Cork celebrate another great year

Cork celebrate another great year

by Fr Liam Kelleher.


On Friday night Rochestown Park Hotel will be packed to capacity
as Cork Lady footballers celebrate another fantastic year of success.
The roll of honour for the Coounty is very impressive. Senior
team All-Ireland and National League Champions for the 2nd year
in a row. Minor team All-Ireland Champions, Under 14 team All-Ireland
Champions. Under 16 team All-Ireland

runners-up. At Club level, Inch Rovers win the All-Ireland Intermediate
title, while Donoughmore Senior and Kildorrery Junior took Munster

Playing arena

In the playing arena Cork retained their League and Championship

On their way to the Championship Final final Cork defeated Waterford
comprehensively in a very one sided and uneventful Munster final,
to take their 3rd title on the trot and had the satisfaction of
defeating Waterford for the first time ever in a Munster final.
Score 1-17 to 1-6 The goals coming from Caoimhe Creedon just before
half time, with Aoife Muhphy netting right at he death. Corks
sternest test in defence of their title came against Mayo. They
struggled for the opening period, but a fine 2nd

half performance secured their passage to the final on a score
line of 2-12 to 1-11. Laois were next up and free scoring Laois
were expected to give Cork a severe examination. The Cork defence
marshalled by Angela Walsh, Rena Buckley and Briege Corkery snuffed
out the danger of the Laois attack from an early stage and had
the game virtually won at the short whistle. A brace

of 3 late points gave the scoreboard a more respectable look,
the champions easily made it to the big day. In the final they
were put to the pin of their collar to defeat a very unlucky Armagh
team. In the league Final they overcame a very resilient Meath
Challenge Underage.

Cork who had won their 7th Munster under 14 title on the trot,
after a comprehensive win over Kerry faced Donegal in the quarter
final Cork had a facile win and in the Semi took a long time to
get over a very strong physical Laois team. All was set for a
cracking final against the Dubs in Birr. In a very high scoring
game with quality football, the rebels took their 5th title in
7 years and their first sine 2004 with a whopping score of 11-6
with the Dubs answering with 5-6. Emily O’Callaghan scored 5-4

Cork while player of the match Ciara Sherlock notched 4-0.

Under 16

After scoring big wins against Limerick and Tipperary Cork looked
odds on to take their 6th under 16 Munster title in a row. They
came up against a well drilled Kerry team in the Munster final
in Killarney and were fortunate to come away with a win in a high
scoring game 4-14 to 6-4. This Cork under 16 team continued to
blow hot and cold, they were out of it in the quarter final against
Galway and were lucky to be ahead at the break, a scintillating
2nd half performance saw off Galway 6-12 to 2-8. Cork repeated
the cold mode, in the first half of the Semi-Final against Kerry
and looked in trouble at the break trailing by 3 points, with
the wind to face. However they completely dominated the 2nd half
and had Kerry on the ropes long before the end with the final
score 3-14 to 3-5. In the final Cork were going for 3 in a row
as well as a clean sweep of Provincial and All-Ireland underage

They went in a slight favourites but Dublin ignored the script
and tore into Cork from the off and raced in to a 1-4 lead before
Corks lst point from Rhona Buckley. Cork reduced the gap to just
2, but they were powerless, as Dublin opened up a 10 point interval
lead. That was extended to 14, a minute into the 2nd half and
Cork’s historic treble was in tatters. Cork attacked

Dublin incessantly but found keeper Hannah Tyrell player of the
match and a blanket cover of up to 11 players barring their way.
Late goals put the icing on the cake for the Dubs and they certainly
made up for the disappointment of 2005.


Cork won the Munster title before the exam break and resumed
their campaign with a tremendous game against Dublin in the Semi-final
in Thurles. This was a heart stopping game which the Dubs looked
likely to win, with 5 minutes to go. Cork fought back to send
the game into extra time and while Dublin led at the break Cork
dominated 2nd period and went on to win by 4 points 5-14 to 3-15.
The final against Galway was also a ding dong battle.

Galway looked home and dry leading by 2 points with time almost
up, but there were to be 2 further twists in the game. Rhona Buckley
who had scored 4 goals against Dublin rescued Cork with a brilliant
goal, but Galway deservedly snatched a draw before the final whistle.
The final replay proved to be damp squib with Cork dominating
from the first whistle, to run out easy winners 1-22 to 0-8 with
Amanda Murphy notching 13 points in winning her incredible 14th
National title. Her haul includes 4 under 14

All-Ireland titles, 3 under 16, 3 minor, 2 Senior, 2 National
Leagues, as well as 2 Feile titles with her club Beara and 2 Feile

competitions at 17 years of age.

All Stars.

Rena Buckley, Angela Walsh, Nollaig Cleary and Mary O’Connor
were honoured with All Star Awards.

For the record this is how Cork annexed their 2nd Senior title.

TG4 All-Ireland final

Cork’s Gain Armagh’s Pain.


In one of the best and most competitive TG4 All-Ireland Ladies
finals of recent years Cork living on the edge for most of the
afternoon pipped gallant Armagh by the minimum. Credit Cork for
never panicking, when the tide seemed to be turning against them
in the opening half. Credit them for clawing their way back in
the 2nd half while not playing up to the their usual high standards.
Huge credit must go to Armagh last years Junior champions, as
well, given little hope by the pundits and even less hope by the
bookmakers who made Cork prohibitive favourites at 1-7. The Ulster
girls were certainly not intimidated, by those factors or by Cork
and in most neutrals eyes and even in the eyes of many of the
huge rebel following, they deserved at least a draw for their
trojan efforts. They did return North with nothing in terms of
silverware but with pride and the sympathy of the

26,000 who lauded their tremendous effort.

Armagh began the game on the offensive and only a timely interception
by Angela Walsh who wrestled the ball somehow from Sharon Duncan
as she bore down on goal. Nollaig Cleary deservedly named player
of the match, opened Cork’s account with a point after a minute.
For the next 20 minutes it was all Armagh, as Cork at sixes and
sevens failed, to register even an attack let alone a score. For
their dominance Armagh had just 4 points to spare and this was
due more to the heroics of Keeper Elaine Harte and her full back
line of Angela Walsh, Briege Corkery and Rena Buckley than their
own shortcomings Their points came at

11, 14 and 15 minutes from Mags McAlinden, Caroline O’Hanlon and
Aileen Matthew’s. Their goal particularly in the manner in which
was scored set the alarm bells ringing for Cork. That goal was
in the text book variety, a quick 45 to Mairead Tennyson she quickly
made ground and unleashed an unstoppable shot to the roof of the
net, as good as the Robin Van Persie wonder goal for Arsenal 24
hours earlier. Cork to their credit playing 2nd fiddle in most
areas of the field up to then and surprisingly at midfield,

where Juliet Murphy and Norita Kelly were outplayed by an impressive
Caroline O’Hanlon and Bronagh O’Donnell, were jolted into action.
A point, the first in nearly 20 minutes, from Mary O’Connor followed
by another from Nollaig Cleary were vital to the Cork cause. They
should have equalised when Amanda Murphy was one on one with the
keeper, but her shot was brilliantly saved by Fionnuala McAtamney
Armagh tagged on another point to be well deserving of their 4
point interval lead.

Quick response.

A quick response was vital for Cork at the start of the 2nd period
and they got it, through Juliet Murphy who upper her performance
and Caoimhe Creedon, points from them reduced the gap to 2. Then
Armagh were dealt a cruel blow when corner back Caoimhe Marley
was sin binned for the 10 minute duration.

Cork sensed that his was the platform to claw back their deficit
. They were guilty of some bad misses. Nollaig Cleary came to
the rescue again when she was on hand to gather the ball, after
her first effort had come back off the post, and she made no mistake
with her 2nd chance. This was at the vital three-quarter stage
and saw the Rebelettes lead 1-5 to 1-4.

Caroline O’Hanlon got Armagh’s lst score in 25 minutes and it
was all still to play for. The harshly treated Marley returned,
but the damage had been done, there was a 3 point swing during
her absence. A few shrewd switches gave Cork more bite. Sinead
O’ Reilly switched to the corner with Briege Corkery who ran all
over the place to great effect, indeed in the first half the Cork
full back trio had more shots at goal than some of their forward
counterparts. Amanda Murphy stepped up to the mark by scoring
a vital point. Geraldine O’Flynn a natural attacker, who had been
converted to the back moves to the half forward line and made
her presence felt with a vital point. Armagh created enough chances
to at least tie the game but their only consolation was a point
from goal heroine Mairead Tennyson With time running out, Juliet
Murphy who had a quiet day by her standards won a few

vital catches. Armagh did have an apparently legitimate free call
go against them with 20 seconds left, they had given their all
and the sound of the final whistle was sweet music to everybody
from Cork. Full credit to the Armagh girls though devastated they
were dignified in defeat as were their mentors Joint coach Jacqui
Clarke did not lay blame on the referee and said, “there
is nothing you can do. It probably happened at an important point
in the match, but these decisions go with you some days and go
against you some days. We regrouped and defended well. Our forwards
were brilliant, but this is a great Cork team”. Coach Eamonn
Ryan was delighted to be on the right side of the result, in a
tight game, which has seen Cork extend their unbeaten run to 25
wins over a nearly 2 year period. The usually unflappable Ryan
was annoyed that some of his players had to play so many games,
some up to 9 since their Semi-Final win over Laois. Cool calm
and collected as we have come to know capt Juliet Murphy conceded
that “While it was not the best performance, the result was
all that mattered, that’s what we came up her for” While
the referee did his best to keep the game flowing which contributed
to the ongoing excitement, he did make a few questionable

decisions most notably the sin binning one, but then nobody is
perfect. The powers that be will be encouraged by the size of
the attendance, whether it will ensure that Croke park will be
retained for finals in future years remains to be seen, but if
the games are moved from headquarters it would set back the Association
10 years or more.

Cork scorers. Nollaig Cleary 1-2. Amanda Murphy 0-1, Mary O’Connor
0-1 Juliet Murphy 0-1 Geraldine O’Flynn, Caoimhe Creedon. Armagh
Mairead Tennyson 1-1. Mags McAlinden, Caroline O’Hanlon.

Cork Elaine Harte, Briege Corkery, Angela Walsh, Rena Buckley,
Geraldine O’Flynn, Brid Stack, Sinead O’Reilly. Juliet Murphy
Capt. Norita Kelly, Nollaig Cleary, Deirdre O’Reilly, Amanda Murphy,
Valerie Mulcahy, Mary O’Connor Caoimhe Creedon. Subs used. Mairead
Kelly, for Valerie Mulcahy, Ciara Walsh for Amanda Murphy, Amanda
Murphy for Caoimhe Creedon

Armagh Fionnuala McAtamney, Ailis Murphy, Rhona O’Mahony, Bronagh
O’Donnell capt, Sinead McCleary, Alma O’Donnell, Caroline O’Hanlon
Mairead Tennyson, Sharon Duncan, Shauna O’Hagan. maria O’Donnell,
Maighdlin McAlinden, Aileen Matthew’s. Subs Patricia McEvoy, for
Aileen Matthews, Orla Murtagh, for Ailish Murphy, Dervla Toal
for Maria O’Donnell, Maebh Moriarty for Sharon Duncan.


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