Donaghmoyne (Monaghan) 1-8 Mourneabbey (Cork) 1-6: Champions Donaghmoyne held off brave Mourneabbey in a thrilling All-Ireland Ladies Club SFC semi-final at Fontenoy Park yesterday.
Late Catriona McConnell and Cora Courtney points sealed victory for the Monaghan girls who defeated the Cork and Munster champions in last year’s decider.
The visitors led at the break (1-4 to 0-5) thanks to a goal from captain Brid O’Sullivan after 16 minutes — Mourneabbey’s only score from play. But the hosts battled back despite having both Fiona and Sharon Courtney sent to the sin bin in either half.
The sides were level on three occasions in the opening period, Doireann O’Sullivan with all four of Mourneabbey’s points from frees. With Amanda Casey, Louise Kerley (2), and Cora Courtney on target, Donaghmoyne led 0-4 to 0-3 before O’Sullivan fired home the opening goal. Fiona Courtney was yellow carded on 21 minutes but despite their numerical advantage, Mourneabbey only registered a single point while she was in the bin, while Kerley was on target at the other end.
Donaghmoyne had a dream start to the second half with last year’s final hero, Hazel Kingham, finding the net after her flighted effort was misjudged by keeper Meabh O’Sullivan.
O’Sullivan had the sides level for the fifth time, with 12 minutes remaining, converting a free that followed the yellow carding of Sharon Courtney. But again Donaghmoyne defended magnificently when down to 14 players and Mourneabbey failed to capitalise.
With the sides deadlocked, McConnell and Courtney stepped up to land the crucial scores that propelled the champions back to the All-Ireland final.
Meanwhile, a sensational two-goal flurry in as many minutes — after being reduced to 14 players — helped Foxrock-Cabinteely past ladies’ football superpower Carnacon and into their first All-Ireland club decider.
Dublin All-Star Sinead Goldrick had just tied the game, for the third time, at 2-8 each, in the 22nd minute when her side lost wing-back Lorna Fusciardi to the sin bin. That tipped the balance towards five-time All-Ireland champions Carnacon, featuring five Mayo seniors, including Cora Staunton, All-Star Fiona McHale, and Martha Carter, with Amy Dowling also outstanding at Bray Emmets.
But the two-in-a-row Leinster champions produced a fantastic response, immediately scoring two goals despite their numerical disadvantage.
A brilliant through ball from Amy Connolly put Amy Ring through for the first and, within a minute, Ring turned provider, crossing a ball for Anne-Marie Murphy to fist to the net to give them a sudden five-point lead.
A point and free from Staunton kept Carnacon’s hopes alive and they continued to get chances.
But a vital steal by Goldrick off Staunton, and an insurance point from Dowling, sealed the historic win for the Dubliners who only won their first Leinster title last season and now face Donaghmoyne on December 4 in a repeat of their 2015 semi-final.
Foxrock-Cab led by three (1-5 to 1-2) at half time despite being hit by a 10th-minute penalty, earned by Michelle Corbett and scored by 10-time All-Star Staunton. Their goalkeeper, Laurie Ahern, then pulled off a vital save from Dowling before the two Amys combined for Amy Connolly to grab their first goal after 21 minutes, in a tense first half.
The second half started with drama and never let up.
Laura Nerney hit the net just four minutes after the restart, Dowling matched her two minutes later, and then Mayo’s five-time All-Ireland club champions hit four unanswered points to go a point clear.
Yet the Dubliners — with Goldrick operating as a holding midfielder, county colleague Niamh Collins marking Staunton in an excellent team defence, and Westmeath’s Laura Claffey also starring — never let their heads drop and pulled off a famous victory.
Scorers for Donaghmoyne:
L Kerley 0-4 (3f), H Kingham 1-0, C Courtney 0-2, C McConnell 0-1, A Casey 0-1
Scorers for Mourneabbey:
D O’Sullivan 0-6f, B O’Sullivan 1-0.
L Martin; J Geogehan, S Courtney, A McElroy; H Kingham, F Courtney, J Courtney; A Casey, C Courtney; C McConnell, E McElroy, R Courtney; L Kerley, N Callan, L Garland.
R Finnegan for Garland (39).
M O’Sullivan; E Harrington, C A Stack, A O’Callaghan; E Coakley, R O’Sullivan, E Meaney; M O’Callaghan, A O’Sullivan; K Coakley, B O’Sullivan, C O’Sullivan; E Jack, D O’Sullivan, S O’Callaghan.
E Land for A O’Callaghan (42), N O’Sullivan for Jack (55).
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