No Joy For Kerry Ladies In Mallow.

Lidl Ladies National Football League Division 1

Kerry 1-11 Cork 5-17

It was always going to be a tough task for new Kerry senior ladies manager Graham Shine last Sunday. Facing into a National Football league Division 1 campaign against the reigning champions Cork was never going to be easy, and with just over 3 weeks to prepare his team for the challenge the Kerry girls were certainly put to the sword by a ruthless Cork machine.

The National League is usually a slow burner for the Cork ladies, generally it takes them a few weeks to build momentum as they get back from the winter break.On Sunday in Mallow however, they left a statement of intent for others to see and in scoring 5 goals and 17 points put out a signal that quite simply they are not going to give up the National League title that they won in 2016 in a hurry. That Cork won the game so convincingly with just 7 of the team that won last September’s All Ireland final should put shivers of fear into the other teams in the top tier of the ladies National football League.

On the other hand the fact that Kerry had such limited preparation definitely told against them on the day. There is no doubt that they will improve as the league goes on and will pick up points, there is quality in this Kerry side but their fitness level isn’t at the required standard yet.. At times on Sunday they played some good football but Cork were just that little bit sharper and fitter.

Kerry needed a good start to the game but it was Cork that raced into a 1-3 to 0-1 lead with only 7 minutes gone with 2 pointed frees from Orla Finn and one from play by Orla Farmer. Kerry’s reply came courtesy of a sweet Megan O’Connell point but then disaster struck for the Kingdom when Ciara O’Sullivan struck for the first of her 2 goals following a misplaced Kerry kick out. In fact Cork began to completely dominate the Kerry kick out, winning 4 in a row, and struck for another goal from the crafty Orla Finn as well as points from Ciara O’Sullivan, who was calling all sorts of problems to the Kerry defence, and midfielder Niamh Cotter, to push them into a 2-5 to 0-1 lead.

Credit to Kerry who fought back with points from Louise Ni Mhuircheartaigh, Sarah Houlihan and Megan O’Connell but Cork continued to dominate the exchanges and points from Libby Coppinger, and Ciara O’Sullivan were followed by a second goal for O’Sullivan to put Cork into an unassailable 12 point lead, 3-8 to 5 points, with only 20 minutes gone in the first half. Kerry were in dissaray and Cork continued to press forward and added points through Orla Finn and Eimear Scally but Kerry’s Anna Galvin showed dour resistance when she pointed for Kerry following a lung bursting 50 metre run through the Cork defence.Sarah Houlihan pointed for Kerry following the Cork kick out, but 2 minutes later the Kerry defence was dismantled once more and Brid O’Sullivan goaled after Kerry goalkeeper Elaine O’Sullivan’s save from Libby Coppinger fell at the feet of O’Sullivan who easily finished to the empty net. Kerry did have a genuine shout for a penalty soon afterwards when Ni Mhuircheartaigh appeared to be fouled when bearing down on goal but referee Jason Mullins waved the Kerry appeals away. Megan O’Connell scored a lovely point from an acute angle but Kerry were grateful to hear the half time whistle as they despondently trotted to the dressing room 13 points down, 4-10 to 0-9.

Kerry needed a good start to the second half and they almost got it when Cork netminder Martina O’Brien was forced to make a good save when Louise Ni Mhuircheartaigh’s goalbound shot was parried away at the expense of a ’45 when a goal looked certain. Farmer pointed for Cork but soon afterwards Amanda Brosnan gave Kerry a glimmer of hope when she goaled following a courageous run through

the middle from Ni Mhuircheartaigh. Cork responded with 2 pointed frees from Orla Finn and an exquisite goal from Eimear Scally who lobbed Elaine O’Sullivan after a good pass from Coppinger, to leave Cork 5-12 to 1-10 ahead with just 15 minutes left on the clock. Both teams rang the changes from the bench and the addition of the substitutes seemed to disrupt the flow of the game as the two sides committed some sloppy turnovers. There was still time for Farmer, Ciara O’Sullivan, Niamh Cotter and Aine Hayes to point for the Rebels with Kerry’s solitary reply coming from the boot of Laura Rogers in the final minute.

Kerry ; Elaine O Sullivan, Ciara Murphy, Aislinn Desmond, Eilish Lynch, Laura Rogers(0-1), Caroline Kelly, Denise Hallissey, Lorraine Scanlon, Emma Sherwood, Anna Galvin(0-1), Amanda Brosnan(1-0), Miriam O’Keeffe, Sarah Houlihan(0-3), Megan O’Connell(0-3) Louise Ni Mhuircheartaigh(0-3,1f). Subs ;Patrice Dennehy (O’Connell 44),Rheanne O’Shea(Galvin 44),Erin Finucane (Houlihan 49), Sarah Murphy (Hallissey 52),Bruggener(E O’Sullivan 54), Niamh Carmody(O’Keeffe 55).

Cork ;Martina O’Brien,Marie Ambrose, Roisin Whelan, Melissa Duggan, Sinead Cotter, Roisin O’Sullivan, Shauna Kelly, Niamh Cotter (0-2), Ashling Hutchings,Libby Coppinger(0-2), Ciara O’Sullivan(2-3), Orlagh Farmer(0-3), Eimear Scally(1-1), Brid O’Sullivan(1 goal), Orla Finn(1-5,5f). Subs ;Louise Colohan(Hutchings 48),Jess O’She(Kelly 48),Eimear Meaney (Coppinger 48), Emma Spillane (S Cotter 48), Mairead Corkery (B O’Sullivan), Grace Kearney(Finn 51),Emma Farmer(0-1) (Scally 55).

Referee; Jason Mullins (Limerick)