Ladies football is in a very healthy place
So much for the argument that Cork’s dominance is hurting the game. Yesterday’s crowd of 31,083, an increase of over 3,000 on the 2014 final figure, meant the All-Ireland final was the largest-attended female sports event in Europe in 2015, surpassing the English FA Cup final which drew 30,710.
The game was notable for its intensity, with the likes of Sinéad Goldrick, Vera Foley and Rena Buckley displaying remarkable levels of fitness in foraging between the respective 45-metre lines. Encouraging to see Waterford, a dominant force in the game in the late 1990s and early 2000s, returning to senior ranks.
The blanket defence will only get a team so far
Dublin, as they have done all season, employed a most defensive approach. Sorcha Furlong and Molly Lamb acted as sweepers, the Dublin half-forward line spent much of the contest inside their own half and consequently, Lyndsey Davey and Niamh McEvoy were the sole Dublin players in the Cork half of the field for long periods of the game.
That approach never allowed Cork out of sight but, on the other hand, Dublin never led from the 22nd minute onwards and never looked capable of out-scoring their opponents in the second-half. It was only in the final 10 minutes when they pushed players forward did they seriously trouble Cork.
Cork Ladies Football Team Crowned All-Ireland Champions. Video by Eddie O’Hare.
Never ever write off Cork
They were out of sorts for most of the opening half, stifled by Dublin’s defensive system, let down by poor shooting and robbed of one of their marquee defenders, Geraldine O’Flynn. And still they managed to return down the tunnel at half-time level at 0-5 apiece.
Even in the closing stages when momentum was again with Dublin and they had been pinned deep inside their own half, they didn’t panic. One or two necessary fouls were committed to keep Dublin at bay and when Sinéad Goldrick shot on goal with less than 20 seconds remaining, the Cork defence smothered her shot.
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