Waterford powerless against Noonan masterclass as Rebelettes retain title
Cork 2-14 Waterford 0-9
Cork manager Ephie Fitzgerald praised his side's second-half display and the impact of Saoirse Noonan as they powered past Waterford yesterday.
Goals in each half from Noonan helped Cork retain their Munster crown - their 13th title, five behind Kerry - but Waterford will look to some unclaimed chances at key moments.
"Saoirse's always a threat, she's a great bit of stuff. She has worked very hard. She had a serious knee injury prior to Christmas and it took her four or five months to recover from that," said Fitzgerald
Noonan shot 1-2 against Kerry in the previous round and was Cork's go-to forward again in a convincing win. Melissa Duggan, Aishling Hutchings, Daire Kiely, Niamh Cotter and Orla Finn also featured prominently for the victors.
The home side, who haven't won a provincial title since 2002, played with a stiff wind at first and Maria Delahunty kicked their opener after just 45 seconds. Michelle Ryan then flicked over a Delahunty free, while Cotter got Cork off the mark in the fifth minute before Finn levelled from a free. Chloe Fennell and Kelly Ann Hogan restored Waterford's two-point advantage.
Waterford were tight in defence, but Cork broke through on the quarter hour, as Hutchings put Noonan in the clear and she slipped the ball past Rosie Landers for a 1-2 to 0-4 advantage.
Noonan set up Finn to level matters for the fourth time, before Noonan shrugged off two Waterford backs to increase her tally to 1-1. Daire Kiely then pointed to make it 1-6 to 0-7 at the break.
Finn, Noonan and Cotter extended Cork's lead to five, four minutes into the second period.
On 41 minutes, a slick passing move involving Cotter and Libby Coppinger was palmed to the net by the unmarked Noonan, which put Cork 2-11 to 0-7 ahead.
Finn, Ciara O'Sullivan and Noonan put the icing on the cake and a couple of late frees from Delahunty only softened the winning margin.
"I was really delighted with the effort of the girls," said Waterford manager Ciaran Curran.
"Look, Cork were the better team and deserved the win."
Scorers - Cork: S Noonan 2-3, O Finn 0-4 (2f), D Kiely, N Cotter 0-2, E Kiely, C O'Sullivan, L Coppinger 0-1. Waterford: M Delahunty 0-5 (3f), K Murray, KA Hogan, C Fennell, M Ryan 0-1 each.
Cork - M O'Brien; H Looney, E Meaney, M Duggan; S Kelly, A Hutchings, E Kiely; N Cotter, O Farmer; C O'Sullivan, E Scally, D Kiely; L Coppinger, S Noonan, O Finn. Subs: M O'Callaghan for Farmer (h-t), A O'Sullivan for Cotter (43), E Spillane for D Kiely (43), R Ní Bhuachalla for Coppinger (45) C O'Shea for Kelly (55).
Waterford - R Landers; Kate McGrath, C McGrath, M Wall; R Tobin, Karen McGrath, S Dunphy; E Murray, K Murray; KA Hogan, C Fennell, M Delahunty; E Fennell, M Ryan, A Wall. Subs: L McGregor for E Fennell (44), B Valuntaite for Tobin (53).
Ref - S Mulvihill (Kerry).