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Rebelettes rise to crush the Kingdom

CORK were crowned TG4 All-Ireland Ladies senior football champions for the seventh time in eight seasons at Croke Park yesterday when they outclassed the Munster rivals Kerry 0-16 to 0-7.

A crowd of 16,998 spectators watched a dominant display from the Rebelettes as Cork collected the Brendan Martin Cup for the second successive year and, since 2005, Eamonn Ryan's all-conquering players have lost just one championship match, against Tyrone in 2010.

That Banagher defeat was described by Ryan as a "pebble in the shoe" and it's ensured that the Leesiders have bounced back to claim back-to-back All-Ireland titles.

Kerry, contesting a first All-Ireland senior decider since 1993, suffered a first-ever defeat in the showpiece fixture, as Cork maintained their unbeaten record in senior finals.

Kerry set out to contain Cork as boss William O'Sullivan made a number of positional switches. The Kingdom packed their defence but as a result, they struggled desperately for scores at the other end.

Kerry conceded almost three times as many fouls as their opponents (32 to 11) .

"Once a team isn't dirty I don't mind it," said victorious Cork manager Eamonn Ryan.

"We were the favourites, like, so it was up to them to stop us. Once it wasn't done in an unsporting fashion I had no problem with it."

Sarah Houlihan carried the fight to Cork in attack and goalkeeper Edel Murphy kept a clean sheet but overall, this was a chastening experience for Kerry.

Lorraine Scanlon, named at midfield but deployed at full-forward, enjoyed some good moments but Cork generally dealt well with the aerial bombardment.

For the Rebelettes, wing backs Briege Corkery and Geraldine O'Flynn were in magnificent form, surging forward from defence and putting their opponents on the back foot.



Revelation

Doireann O'Sullivan was a revelation at centre forward, notching four points from play, while Valerie Mulcahy collected six of her seven points from placed balls.

The Kingdom went 14 minutes without a score in the first half and trailed at half-time by 0-10 to 0-3. Cork stormed into an early 0-3 to 0-0 lead before Kerry scored their opening point in the 10th minute, courtesy of Houlihan.

To their credit, Kerry denied Cork any real goalscoring opportunities but the champions were happy to take their points.

On the stroke of half-time, Orlagh Farmer kicked a majestic point and the half-time hooter sounded as the ball sailed over the bar.

Kerry did land two successive points for the first and only time early in the second half but they never looked like launching a revival.

And their misery was complete in the final minute when star forward Louise Ní Mhuircheartaigh went to the sin bin.

It later emerged that Kingdom skipper Bernie Breen sustained a serious shoulder injury early in the game but the Laune Rangers star played the entire hour nonetheless.

This latest success for Cork means that 11 of their starting line-up have now collected seven All-Ireland medals.


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