Corkery leads the way as Rebelettes dig deep to seal their place in another final
Cork 2-10 Monaghan 1-10
Published 05/09/2016 | 02:30
Ephie Fitzgerald hailed his "phenomenal" leaders as Cork advanced to an 11th TG4 All-Ireland ladies senior football final in 12 seasons.
The Rebelettes had a goal to spare against Monaghan at the Gaelic Grounds on Saturday as dual star Briege Corkery, a real leader throughout, chipped in with four massive points.
Monaghan found themselves 0-1 to 2-2 adrift by the 14th minute and a rout looked on the cards as Orla Finn and Ciara O'Sullivan notched the Cork goals.
But Eimear McAnespie's goal revived the Monaghan challenge and by half-time, they trailed by 1-2 to 2-4.
Cork, now playing into the teeth of a strong wind, had their lead back out to eight points midway through the second half but Monaghan's revival cut the margin back to three points.
Even when Lianne Ward was sin-binned with 12 minutes left, Monaghan outscored Cork by 0-4 to 0-2 with the corner-back off the pitch for ten minutes.
But Cork have banked so much experience down through the years and Fitzgerald said: "There's phenomenal spirit and the leaders like O'Reilly and Stack, just phenomenal...
"We've won whatever's been put in front of us and now we have one more hurdle.
"We'll go away now and prepare for that as diligently as we can and rock up to Croke Park hopefully with a great attitude."
Paula Cunningham confirmed that she wishes to remain at the helm next year and oversee the next phase of Monaghan's revival.
Surely there will be no dissenting voices at county board level but on a day when Monaghan registered 14 wides, seven in each half, Cunningham believes this was opportunity lost.
"Devastated, they're a super bunch of girls. I'm just gutted because they put in so much work and deserve so much more," said Cunningham.
"You look at the stats and my initial reaction is that we weren't as clinical as Cork. We had a lot of possession but I'm disappointed with that (wides).
"But I have a smile on my face because Monaghan football is back. I hope these players stick together and work as hard next year, you'd never know what could happen. I'd love to give it another shot."
Cork's victory sets them up for a third successive All-Ireland final against Dublin, who they've beaten in the last two deciders.
SCORERS - Cork: O Finn 1-3 (0-3f), B Corkery 0-4, C O'Sullivan 1-0, V Foley, A Walsh & E Scally 0-1 each.
Monaghan: E McAnespie 1-0, R Courtney 0-3, E McCarron & C Courtney (2f) 0-2 each, L McEnaney, C McAnespie & C Mohan 0-1 each.
CORK - M O'Brien; M Ambrose, B Stack, R Phelan; V Foley, D O'Reilly, S Kelly; R Buckley, B Corkery; A Walsh, C O'Sullivan, O Farmer; L Coppinger, D O'Sullivan, O Finn.
Subs - H Looney for Farmer (h.t.), R Ní Bhuachalla for Coppinger (h.t.), E Scally for D O'Sullivan (53), J O'Shea for Looney (57).
MONAGHAN - C McKenna; R McKenna, J Fitzpatrick, L Ward; A McAnespie, S Courtney, G McNally; C Courtney, E McAnespie; L McEnaney, E McCarron, T Scott; C McAnespie, C Mohan, R Courtney. Subs: L Jones for Scott (45), M Atkinson for Mohan (56).
REF - G Carmody (Mayo).