Mayo end Cork's dreams of a sixth league title in a row with thrilling semi-final win
Mayo 1-20 Cork 3-12
MAYO are through to a first Lidl Ladies NFL Division 1 final since 2016 after ending Cork’s six-in-a-row dreams.
Mayo saw off the defending champions as Sinead Cafferky scored the vital second half goal.
Cafferky was also brilliant at the other end of the pitch – denying the Rebelettes a goal with a magnificent goal-line clearance.
And Mayo had a combined 0-16 haul from forward stars Sarah Rowe and Grace Kelly en route to the decider.
Playing with the strong wind, Mayo took the lead in the first minute when Grace Kelly pointed from a free, with Orla Finn, who scored 1-9, replying for Cork.
Sarah Rowe restored Mayo’s lead, before Cork then took over.
Ciara O’Sullivan and Finn pointed in quick succession and with six minutes gone Libby Coppinger goaled for Cork, after some good work by O’Sullivan and Eimear Scally.
Finn got her third point, to make it 1-4 to 0-2 with seven minutes gone.
Sinead Cafferkey replied for Mayo, with Ciara O’Sullivan on target for the Rebels. Two from Rose made it 0-5 to 1-5, before Coppinger was fouled by Emma Lowther, but Sorcha Murphy saved Scally’s shot from the resultant penalty.
This woke Mayo up, with Niamh Kelly, Rowe and Grace Kelly all pointing. Finn scored from a free, but for most of the rest of the first half it was all Mayo
Four from Rowe, along with three from Grace Kelly, made it 0-14 to 1-6.
But late one Cork were thrown a lifeline when Finn got their second goal and just before half-time she pointed to make it 2-7 to 0-14 at the break in favour of Mayo.
Clodagh McMahon opened the scoring in the second-half for Mayo, with Finn replying for Cork.
Four minutes into the second-half and Cork were back in front, when Aine O’Sullivan set up Coppinger for her second, and Cork’s third goal, to make it 3-8 to 0-15.
Mayo responded in style, with points from Fiona McHale, Rowe and Grace Kelly to go back in front.
Finn had the sides level again, with Rowe putting Mayo back in front, with 11 minutes to go.
With 21 minutes of the second-half gone the vital score came when Gilroy and McHale combined to set up Cafferky to make it 1-19 to 3-9.
Finn and Grace Kelly exchanged points, with Eimear Scally and Finn getting late scores for Cork. But Mayo hung on to reach the final, where they will face Dublin in two weeks.
Scorers for Mayo: S Rowe 0-9 (4f), G Kelly 0-7 (3f), S Cafferky 1-1, N Kelly, A Gilroy, F Mchale 0-1 each.
Cork: O Finn 1-9 (5f), L Coppinger 2-0, C O’Sullivan 0-2, E Scally 0-1.
MAYO: S Murphy; O Conlon, S Tierney, S Ludden; D Caldwell, E Lowther, D Hughes; C McManamon, A Gilroy; F McHale, F Doherty, S Cafferky; N Kelly, S Rowe, G Kelly.
Subs: M Corbett for S Ludden, R Kearns for S Murphy, S Howley for F Doherty.
CORK: M O’Brien; M Ambrose, E Meaney, E Spillane; M O’Callaghan, M Duggan, S Kelly; A Hutchings, B O’Sullivan; C O’Sullivan, C Collins, O Farmer; L Coppinger, E Scally, O Finn.
Subs: A O’Sullivan for M Ambrose, A Barrett for S Kelly.
Ref: B Rice, Down.