Tuesday 26 September 2017

O'Leary holds her nerve to seal thrilling Cork triumph

Daragh O Conchuir McEvoy goal sends Dubs on their way ladies Football

Jenny O'Leary converted a 60th-minute free to snatch victory for league champions Cork over Clare in the opening round of the All-Ireland Championship.

Clare had defeated the Leesiders in the Munster final, but anyone who thought that was a fluke received a rude awakening as the Banner women took it to their opponents again.

They led by 1-6 to 0-8 at half-time thanks to a third-minute goal from Fiona Lafferty. Cork looked to have made a significant push in the third quarter with four points on the trot, but when Deirdre Murphy doubled on a Claire McMahon free to register Clare's second goal 13 minutes from time, the sides were level once more.

That was the case on two further occasions before O'Leary showed nerves of steel to slot the winner for a hard-earned 0-16 to 2-9 victory.

Galway were clinical in dispensing with Offaly by 1-17 to 1-6 in Banagher, while champions Wexford tore into Tipperary in the first half at The Ragg before recording a comfortable win on the same scoreline.

Kilkenny laid the foundation for their 2-15 to 1-9 success over Dublin in the first half. A blistering start that included an 11th-minute goal from Miriam Walsh pushed them into a 1-6 to 0-0 lead and they maintained domination to the finish.

NIAMH McEvoy's first-half goal proved decisive as Dublin progressed to the final of the TG4 Leinster Ladies Senior Football Championship at Kildare's expense yesterday.

The 2010 All-Ireland champions ran out comfortable 1-14 to 2-4 winners at Hawkfield, but were given plenty to think about by a spirited Kildare team, particularly in the first half.

With just five minutes to half-time, Kildare were trailing by a point, but McEvoy's 28th-minute goal helped Dublin to lead by 1-3 to 0-5 at the interval.

Shortly before the break, the Sky Blues had a real let-off when Kildare's Emer Fogarty rattled the crossbar and the hosts went close again early in the second half when Brianne Leahy was denied by a superb Cliodhna O'Connor save.

Dublin moved up the gears after the break to run out easy winners.

On Saturday, Division 4 League champions Longford added to their silverware collection when they beat Wicklow 3-16 to 1-8 in the Leinster intermediate final.

Elsewhere, Sligo edged out Leitrim by 4-14 to 3-16 in a classic Connacht intermediate semi-final at McHale Park, Castlebar.

Emma Hansberry's last-gasp point -- her third after coming off the substitutes bench -- won the day.

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport