TG4 MUNSTER SENIOR CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL
By Anthony Newman
A four goal first half blitz saw Cork retain their TG4 Munster Senior Championship title at Mallow.
Two green flags from Libby Coppinger, along with efforts from Kaire Quirke and Ciara O’Sullivan, saw Cork in a commanding lead at half time and they needed it all after a brilliant fightback by Kerry in in the second half.
The Kingdom will also rue two missed penalties in the second half which cost them dearly in the end.
Doireann O’Sullivan opened the scoring for Cork in the first minute and she added a second from a free a minute later.
Kerry had the chance to take the lead when Louise Ní Mhuircheartaigh played a superb ball to Hannah O’Donoghue but Meabh O’Sullivan saved superbly to deny her a goal.
Eimear Kiely increased Cork’s lead before they got the first goal of the final. Orlaith Cahalane played in Coppinger to give Ciara Butler no chance of saving. O’Sullivan raised another white flag, before Anna Galvin got Kerry off the mark, to make it 1-4 to 0-1 after seven minutes.
O’Sullivan added another from a free before Cork got their second goal. Cahalane and O’Sullivan were involved again for Coppinger to make it 2-5 to 0-1.
Aishling O’Connell got Kerry’s second point and Niamh Ní Chonchúir added another for them as they started to settle and come more into the game.
Ciara O’Sullivan and Lorraine Scanlon exchanged points to make it 2-6 to 0-4 after 20 minutes. Some last ditch defending by Kerry denied Cork another goal, before Cahalane raised a white flag to extend her side’s lead.
Ní Mhuircheartaigh scored from before Cork scored their third goal of the first half. Katie Quirke picked up the ball and found Ciara O’Sullivan to find the back of the net to see Cork lead 3-8 to 0-6.
Ní Mhuircheartaigh and Doireann O’Sullivan both raised white flags, but Cork weren’t letting up and just before half-time Quirke got their fourth goal to see the Rebels lead by 4-10 to 0-7 at the break.
Ní Mhuircheartaigh opened the scoring on the re-start before Kerry were awarded a penalty for a tackle on Anna Galvin. But Ní Mhuircheartaigh put it wide, having sent the keeper the wrong way.
Credit to Ní Mhuircheartaigh she didn’t let it upset her as she slotted over the next two points as the Kingdom were now dominating.
They got the goal they deserved in the 39th minute when O’Donoghue scored to make it 1-11 to 4-10.
Cork got a much-needed score when a long ball in was caught by Cahalane and she raised her side’s fifth green flag to increase their lead to 5-10 to 1-13.
With 51 minutes gone Kerry were awarded another penalty, for a tackle on O’Leary but O’Sullivan denied Ní Mhuircheartaigh with a superb save.
Fiadhna Tagney got a late goal for Kerry but by then the game was beyond them as Cork ran out deserving winners by 5-14 to 2-16.
Scorers – Cork: D O’Sullivan 0-11 (6f), L Coppinger 2-0, O Cahalane, C O’Sullivan 1-1 each, K Quirke 1-0, E Kiely 0-1.
Kerry: L Ní Mhuircheartaigh 0-6 (4f), H O’Donoghue 1-2, F Tangney 1-0, D O’Leary 0-3, A O’Connell 0-2, A Galvin, L Scanlon, N Ní Chonchúir, L Galvin 0-1 each.
CORK: M O’Sullivan; A Ryan, E Meaney, R Phelan; M Duggan, S Kelly, S Leahy; A Healy, H Looney; L Coppinger, D O’Sullivan, E Kiely; O Cahalane, K Quirke, C O’Sullivan.
Subs: L O’Mahony for S Leahy, E Cleary for A Ryan (both 48), L Fitzgerald for L Coppinger (54), D Kiely for O Cahalane (56), D Kiniry for R Phelan (59).
KERRY: C Butler; E Lynch, K Cronin, A Dillane; A O’Connell, E Costello, C Murphy; L Scanlon, C Lynch; N Carmody, N Ní Chonchúir, A Galvin; H O’Donoghue, D O’Leary, L Ní Mhuircheartaigh.
Subs: L Galvin for A Dillane (20), A Harrington for N Carmody (48), S O’Shea for N Ní Mhuircheartaigh (54), N Broderick for A O’Connell (57).
Referee: Shane Curley (Galway).