Dominant Cork beat Galway to claim 12th Division 1 league crown

Cork 1-12 - 2-7 Galway

A dominant second-half showing delivered Cork ladies football a 12th Division 1 league crown.

Ahead by two at the interval, Cork began the second period with intent and had opened up a double-scores advantage, 0-10 to 0-5, by the 40th minute, thank in the main to successful kicks from Niamh Cotter, Eimear Scally and an Orla Finn free upon the restart.

Equally significant during this period was a Martina O’Brien penalty save, the Cork captain repelling Roisin Leonard’s well-struck effort.

The opening goal of this Division 1 decider arrived on the three-quarter hour mark, Saoirse Noonan, as she did all last summer, coming off the bench to great effect, her soccer skills on display for all to see when toe-poking the ball past Lisa Murphy.

The score left eight between the sides and, in truth, it appeared to signal the end of the game as a contest. But a Charlotte Cooney goal shortly after, followed by yellow cards to Cork's Niamh Cotter and Ciara O’Sullivan, provided Galway with a glimmer of hope and their tails were up when Louise Ward goaled on 57 minutes to leave the scoreboard reading 1-12 to 2-7.

The Tribeswomen required a third goal but were unable to engineer another opening.

The two-point win means a sixth league title in seven years for Cork.

Cork led 0-7 to 0-5 at the break and were certainly the far more economical of the two sides, all bar two of their shots at goal resulting in white flags.

It was an altogether different story at the other end as Galway kicked four wides and squandered three goal chances.

For the first and last of those green flag openings, credit must go to Cork goalkeeper Martina O’Brien and defender Melissa Duggan for their respective interceptions. Duggan, in particular, did very well to hold onto the ball with Tracey Leonard lurking with intent.

Picture: Sportsfile
Picture: Sportsfile

Galway’s outstanding goal chance came on 29 minutes, stemming from a Sinead Burke interception to cut out an easily telegraphed Niamh Cotter pass.

The long-serving Burke offloaded to Megan Glynn who bore down on Martin O’Brien’s goal with ominous intent. With Galway players to her left and right, Glynn held onto possession a fraction of a second too long and her attempted pass to Sarah Conneally was scrambled away by the lone red jersey at home in the Cork defence.

Compounding Galway’s wastefulness on this occasion was that Cork surged up the field, the move finishing with Ciara O’Sullivan kicking her second of the day.

The Rebels struggled early on to break down Galway’s mass defence, but remained patient in front of goal and had moved into a 0-4 to 0-2 lead by the 19th minute following scores from Libby Coppinger and an Orla Finn free.

The westerners, despite losing Maireád Seoighe to the sin-bin, secured parity through Megan Glynn, this their first from play of the afternoon, and Róisín Leonard.

Of the remaining four scores in the half, three were kicked by the Rebels, the pick of them being an Eimear Scally effort after Megan Glynn cheaply coughed up possession.

Cork were much the better side in the second period but had to endure a nervy ending before stumbling somewhat over the line.

Scorers for Cork: O Finn (0-5, 0-3 frees); E Scally (0-3); S Noonan (1-0); C O’Sullivan (0-2); L Coppinger, N Cotter (0-1 each).

Scorers for Galway: R Leonard (0-3, 0-2 frees); L Ward, C Cooney (1-0 each); T Leonard (0-2 frees); L Hannon, M Glynn (0-1 each).

Cork: M O’Brien; C O’Shea, H Looney, S Kelly; M O’Callaghan, M Duggan, E Kiely; A Hutchings, O Farmer; C O’Sullivan, N Cotter, D Kiely; E Scally, O Finn, L Coppinger.

Subs: E Meaney for D Kiely, S Noonan for O’Callaghan (both 37); R Ní Bhuachalla for Coppinger (44); E Spillane for E Kiely (46);

Galway: L Murphy; S Molloy, F Cooney, S Lynch; O Murphy, S Burke, C Cooney; L Ward, B Hannon; O Divilly, T Leonard, M Glynn; S Conneally, R Leonard, M Seoighe.

Subs: L Coen for Seoighe (HT); A McDonagh for Conneally (41 mins); L Hannon for Glynn (46); M Coyne for B Hannon (52).

Referee: M Farrelly (Cavan).

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