Monday 21 May 2018

Rebelettes book final spot after stern test

Cork’s Orla Finn scored 1-3 yesterday. Photo: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
Cork’s Orla Finn scored 1-3 yesterday. Photo: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile

Jackie Cahill

In his first season at the helm, Ephie Fitzgerald has guided holders Cork through to another TG4 All-Ireland Ladies Senior Football Championship final after a 2-10 to 1-10 win over Monaghan.

Cork will contest their 11th final in 12 seasons when they take on Dublin for the Brendan Martin Cup on September 25. Their six-in-a-row hopes remain on course, but they were given a stern test by Monaghan at the Gaelic Grounds.

Cork were superbly marshalled by player of the match Briege Corkery. Monaghan suffered a blow 12 minutes from time when corner-back Lianne Ward was sin-binned. Monaghan had a spell of four points without reply, including two from Rosemary Courtney, and that brought them to within three points, trailing by 1-8 to 2-8.

Corkery steadied the ship with a superb score for the Rebelettes and they had the answers down the home straight as Monaghan could never get closer than three points - despite outscoring Cork 4-2 with Ward off the pitch. At half-time, Cork had a 2-4 to 1-2 lead.

Cork were off to flier when Orla Finn found the net in the third minute. And when Ciara O'Sullivan finished an excellent move in the 14th minute, Cork had a seven-point lead, 2-2 to 0-1. But they went scoreless until the 25th minute and Monaghan roared back into contention. Cora Courtney's shot was half-blocked midway through the half and when the ball went loose, Eimear McAnespie netted. A Courtney free had Monaghan back to within a goal, but Cork had the final two points of the half.

Cork managed to grab a stranglehold on the game and were seven points clear - 2-8 to 1-4 - but Monaghan showed real resilience.

Cork, however, have been down this road so many times before and when the dust settled, they were back in familiar territory. Monaghan had that sinking feeling again, but their progress has been remarkable under manager Paula Cunningham this year.

Meanwhile, Niamh O'Dea's super-show steered Clare into a first TG4 Intermediate Football final since 2009 after their 3-14 to 2-16 win over Tipperary. The Banner County will meet Kildare on September 25. O'Dea bagged 2-5.

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