Sunday 25 September 2016

Rebelettes crush Cavan to remain in hunt for a sixth successive All-Ireland crown

Cork 3-17 Cavan 1-3

Denis Hurley

Published 21/08/2016 | 02:30

Rhona Ní Bhuachalla, left, and Vera Foley of Cork celebrate after their victory. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Rhona Ní Bhuachalla, left, and Vera Foley of Cork celebrate after their victory. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Cork's quest for a sixth successive TG4 All-Ireland Ladies SFC title remains on track after a superior second-half performance saw off Cavan in Birr.

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While Ephie Fitzgerald's side, playing into a stiff breeze in the first half, fell behind to a Caitríona Smith goal inside 13 seconds, they responded to lead by a point at half-time. Goals soon after the restart from sub Rhona Ní Bhuachalla and then captain Ciara O'Sullivan put them in a commanding position, with Cavan struggling to make headway in the second period.

Shelia Reilly of Cavan in action against Sinéad Cotter of Cork. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Shelia Reilly of Cavan in action against Sinéad Cotter of Cork. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

The Ulster runners-up competed well in the first half, with some excellent defending frustrating Cork. Cavan also benefited from the best possible start as Rosie Crowe gained possession from the throw-in and exchanged passes with captain Sinéad Greene. Though the latter's shot was blocked, Smith was on hand to send home the rebound. While it took Cork a while to get going - full-back Bríd Stack got forward to eventually open their account in the ninth minute - they were ahead by 0-4 to 1-0 when Áine O'Sullivan pointed on 13 minutes.

Neasa Byrd and Smith put Cavan in front again only for Finn and Stack to reply for Cork, but while Aisling Doonan levelled for the Breffni County on 25 minutes, Finn's third had Cork 0-7 to 1-3 up going in at the break.

Ní Bhuchalla, a half-time sub, made her presence felt by setting up a point for Annie Walsh and then she was there to send the loose ball home after Clodagh Doonan had made a great save to deny Ciara O'Sullivan following good work by Áine O'Sullivan.

Ciara O'Sullivan struck then, a marvellous individual goal with Doonan unlucky as she got a hand to the shot. From there, though, Cork were rampant as the points continued to come, with subs Orlagh Farmer, Hannah Looney and Eimear Scally getting on the scoresheet. Finn put a gloss on the scoreboard when she palmed home Ní Bhuachalla's pass on 51 minutes, giving her a final tally of 1-4.

Monaghan 6-17 Kerry 1-16

Seven unanswered points leading up to half-time were the catalyst as Monaghan eased clear of Kerry in the second half of their TG4 All-Ireland Ladies SFC quarter-final in St Brendan's Park in Birr yesterday.

Leading by four points at half-time, 1-10 to 0-9, Monaghan added another 2-3 before the Kingdom opened their second-half account, ensuring that they advance to a semi-final tie with holders Cork.

Early on, Kerry had made use of the wind at their backs as Sarah Houlihan, Louise Ní Mhuircheartaigh and Laura Rogers were among the points as they built a 0-5 to 0-2 lead. The Ulster champions drew level though when Laura McEneaney profited from good play by Mohan and McAnespie to score a lovely goal in the tenth minute, but points from Lorraine Scanlon and Louise Ní Mhuircheartaigh had put Kerry 0-8 to 1-3 in front again.

Monaghan managed to necklace together a series of well-taken scores, with Caoimhe Mohan beginning the run and Ciara McAnespie, Cora Courtney (two frees), a pair from Ellen McCarron and Mohan again had them five in front.

While Houlihan's third point did reduce the gap slightly before half-time, Monaghan's start to the second half ensured that they were put in a commanding position. McCarron's fourth from play was followed by Mohan's third and then centre-back Sharon Courtney got forward well, a wonderful swivel giving her space before a super low finish to the corner.

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