Six in a row for the Rebelettes as they squeeze past brave Dubs
Published 26/09/2016 | 02:30
Blue skies might have buoyed Dublin's spirits before the All-Ireland Senior Ladies Gaelic football final at Croke Park yesterday, but the heavy downpours and a vibrant Cork performance left the Girls in Blue disappointed as they lost out by a single point (1-07; 1-06).
It was a historic day for the Rebelettes, who claimed their sixth title in a row, but a record-breaking attendance at GAA headquarters also ensured there was cause for all-round celebration.
Gillian Barrett, Richard Barrett and Sinead Cott, from Mallow, Co Cork, came to support their sister Aisling Barrett, who was on the panel for the Leesiders.
Sinead (35) said the Rebelettes had it in them to become national heroes.
"They are one of Ireland's best teams, without a doubt," she said. "They're strong and they're hungry. Every time they go on the field, they're ready for a fight."
Alanagh Lynch, from Nobber, Co Meath, was celebrating her Cork roots after attending the match with her other Majella and sister Roisin (7).
"It's a great win for us ladies," Alanagh (21) told the Irish Independent. "It's six in a row now, which is great. It's overwhelming.
"We're just as good as the men, and we should have more support."
Majella, originally from Cork, said she was on the edge of her seat throughout the tense final.
"It was very tight right down to the end. The conditions made it very difficult for both sides," she said. "If Dublin hadn't thrown away a few wides, they could have won it."
Cork's win was not without controversy, however.
Speculation over a possible appeal by Dublin was rife on social media following the game, after what appeared to be a legitimate point for Dublin was waved wide.
Dublin manager Gregory McGonigle said his team felt let down by the Ladies Gaelic Football Association (LGFA) and would consider an appeal against the result.
"Obviously, ladies football have to answer the question - to Dublin and our players and their families, who have sacrificed as much as the girls have - why do we not have Hawk-Eye?" Mr McGonigle said.
"If that was a hurling game or a men's football game and there was a point, we'd be going to Hawk-Eye.
"Fundamentally, I believe our ladies association have let us down."
Fianna Fáil leader and Cork fan Micheál Martin faced some slagging on Jones' Road.
"I got a text at half-time saying if we win by a point, there'd be war," he said.
Fiona and Kevin Prendergast from Templeogue brought their children Rebecca (11), Leah (10) and Shane (8) to Croke Park, and were despondent after Dublin's loss.
"We're very disappointed, extremely disappointed," Fiona said.
The Cork ladies weren't the only ones making history as a record-breaking 34,445 spectators came to Croke Park for the game, exceeding the previous high of 33,000 for a ladies final in 2001.
Cork's win came as Communications Minister Denis Naughten announced the ladies camogie and football finals would become free-to-air events under new changes.
However, the day belonged to Cork and they will celebrate this historic win for some time.