'We're not defensive' insists Cork boss Ryan
Cork 3-8 Galway 1-14: Tesco Ladies NFL Div 1 final
Published 11/05/2015 | 02:30
Eamonn Ryan rejected suggestions that his Cork team is defensive following Saturday's Tesco Ladies National Football League Division 1 final in Parnell Park.
The champions were given a searching test of their credentials by Galway, who went close to claiming a very first top-flight crown.
They still might, when the sides replay next Saturday, but Galway did need a late point from sub Lorna Joyce to ensure a rematch.
Cork had plenty of bodies behind the ball when a potent Galway went on the attack, but Ryan is adamant that he does not send out his team with a defensive mentality.
He countered: "I don't know where this is coming from.
"What you have is the same field as 100 years ago, with the same number of players but a hugely-increased standard of fitness.
"Inevitably, if a player is beaten, they follow their player back.
"I don't know do many deliberately (set up defensively), I wouldn't have the brains to!
"But everybody is supposed to work back if their person has the ball, and win the ball back.
"I wouldn't be setting up defensively as such but you're nearly out of fashion now if you don't come out with some real, good theory of a defensive strategy. It's everybody working hard on the ball and working hard to get it back. That's all it is - simple as that."
At full-time, Galway boss Kevin Reidy placed a consoling arm around midfielder Annette Clarke, who missed a penalty to put the Tribeswomen seven points clear in the second half.
Ironically, Clarke had converted two penalties in last year's Division 2 decider.
Reidy said: "She had the guts to take it but it didn't come off.
"Annette scored two last year when we needed her in the League final. That's part and parcel of the game.
"She'll live to fight another day, no more than Cork and Galway."
Galway, runners-up in 2010, 2007, 2005 and 1979, had holders Cork rattled at the Donnycarney venue but couldn't deliver the knockout punch.
Galway led by four points in the second half when they were awarded a penalty after Cork goalkeeper Martina O'Brien impeded Geraldine Conneally - but Clarke missed.
Having wriggled off the hook, Cork netted almost immediately at the other end, Valerie Mulcahy scoring after Doireann O'Sullivan's shot was well-saved by Johanna Connolly.
Cork sub Rhona Ní Bhuachalla made a positive impact with eight minutes left, netting a third goal for the Rebelettes as they moved two points clear, 3-8 to 1-12.
But Galway had a kick left in them and after Tracey Leonard kicked her eighth point, and sixth from play, Joyce swung over the leveller.
Leonard had five points from play in the first half for Galway, who trailed by 0-6 to 1-6 at the break.
Ciara O'Sullivan's 15th minute goal separated the sides- she had palmed over the line following a neat interchange of passes with Mulcahy, scorer of 1-5.
The sides had been level twice in the early stages before O'Sullivan's goal but Leonard kept the Tribeswomen in the hunt with a remarkable display of sharpshooting.
Galway opened the second half with a run of 1-4 without reply to transform a three-point deficit into a four-point lead.
Points from Clarke and Louise Ward brought Kevin Reidy's team to within a point before former All-Ireland minor medallist Ward bagged a stunning goal six minutes after half-time.
Leonard added two frees for a four-point lead but resilient Cork were boosted by Clarke's miss and did enough to claim a replay.
"It was a great advert for Ladies football," said Reidy. "We could have won it, we could have lost it but we'll take the draw and I think Cork will as well.
"That's as good a game of football as we've seen in a long time. We didn't win it but we're not going home crying about it."
Ryan agreed: "Great game but only what we expected.
"We knew that it would be a huge battle and it was."
Scorers - Cork: V Mulcahy 1-5 (0-4f), C O'Sullivan & R Ní Bhuachalla 1-0 each, R Buckley, A Walsh & D O'Sullivan 0-1 each. Galway: T Leonard 0-8 (2f), L Ward 1-1, A Clarke, B Hannon, P Gleeson & E Concannon 0-1 each.
Cork - M O'Brien; M Ambrose, R Phelan, B Stack; V Foley, R O'Sullivan, G O'Flynn; R Buckley, B Corkery; C O'Sullivan, A Hutchings, A Walsh; D O'Sullivan, V Mulcahy, O Finn. Subs: E Scally for Finn (38), R Ní Bhuachalla for Hutchings (42), G Kearney for Walsh (51), O Farmer for D O'Sullivan (57).
Galway - J Connolly; S Gormally, E Flaherty, Á Seoighe; N Connolly, N Ward, S Burke; A Clarke, G Conneally; B Hannon, P Gleeson, L Ward; O Divilly, T Leonard, E Concannon. Subs: C Cormican for N Connolly (38), A Daly for Divilly (51), L Joyce for Concannon (57).
Ref - G Corrigan (Down)