By John Fogarty
Cork 1-7 Dublin 1-6
Classy Cork claimed a sixth consecutive All-Ireland Ladies Senior Football title with a typically barnstorming second-half display in which they outscored Dublin 1-4 to 1-2.
However, there was controversy as a first-half scoring effort by Dublin half forward Carla Rowe appeared to have sailed between the posts but looked on replay to have been good.
Watched by a record 34,445 attendance for ladies football finals day in Croke Park, Rena Buckley was to the fore in guiding a Cork team through a match which saw all four seasons in the space of the 60 minutes.
Cork were tight in the opening quarter, drawing several bodies back to protect the “D” and managed to keep Dublin scoreless until the 11th minute.
By that stage they had two points on the board as Orlagh Farmer enjoyed a dominant spell.
Conditions, though, were not conducive to good football and some of the shooting attempts left a lot to be desired from both sides, particularly from Dublin.
They eventually affected the scoreboard with a Noelle Healy point and then Sineád Aherne added one after a second Orla Finn free but they were not making their better performance in general play count.
They seemed to be denied an obvious point in the 23rd minute when Rowe’s strike looked good despite a late Annie Walsh tackle only to be waved wide.
It came at a time where Cork were struggling on their kick-outs.
Niamh McEvoy was a real presence inside for Dublin and her fellow full-forwards Lyndsey Davey and Aherne added points, the second of them pushing Dublin ahead for the first time.
Dublin should have been further ahead than the minimal at the break, 0-4 to 0-3, and were punished for not taking their chances when substitute Rhona Ní Bhuachalla was on the end of a move that began with a Deirdre O’Reilly free and worked into the danger area by captain Ciara O’Sullivan.
McEvoy responded with a point but it turned out to be Dublin’s final point of the game as their wide count jumped to 13.
Doireann O’Sullivan hit two monster scores before adding a long-range free while Finn also opened her account from play.
Ahern did find the net in the closing minute when she converted a penalty she had drawn herself but it was too little, too late to deny Cork.
Scorers for Cork: R. Ní Bhuachalla (1-0); O. Finn (2 frees), D. Sullivan (1 free) (0-3 each); O. Farmer (0-1).
Scorers for Dublin: S. Aherne (1-3, 1-0 pen, 0-1 free); N. Healy, L. Davey, N. McEvoy (0-1 each).
CORK: M. O’Brien; R. Phelan, B. Stack, M. Ambrose; S. Kelly, D. O’Reilly, V. Foley; A. Walsh, B. Corkery; R. Buckley, A. O’Sullivan, O. Farmer; C. O’Sullivan (c), D. O’Sullivan, O. Finn.
Subs for Cork: R Ní Bhuachalla for A. O’Sullivan (h-t); E. Scally for A. Walsh (inj 44).
DUBLIN: C. Trant; O. Carey, D. Murphy, L. Caffrey; S. Goldrick, S. Finnegan, N. Collins; L. Magee, M. Lamb; N. Healy (c), N. Owens, C. Rowe; N. McEvoy, S. Aherne, L. Davey.
Subs for Dublin: S. Woods for N. Owens, M. Ní Scanaill for L. Caffrey (both 44); S. Furlong for M. Lamb (50); L. Collins for D. Murphy (53).
Referee: B. Rice (Down).