Cork ladies claim sixth football title in seven years

Cork 2-7 Monaghan 0-11
Cork claimed their sixth TG4 All-Ireland Senior Ladies Football title in seven years thanks to a two-point win over Monaghan at Croke Park.

The Rebelettes' defence stood up to strong pressure from the Monaghan attack to deliver All-Ireland glory before an attendance of 20,061 spectators.

This game was a keenly-contested encounter with the sides level on five occasions, including three times in the opening half.

A 44th minute penalty goal from Rhona Ní Bhuachalla gave Cork the catalyst they needed to take control and hold out for another Brendan Martin Cup success.

Juliet Murphy registered Cork's opening point with less than two minutes gone on the clock, but it would take a further nine minutes for the Rebelettes to add to their tally despite plenty of early scoring opportunities.

Amy O'Shea blazed a shot off the crossbar in the third minute, before Caitriona McConnell opened Monaghan's account to tie the game in the seventh minute.

A Valerie Mulcahy point edged Cork in front, before both sides had scoring opportunities come off the posts. A second McConnell point squared things up, but both teams struggled for scores over the next four minutes.

Mulcahy sent an effort wide of the target, before Therese McNally and Caoimhe Mohan were guilty of missed chances for Monaghan.

Mohan was denied a goal after an excellent block by Cork full-back Angela Walsh in the 17th minute. Ellen McCarron edged Monaghan into a 0-3 to 0-2 lead a minute later, before free-taker Murphy responded for Cork.

The momentum was certainly with Cork at this stage with Nollaig Cleary netting the first goal of the contest in the 22nd minute. Cleary slotted to the net after gathering a poor kickout from Monaghan goalkeeper Linda Martin.

A minute later Amy O'Shea was through to add a potential second goal for her side, but she was penalised by the referee for a double hop.

The closing seven minutes of the half were characterised by poor misses by both sides. McCarron belatedly claimed the last score of the half, with Cork leading by 1-3 to 0-4 at the break.

Monaghan came out an inspired force in the second half. Ciara McAnespie and Niamh Kindlon were both on target to take a 0-7 to 1-3 lead in the 38th minute.

Cork misfired on two occasions during this period, while they also lost their team captain Amy O'Shea through injury.

The Munster outfit kept on course however and after Grace Kearney and Kindlon traded points, the Rebelettes delivered an inspirational point from half-back Geraldine O'Flynn to get back on level terms with 20 minutes left.

Cork continued to dig deep and were awarded a penalty by referee John Niland after substitute Orla Finn was dragged down by Isobel Kierans.

With Cork's regular penalty taker Valerie Mulcahy off the pitch at this stage, Ní Bhuachalla stepped up to take the pressure kick and sent Monaghan goalkeeper Linda Martin the wrong way, ensuring Cork led by 2-5 to 0-8 in the 44th minute.

Monaghan tried hard in the closing stages with some well-taken points from open play by Caoimhe Mohan and Laura McEnaney.

A third point from McConnell cut the deficit to the minimum with six-and-a-half minutes left on the clock, but a point from Rena Buckley steadied the Cork ship as they pulled through for a thrilling victory.

After the game Cork skipper O'Shea accepted the Brendan Martin Cup from Ladies Gaelic Football Association President Pat Quill.

CORK: E Harte; AM Walsh, A Walsh, D O'Reilly; B Corkery, B Stack, G O'Flynn (0-1); J Murphy (0-3, 0-2f), R Buckley (0-1); N Cleary (1-0), M Kelly, G Kearney (0-1); V Mulcahy (0-1), R Ní Bhuachalla (1-0, 1-0 pen), A O'Shea.

Subs used: C O'Sullivan for O'Shea (37 mins), O Finn for Mulcahy (38), N Kelly for Cleary (46), A Sheehan for Ní Bhuachalla (53), A Walsh for Buckley (55).

MONAGHAN: L Martin; G McNally, S Courtney, C Reilly; A McAnespie, N Fahy, L Connolly; A Casey, C Courtney; T McNally, E McCarron (0-2), C McConnell (0-3, 0-2f); C McAnespie (0-1), N Kindlon (0-3, 0-2f), C Mohan (0-1).

Subs used: I Kierans for Courtney (25 mins), L McEnaney (0-1) for Kindlon (42), C Courtney for McCarron (47), E McElroy for Kierans (50).

Referee: John Niland (Sligo)

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