Cork Book Return to Lidl NFL Final

Cork 1-16
Dublin 0-13

ORLA Finn and Eimear Scally combined for 1-10 as holders Cork qualified for a tenth successive Lidl Ladies National Football League Division 1 final.

The Rebelettes continue to hold the Indian Sign over rivals Dublin, as they inflicted yet another knock-out defeat on the Sky Blues.

Cork won last year’s League semi-final and have triumphed over the Dubs in the last three All-Ireland senior deciders.

And while current Cork boss Ephie Fitzgerald might still be without dual stars Briege Corkery and Rena Buckley, there’s still a significant depth of talent in his squad.

Scally, whose season was interrupted by a bout of glandular fever last year, is emerging as a forward of genuine class, while All-Star Finn continues to impress.

Finn top-scored at Kilkenny’s Nowlan Park with a haul of 0-7, including four points from play, as Scally collected 1-3 from play.

Cork were 1-10 to 0-6 clear at half-time, a run of six points without reply before the break opening up a comfortable interval lead.

In the first half, Scally and Finn were Dublin’s tormentors-in-chief, collecting 1-6 between them.

All but one point of Cork’s first half tally came from play but that goal, in the 14th minute, was slightly fortuitous.

Finn’s long-range effort for a point came back off the crossbar and Bríd O’Sullivan was on hand to set up Scally for a simple finish.

That score was crucial, sending Cork into a 1-3 to 0-3 lead after the sides had been level on three occasions.

Midfielder Niamh Cotter roared through for a point to put Cork four clear but Dublin, to their credit, battled back to within one as Sinead Aherne (free), Rebecca McDonnell and Nicole Owens scored point.

Owens was unlucky that she didn’t find the back of the net in the 21st minute but Cork goalkeeper Martina O’Brien pulled off a fine save to tip her effort over the crossbar.

Dublin also suffered a blow in that spell when Niamh McEvoy went off injured, with manager Mick Bohan feeling strongly enough to make his feelings known to referee Niall McCormack, the Sky Blues manager insistent that the St. Sylvester’s player had been fouled.

McEvoy was fit enough to return for the second half but a seven-point half-time deficit was too much for Dublin to claw back.

They did manage to cut the Cork lead to three points with five minutes of normal time remaining but the Leesiders found an extra gear again.

Dublin could also thank Ciara Trant for a full-length save that kept out a goalbound Scally shot with 13 minutes left.

At the other end, and despite some decent approach work, Dublin struggled to break through.

Their best goal chance in the second half saw Carla Rowe blaze over the crossbar to finish off some fine interplay.

All of Cork’s six starting forwards would finish with scores before the finish, while Dublin sub Sarah McCaffrey impressed after coming on, kicking two points.

Rowe and Owens managed three points each for Dublin but once again, the Jackies had to play second fiddle once again to Cork, who will aim to secure a fifth successive League crown against Donegal or Galway in the May 7 final. 

Dublin finished the game with 14 players when Niamh Collins picked up a late yellow card but it mattered little to the end result, as Cork cruiseda to victory. 


Scorers for Cork – O Finn 0-7 (3f), E Scally 1-3, C O’Sullivan 0-2, N Cotter, L Coppinger, B O’Sullivan & O Farmer 0-1 each.


Scorers for Dublin – C Rowe & N Owens 0-3 each, N Healy, S Aherne (2f) & S McCaffrey 0-2 each, R McDonnell 0-1.


CORK: M O’Brien; M Ambrose, R Phelan, E Spillane; M Duggan, B Stack, S Kelly; N Cotter, J O’Shea; L Coppinger, B O’Sullivan, O Farmer; E Scally, C O’Sullivan, O Finn.


Subs: A Walsh for O’Shea (38), D O’Sullivan for Coppinger (47), L Coholan for Farmer (59), A Hutchings for B O’Sullivan (60+2).


DUBLIN: C Trant; F Hudson, S Finnegan, S O’Mahony; M Byrne, O Carey, L Caffrey; L Magee, N Collins; R McDonnell, N Healy, C Rowe; S Aherne, N McEvoy, N Owens.


Subs: H O’Neill for McEvoy (temp 18-h.t.), D Murphy for O’Mahony (h.t.), S McCaffrey for Magee (42), S Goldrick for McDonnell (53).


Referee – N McCormack (Laois)

By Jackie Cahill at Nowlan Park, Kilkenny

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