f), R Dwyer (2f), H O’Donoghue 0-2 each.
CORK: M O’Sullivan; M Duggan, E Meaney, R Phelan; S Kelly, M O’Callaghan, R Leahy; H Looney, S Leahy; L Coppinger, K Quirke, E Cleary; O Cahalane, E Kiely, C O’Sullivan.
Subs: D Kiniry for O’Callaghan (23), A O’Mahony for Leahy, A Ring for Cahalane (both ht), A Ryan for Duggan (42), E Jack for Coppinger (49), S McGoldrick for Cleary (50), B O’Sullivan for Looney (52), L McDonagh for Kiely, A McDonagh for R Leahy (both 57).
KERRY: C Butler; C O’Brien, E Lynch, A Dillane; C Lynch, E Costello, C Murphy; K Cronin, M O’Connell; N Carmody, A Galvin, A Harrington; F Tangney, R Dwyer, H O’Donoghue.
Subs: N Ni Chonchuir for M O’Connell, S O’Shea for Tangney, E McGlynn for Dwyer (all ht), L Scanlon for Carmody, A O’Connell for O’Brien, N Broderick for Dillane (47), K Brosnan for O’Donoghue (49), K A Hanrahan for Harrington (57).
Referee: Kevin Phelan (Laois).