Cork were crowned Bord Gáis Energy Ladies National Football League Division 1 champions for a third successive season at Dublin’s Parnell Park yesterday.
The all-conquering Leesiders have now claimed five NFL titles in the last six seasons as thoughts now turn firmly towards the assault on a sixth successive All-Ireland title.
Eamon Ryan’s all-conquering team ran out 2-10 to 1-9 winners against Galway but they had to dig deep as the Connacht champions led by 1-6 to 1-5 with just over 14 minutes remaining.
That was before Cork sub Rhona Buckley, who had only been on the pitch a matter of minutes, blasted home the decisive goal which turned a free-ridden encounter firmly in Cork’s favour.
In the last 15 minutes, Cork finished strongly and the champions outscored the Westerners by 1-5 to 0-3 in that spell.
Cork led by just a single point at half-time, 1-4 to 1-3, as Galway launched a strong fightback having fallen 1-4 to 0-2 adrift.
The Tribeswomen were rocked by Valerie Mulcahy’s goal midway through the half but responded minutes before the break when Edel Concannon’s effort dropped into the net over the head of Cork goalkeeper Elaine Harte.
Despite finishing on the losing side, Galway corner back Catriona Cormican was honoured with the player of the match award.
Elsewhere, Donegal were finally crowned Bord Gáis Division 2 champions, having lost three finals in the previous eight seasons.
The north-westerners ran out winners by ten points against Kildare in Saturday’s second tier decider, on a final score of 5-15 to 2-14.
Full-forward Yvonne McMonagle and corner forward Geraldine McLaughlin both scored 2-1 for the winners while Eilish Ward won the player of the match award after notching 1-4.
Donegal led by 2-10 to 1-8 at half-time against the Lilywhites, who had goalscoring contributions from top scorer Aine Gately and sister Deirdre.
Meanwhile, Cavan captured the Bord Gáis Energy Division 3 title for the second time in three seasons with a comfortable 4-13 to 1-10 victory against Waterford.
First half goals from Gráinne Smith, Bronagh Sheridan and Roisin O’Keeffe helped Cavan to lead by 3-4 to 1-5 at half-time, as Stephanie Power hit Waterford’s first half goal.
Cavan’s fourth goal, midway through the second half, killed the tie as a contest as the Breffni County surged 4-11 to 1-10 clear.
Corner forward Aisling Doonan received the player of the match award after scoring five points for Cavan, including four from play.
Cork 2-10 Galway 1-9.
Cork scorers: V Mulcahy 1-6 (0-2f), Rhona Buckley 1-1, J Murphy 0-1f, G O’Flynn 0-1, M O’Connor 0-1.
Galway scorers: N Duggan 0-4 (2f), E Concannon 1-0, A Daly 0-1, D Gorman 0-1, U Carroll 0-1, L Joyce 0-1, C Cormican 0-1.
CORK: E Harte; R Buckley (c), A Walsh, L Barrett; D O’Reilly, B Stack, G O’Flynn; J Murphy, N Kelly; N Cleary, C O’Sullivan, A.M. Walsh; M O’Connor, V Mulcahy, M Kelly.
Subs: O Farmer for A.M. Walsh, Rhona Buckley for C O’Sullivan, C Creedon for M Kelly.
GALWAY: J Connolly; S Noone, A Gilmore, C Cormican; R McPhilbin, E Flaherty (c), G Conneally; D Lawless, A Daly; L Joyce, E Concannon, S Burke; S Murphy, M Coyne, N Duggan.
Subs: P Gleeson for D Lawless, D Gorman for S Murphy, U Carroll for M Coyne.
Referee: K Tighe (Dublin)
Donegal 5-15 Kildare 2-14.
Kildare scorers: A Gately 1-6 (0-2f), T Noone 0-7 (6f), D Gately 1-0, L Keatley 0-1.
Donegal scorers: G McLaughlin 2-1, Y McMonagle 2-1, E Ward 1-4, N McLaughlin 0-2, N Hegarty 0-2, K Guthrie 0-2 (1f), G Houston 0-1, A McDonal 0-1, M Herron 0-1.
DONEGAL: R McCafferty; D Toner, M Devenney, K Wilson; C Hegarty, M Herron, D Foley; A McDonal, K Guthrie; G Houston, N Hegarty, U Leonard; E Ward, Y McMonagle, G McLaughlin.
Subs: N McLaughlin for Leonard, K Keeney for Wilson, B Gallagher for Houston (60).
KILDARE: T Martin; A Herbert, N Quinn, P Delahunt; A Lyons, M Moolick, D Berry; A Holton, J Timmons; D Gately, T Noone, A Gately; L Keatley, B Leahy, S Hurley.
Subs: M Murphy for Hurley, C O’Malley for Timmons, K Turner for Martin, P Keatley for Lyons, C Dowling for D Gately.
Referee: J Niland (Sligo).
Cavan 4-13 Waterford 1-10
Cavan scorers: B Sheridan 1-2, G Smith 1-2, A Doonan 0-5 (1f), R O’Keeffe 1-1, B Boylan 1-0, R Crowe 0-1, A Cornyn 0-1, P.C. McCabe 0-1.
Waterford scorers: M Ryan 0-6 (4f), S Power 1-0, S Ryan 0-2, G Kenneally 0-1, M McGrath 0-1.
CAVAN: K Baxter; C Reilly, C Grey, C Kearins; R Murphy, A Cornyn, C Smith; R Crowe, C Murtagh; P Crowe-McCabe, R O’Keeffe, G Smith; B Boylan, B Sheridan, A Doonan.
Subs: D English for C Smith, C Reilly for Murtagh, S Cassidy for G Smith, O Cusack for Boylan.
WATERFORD: A Jordan; R Tobin, M Foley, L Hogan; G Enright, N Dunphy, M Wall; M McGrath, E Power; G Kenneally, S Power, A McGovern; L Wall, M Ryan, S Ryan.
Subs: A Wall for Power, T Fitzgerald for Enright.
Ref: P Kehoe (Carlow).