Down 6-16 Fermanagh 1-10
Mark Copeland’s Down demolished Fermanagh by 21 points in Sunday’s TG4 All-Ireland Ladies intermediate football final at Croke Park today.
Down beat the Erne County for the fourth time this season to claim a first All-Ireland crown since their junior success in 2000.
Down, despite lining out from the start without star forward Kyla Trainor, were too good for Fermanagh as they repeated their Ulster final victory over the same opposition.
Three first half goals helped to establish a 3-6 to 0-6 half-time lead for Down and they piled on the misery in the second half.
Down could even afford to have two players sent to the sin-bin during the game.
Corner back Orla Boyle was yellow-carded in the 20th minute and captain Niamh McGowan suffered a similar fate 12 minutes from the end of normal time.
But Fermanagh’s desperate forgettable day was made even worse by a yellow card of their own, when sub Maura McDonald was sent to the line eight minutes from time, soon after she had replaced Tara Little.
Down had unleashed Trainor from the bench in the 20th minute and down the home straight, the Downpatrick forward was brilliant, hitting an unanswered 2-2 in a devastating blitz.
Sinéad McNamee had netted Down’s fourth goal earlier in the second half and Fermanagh were simply overrun as the Mourne County ran riot.
The signs were ominous for Fermanagh from an early stage as Aileen Pyres, who bagged 1-5, scored the opening goal of the game in the ninth minute.
After Pyres blasted a long-range effort off the crossbar, the full-forward followed up with a sharp soccer-style finish to net the rebound.
Lauren Cunningham scored Down’s second goal in the 20th minute and Fermanagh were dealt a crippling blow on the stroke of half-time, when Lisa Morgan goaled from a penalty with the final kick of the half.
Down, who will play senior championship football next year pressed home their superiority early in the second half, opening with a run of four unanswered points.
Gráinne McClean had a goal ruled out and Down also missed a second penalty when Lisa Morgan was denied by Fermanagh goalkeeper Shauna Murphy, who also blocked the follow-up effort.
But Down did break through for a fourth goal, scored by McNamee, and the scene was set for Trainor to display her remarkable range of skills to rub further salt into the Fermanagh wounds.
Caroline Little, who continued to take the fight to Down, registered Fermanagh’s only goal with ten minutes remaining but it was mere consolation against the deserving winners of the Mary Quinn Memorial Cup.
Scorers for Down: K Trainor 2-4, A Pyres 1-5 (0-2f), L Cunningham 1-2, S McNamee 1-1, L Morgan 1-1 (1-0 pen), J Magee, S Fegan, G McClean 0-1 each.
Scorers for Fermanagh: C Little 1-4 (3f), N Connolly 0-2, D Maguire, C Monahan, A Moane and J Doonan 0-1 each.
DOWN: S Brannigan; O Boyle, E Downey, J Magee; O Fegan, N McGowan, S Fegan; K McMullan, E Kane; G McClean, L Cunningham, S McNamee; M Grant, A Pyres, L Morgan.
Subs: K Trainor for Grant (20), M Doherty for McClean (46), J Foy for McNamee (50), G Kelly for Morgan (54), H Murray for S Fegan (55).
FERMANAGH: S Murphy; R Gallagher, K McManus, S McQuade; M Monahan, T Little, D Maguire; C Little, Á McHugh; S Hamilton, A Moane, J Doonan; S Little, N Connolly, M McDonald.
Subs: L McFrederick for McQuade (35), N Daly for McHugh (39), M McDonald for T Little (50), C Cadden for Doonan (56), S McCausland for S Little (56).
Referee: M Doherty (Wexford).