Orla Finn shows star quality for Cork

Lidl Ladies NFL Division 1 - Cork 2-21 Tyrone 1-3: “It’s the same rain that soaks and winds that bite… The same bruises show but the pride shows too… We’re no different. All we need is what every player needs — support.”
Orla Finn shows star quality for Cork

That’s the rallying cry of the recent run of adverts to announce Lidl’s sponsorship of ladies football, with the aim of promoting the stars of the game for the coming year.

Orla Finn could prove to be one such star, based on a 30-minute tally of 1-9 amassed against Tyrone in front of just south of 200 spectators.

The caveats of a late time-change to accommodate Tyrone’s return journey and a lack of away support must be taken into consideration for the attendance, as loyalists huddled into the Mallow stand to watch the most dominant team in sport rack up another convincing win.

While it can be quite an adjustment for the Cork players to come down from the September high of performing for a population of 30,000 in Croke Park and back to the Mallow routine, Finn offsets that with the promise that this winter’s work could reap another Croker reward.

“It just makes you want to work harder to get back up there, to see those crowds and play in Croke Park again,” said Finn. “I think that’s what drives us all to work hard to get back there again for another year.

“The All-Ireland final day last year showed how much support we’re after getting in the last number of years and hopefully that’ll keep improving. There are a lot of people that have great interest in the game and it’s getting more and more popular, so hopefully the support will continue and everyone will get behind us again this year.”

Sunday’s 21-point win over the Red Hand county gave new manager Ephie Fitzgerald his first victory in three attempts.

“We started back a week or two later than usual but that’s not going to stop us,” insists Finn. “We’re all determined to get fit, prove ourselves at training and push each other on. We’re all getting used to the change now and we’ll try to make this year as successful as the rest.”

Finn’s scoring spree started with her first touch after being introduced at the break, with Cork already 1-10 to 0-1 in the ascendancy, and she would go no more than six minutes at any time without a point.

Her 54th-minute goal was the crowning glory, although Grainne Rafferty hit 1-1 in reply to give Tyrone some consolation for the road home.

“When you come on in the second half, you’ve a lot to prove, because there’s such competition between all the players,” said the top scorer.

A superb supply of ball to the inside line helped Finn, just as it assisted her first-half predecessors in amassing a quick lead. The much-medalled midfield combo of Rena Buckley and Briege Corkery dominated the central exchanges and added an early point apiece.

Aisling Hutchings raised Cork’s first green flag in the 11th minute, while 40 minutes separated Tyrone’s first and second scores — points from Niamh O’Neill in the 12th and 52nd minutes.

In the meantime, Corkery, Ciara O’Sullivan, and Aine O’Sullivan and, later, Finn provided the scoring highlights for the happy onlookers.

Elsewhere, Mayo made it three wins from three in a fiery Connacht derby against Galway. Once again, Cora Staunton (0-8) was Mayo’s leading scorer in a 2-8 to 1-10 victory at Tuam Stadium.

Meanwhile, Gregory McGonigle’s Dublin hammered his former charges Monaghan in Emyvale. Dublin ran out 5-18 to 0-6 winners and the game was done and dusted by half-time as the Dubs led 5-7 to 0-4.

There was also a notable victory for Armagh against Kerry at Pearse Ógs. The hosts won by 4-11 to 0-12, with Aimee Mackin (2), Lauren McConville, and Blaithin Mackin scoring the goals.

Scorers for Cork:

O Finn (1-9, 4f); A Hutchings (1-1); C O’Sullivan (0-3); B Corkery, A O’Sullivan (0-2 each); R Buckley, E Farmer (free), S Kelly, L Fitzgerald (0-1 each).

Scorers for Tyrone:

G Rafferty (1-1, 0-1 free); N O’Neill (0-2).

CORK:

M O’Brien; M Ambrose, R Phelan, A Hayes; V Foley, D O’Reilly, A Barrett; R Buckley, B Corkery; A Walsh, A O’Sullivan, A Hutchings; E Farmer, C O’Sullivan, S Kelly.

Subs:

M O’Sullivan for O’Brien, J O’Shea for Ambrose, S Cotter for O’Reilly, O Finn for Farmer (all ht), B O’Sullivan for Barrett, E Meaney for Foley, M Corkery for Walsh, M O’Callaghan for Corkery (all 40), L Fitzgerald for Buckley (46).

TYRONE:

L Kane; K Quinn, C Muldoon, C McCann; E Quinn, N Woods, C Hunter; E Hegarty, S Quinn; C McNabb, N O’Neill, M McGuigan; E Collins, C McCrossan, G Rafferty.

Subs:

M McCann for McGuigan (34), J Barrett for Collins (40), M Canavan for McCrossan (46).

Referee:

S Mulvihill (Kerry).

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