Mourneabbey survive opening night scare in draw with West Cork

West Cork missed an opportunity right at the death to claim the spoils of this Group A fixture
Mourneabbey survive opening night scare in draw with West Cork

GRIPPING CONTEST: West Cork’s Libby Coppinger is tackled by Mourneabbey’s Kate O’Brien in last night’s Cork Ladies SFC clash in Mourneabbbey. Picture: Eddie O’Hare

Mourneabbey 0-16 West Cork 2-10

Back-to-back All-Ireland ladies football club champions Mourneabbey were fortunate to salvage a draw as they opened their county title defence.

West Cork, who came up short to Mourneabbey in the 2018 and 2019 county finals, had an opportunity right at the death to claim the spoils of this Group A fixture, but Aine Terry O’Sullivan was unable to steer a close-range free between the posts.

O’Sullivan and fellow Cork senior Libby Coppinger had thrown over five unanswered points during the third quarter to move the divisional side 2-9 to 0-12 in front. The six-in-a-row county champions, though, responded with four on the bounce to regain the lead.

Aine Terry O’Sullivan levelled proceedings with a 62nd minute free, but could not repeat the trick in the ensuing passage of play.

Mourneabbey — minus six of last year’s All-Ireland final starting team — were a picture of efficiency early on, kicking 11 scores and not a single wide to lead by 0-11 to 2-3 at the break.

Doireann O’Sullivan was responsible for 0-5 of their first-half tally, four of her white flags coming from play.

It was a far different picture up the other end of the field, West Cork shooting six wides and spurning three gilt-edged goal chances. Mourneabbey ‘keeper Maebh O’Sullivan deserves huge credit for ensuring none of those green flag chances wound up in the net, the youngest member of the O’Sullivan clan producing three excellent saves to deny Fiona Keating, Rachel Murphy, and Aine Terry O’Sullivan. She’d add two more saves to her evening’s work upon the change of ends.

West Cork’s second goal, which ended a 22-minute barren spell for them, was a result of Aine Terry O’Sullivan’s shot taking a wicked deflection off a Mourneabbey defender.

Scorers for Mourneabbey: D O’Sullivan (0-6, 0-1 free); C O’Sullivan (0-4); E Jack (0-3, 0-2 frees); C O’Callaghan, C Harrington, B O’Sullivan (0-1 each).

Scorers for West Cork: AT O’Sullivan (1-5, 0-2 frees); L Coppinger (1-3); D Kiely, R Murphy (0-1 each).

MOURNEABBEY: M O'Sullivan; K Coakley, A O'Sullivan, A Walsh; A Cronin, E Meaney, K O'Brien; N O'Sullivan, B O'Sullivan; C Harrington, C O'Sullivan, E Jack; C O'Callaghan, D O'Sullivan, R O'Sullivan.

SUBS: A Ryan for K O’Brien, M O’Callaghan for C Harrington (both HT).

WEST CORK: M O'Brien (Clonakilty); M Coppinger (St Colum's), S Hayes (Rosscarbery), C O'Sullivan (Beara); E Spillane (Bantry), C O'Shea (Beara), M Duggan (Dohenys); E Murphy (Bantry), S Courtney (Castlhaven); Aine Terry O'Sullivan (Beara), R Murphy (Bantry), L Harte (O'Donovan Rossa); F Keating (Courcey Rovers), L Coppinger (St Colum's), D Kiely (Valley Rovers).

SUBS: E Kiely (Valley Rovers) for M Coppinger (HT); M Barrett (Clonakilty) for Harte (45).

Referee: J Murphy.

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