Monday 21 October 2019

Mourneabbey conquer final demons

Mountabbey 1-13 Foxrock-Cabinteely 1-7

Mourneabbey’s Bríd O’Sullivan celebrates. Photo: Sportsfile
Mourneabbey’s Bríd O’Sullivan celebrates. Photo: Sportsfile Sportsdesk

Driven on by the heartbreak of final defeats in three out of the past four seasons, Mourneabbey were finally crowned All-Ireland ladies senior club football champions with an emphatic triumph over Foxrock-Cabinteely.

The Cork outfit came up short in the 2014, 2015 and 2017 deciders but with Doireann O'Sullivan (0-6) in outstanding form, they overcame the challenge of the Leinster champions.

Dynamic county star O'Sullivan, who won her first TG4 All Star award a week ago, already had two points on the board for Mourneabbey when Fox-Cab corner-back Emma McDonagh was sent to the sin-bin with just five minutes gone.

Shane Ronayne's charges took advantage of their numerical supremacy - Laura Fitzgerald (two), O'Sullivan and the lively Ellie Jack (two) finding the target to give them an 0-8 to 0-1 advantage.

Fox-Cab settled upon McDonagh's return with points from inside forwards Hannah O'Neill and Amy Ring (free), only for Mourneabbey to respond with another avalanche of scores.

After O'Sullivan raised white flags either side of sister Ciara's first of the day, she set up Fitzgerald for a palmed finish past the stranded Aisling Tarpey.

While beaten 2016 finalists Fox-Cab responded with a superb Fiona Claffey goal within a minute, TG4 Players' Player of the Year nominee and All Star Ciara O'Sullivan pointed to give Mourneabbey a commanding 1-12 to 1-3 interval lead.

Although the breeze was a significant factor during the opening period, Pat Ring's Dublin side - who were also chasing their first title - had their work cut out on the resumption.

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Dublin star Sinead Goldrick reduced the gap with a neat point on the right flank but they breathed a sigh of relief when Eimear Harrington and Ciara O'Sullivan rattled the crossbar in quick succession.

Harrington also fired a 44th-minute penalty past the post, though the industrious half-forward eventually opened her account to move Mourneabbey nine points clear.

Fox-Cab battled back with three points from skipper Ring in the final quarter but it wasn't enough to deny Mourneabbey a monumental triumph in north Dublin. Mourneabbey had Fox-Cab's number in last year's semi-final - and they were too good again on the biggest day of all to sweep away years of heartbreak.

Scorers - Mourneabbey: D O'Sullivan 0-6 (3f); L Fitzgerald 1-2; C O'Sullivan, E Jack 0-2 each; E Harrington 0-1. Foxrock-Cabinteely: A Ring 0-4 (4f); F Claffey 1-0; A Connolly (f), S Goldrick, H O'Neill 0-1 each.

Mourneabbey: M O'Sullivan; E Meaney, CA Stack, A O'Sullivan; S Conroy, R O'Sullivan, K Coakley; M O'Callaghan, B O'Sullivan; E Harrington, C O'Sullivan, N O'Sullivan; E Jack, L Fitzgerald, D O'Sullivan. Subs: S O'Callaghan for C O'Sullivan (16-18, blood), S O'Callaghan for Fitzgerald (42).

Foxrock-Cabinteely: A Tarpey; A Murray, S Quinn, E McDonagh; S Goldrick, N Collins, L Fusciardi; T O'Sullivan, C Ní Mhurchadh; F Claffey, A Connolly, L Nerney; A Ring, H O'Neill, C O'Riordan. Subs: R McGovern for O'Riordan (h-t), L Ahern for Nerney (40), J Egan for Murray (51), S Delahunty for Fusciardi (53), H Dennedy for Connolly (58).

Referee: B Rice (Down).

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