Kilkenny 1-13 Cork 1-9
By Eoghan Cormican, in Croke Park
A rousing third quarter performance from Kilkenny – during which the Cats outscored their opponents by 1-4 to 0-1 – delivered the county a first All-Ireland in 22 years.
Kilkenny had moved 0-11 to 0-7 ahead when Shelly Farrell landed the decisive score of the final on 41 minutes. Set up by Katie Power, Farrell blasted to the top right corner of Aoife Murray’s goal for the opening major of the game. Katie Power tagged on a point thereafter to move the 2014 beaten finalists eight clear.
Cork’s woes were compounded when Gemma O’Connor picked up two yellow cards in the space of five minutes which saw the reigning champions reduced to 14 players for the closing stages. Orla Cotter goaled late on from a 20-metre free but it was a case of too little too late.
Kilkenny were two to the good at the break, 0-8 to 0-6, and were just about deserving of their lead. Denise Gaule supplied five of the Kilkenny tally from the dead ball, with Julie Ann Malone chipping in with two points from play.
Ann Downey’s side had the best goal chance of the half when a Malone delivery fell in behind the Cork full-back line on nine minutes where Michelle Quilty stood unmarked. Quilty, though, pulled narrowly wide.
Cork too had chances of securing a green flag. Hannah Looney was dragged to the ground after superbly fielding Gemma O’Connor’s free five minutes from the break. Aoife Murray came forward for the resulting penalty, but her drive was tipped over the bar by Ann Dalton. Orla Cronin also had a half chance but failed to make connection at the vital moment. Ashling Thompson, Eimear O’Sullivan and Katriona Mackey clipped a point apiece with Orla Cotter twice finding the target.
What arrived after the break was near one-way traffic.
Scorers for Kilkenny: D Gaule (0-7, 0-7 frees); JA Malone (0-4); S Farrell (1-0); K Power, M Farrell (0-1 each).
Scorers for Cork: O Cotter (1-2, 1-1 free); K Mackey (0-2); A Murray (0-1 pen), A Thompson, H Looney, E O’Sullivan, L Coppinger (0-1 each).
Cork: A Murray; L O’Sullivan, R Buckley, L Treacy; M Cahalane, G O’Connor, P Mackey; O Cotter; A Thompson; E O’Sullivan, B Corkery, H Looney; A Connor, O Cronin, K Mackey.
Subs: L Coppinger for O’Sullivan (47 mins); J Hosford for Cronin (56)
Kilkenny: E Kavanagh; C Dormer, E Keane, J Frisby; A Dalton, D Tobin, C Phelan; M Farrell, A Farrell; JA Malone, M Walsh, S Farrell; M Quilty, K Power, D Gaule.
Subs: KA Doyle for A Farrell (58 mins); A Dunphy for Power (62)
Referee: E Cassidy (Derry).