After denying Cork five Bord Gáis Energy Division 1 titles in-a-row, the Monaghan focus immediately switched to summer football.
“It was a great win, but we are still out on June 16 in the championship against Tyrone. The league is over now,” said Monaghan joint manager Gregory McGonagle.
“Last year we won seven out of seven and ended up not making the league final and the girls were gutted about that.
“But the business end of the season starts from June. The girls are well aware that the championship is the one we are aiming for.”
Claiming their first league title since 1999 at Parnell Park on Saturday, Monaghan dominated throughout the second period but were kept on the edge of their seats when goals from Nollaig Cleary and a Valerie Mulcahy penalty reduced the deficit to three points late on, but the superb Cathriona McConnell stepped up with the late point to seal the win.
“Any day you lose it is very disappointing but to be fair, Monaghan deserved to win. They were better than us,” admitted Cork boss Eamon Ryan.
Monaghan tore into the Leesiders from the first whistle with their high-intensity play and tenacious tackling upsetting the Rebels.
Niamh Kindlon was a real handful at full-forward and with the youthful Cathriona McConnell and Caoimhe Mohan running off her, Cork never got to grips with an inside line that produced all but two of Monaghan’s scores.
Early points from Kindlon and McConnell got Monaghan off to a great start, but 11 minutes in Cleary opened the Cork account with a point.
But that proved a brief interlude as Monaghan hit three points in five minutes.
However, slowly but surely, Cork began to find their feet and Monaghan goalkeeper Linda Martin was forced to deny Rhona Ni Bhuchalla a goal in the 21st minute.
Juliet Murphy gained some consolation for Cork from a quickly-taken 45 and after McEnaney kicked her second point in reply for Monaghan, Cork took control.
Farmer started the good run for Cork with a point to cap a fine run from Ciara O’Sullivan and further scores from Cleary and Murphy ensured that Monaghan led by just 0-6 to 0-5 at half-time.
Kindlon carried on where she left off after the restart with a well worked score to push Monaghan two points clear, but the key score arrived in the 37th minute when McConnell goaled for Monaghan.
The goal swelled the Monaghan belief and a run of points from the outstanding McConnell pushed them into a 1-12 to 0-6 lead. But then Cleary and Mulcahy struck to leave three points between them.
But McConnell stepped forward again and her fourth point of the day sealed Monaghan’s first Division 1 title for 13 years.
Scorers for Monaghan: C McConnell (1-4); N Kindlon (0-4, 1f); C Mohan (0-3); L McEnaney (0-2) Scorers for Cork: V Mulcahy (1-1, 1-0pen, 1f); N Cleary (1-2); J Murphy (0-3, 2fs); O Farmer (0-1).
MONAGHAN: L Martin; G McNally, S Courtney, C Reilly; T McNally, N Fahy, A McAnespie; A Casey, I Kierans; C McAnespie, L McEnaney, C Courtney; C McConnell, N Kindlon, C Mohan.
Subs: E McElroy for Kierans, (ht); E McCarron for McEnaney, (56); L Connolly for Fahy, (58).
CORK: E Harte; A.M. Walsh, D O’Reilly, R Buckley; B Corkery, B Stack, G O’Flynn; J Murphy, N Kelly; A Walsh, C O’Sullivan, G Kearney; N Cleary, R Ni Bhuachalla, O Farmer.
Subs: V Mulcahy for Kearney, (40); L McMahon for A Walsh, (40); D O’Sullivan for Farmer, (45); A Sheehan for AM Walsh, (58).
Referee: Gavin Corrigan (Down).
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