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Saturday 30 August 2014

Cork edge thriller to claim their eighth All-Ireland in 10 years

Published 29/09/2013 | 17:49

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29 September 2013; Annie Walsh, Cork, has her shot blocked by Laura McEnaney, Monaghan. TG4 All-Ireland Ladies Football Senior Championship Final, Cork v Monaghan, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
Annie Walsh, Cork, has her shot blocked by Laura McEnaney

Cork claimed their eighth All-Ireland title in 10 years after they just got the better of a spirited Monaghan side by 1-10 to 1-9 in an absorbing final at Croke Park.

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The Rebellettes led at half-time by 1-6 to 0-6 thanks to a Valerie Mulcahy goal but Monaghan came storming back.

Linda Martin's second half penalty had the runners-up in front and they led by a point with eight minutes remaining but Cork leaders Juliet Murphy and Geraldine O'Flynn added late points and Cork edged it by a solitary point.

It was a shame that there had to be a loser in a game in which both sides poured their heart and soul into it and Sharon Courtney and Caominhe Mone for Monaghan were magnificent.

Monaghan's Catriona McConnell opened the scoring with amazing free-kick with the outside of her left foot but it was quickly cancelled out by Nollag Cleary who capitalised on a mistake to score.

Ciara McAnespie restored Monaghan's lead but Cork responded again through Annie Walsh.

Cork took the lead for the first time thanks to a brace of frees from Valerie Mulcahy.

Therese McNally hit back for the Ulster side Mulcahy gave a Cork a big boost midway through the half as she danced her way through the Monaghan defence and finished to the net.

Cork led by 1-5 to 0-3 when Juliet Murphy, who retired in June but came back to drive Cork to the final, fisted over after a fine run from midfield and it could have been more but for stout Monaghan defending with Sharon Courtney particularly effective.

Monaghan had a great chance to hit back with a goal of their own when Caoimhe Mone released Catriona McConnell but Elaine Harte kept her shot out with a fabulous save.

Caoimhe Mone was coming more and more into the game and she cut the arrears with a fine left-foot point and then a beauty from an acute angle with her left.

Valerie Mulcahy and Catriona McConnell swapped late frees in the first half and Cork led by 1-6 to 0-6 at the break.

Catriona McConnell added a free after the restart and soon afterwards Cora Courtney was brought down in the area for a penalty.

Waterford goalie stepped up and beat Elaine Harte from 12 metres and suddenly the Farney women were in front by a point.

Caoimhe Mone was pulling the strings for Monaghan and she set up McEnaney to score and Monaghan led by 1-8 to 1-6 with 24 minutes to go.

Geraldine O'Flynn added a massive point from distance to put a solitary point between the sides and Nollaig Cleary was next to point and the sides were level once more.

Eileen McKenna was sinbinned with 11 minutes remaining for Monaghan and they were down to 14 players for an important period of the match.

Strong running from Cora Courtney and Catriona McConnell put somes misses behind her to put Monaghan back in front with eight minutes to go.

The inspirational Geraldine O'Flynn hit the crossbar from play and then missed a free as Cork struggled to equalise.

The equaliser did come and it was Juliet Murphy who got it in the 56th minute and a minute later pointed a free to put Cork back in front.

Monagahan earned a free after the hooter which Catriona McConnell had to score but she missed and Cork were champions again.

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