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2024 TG4 All-Ireland Finals tickets

Early Lightning strikes, help Cork steal the thunder

Early Lightning strikes, help Cork steal the thunder. By Fr Liam Kelleher

Cork 7-9 Galway 3-9.

There is an old saying, that a good start is half the battle, this was certainly true in Cork’s case at Bruff Co Limerick on Sunday, when lightning strikes yielded 3 goals in the first ten minutes, of the under 14 All-Ireland final against Galway. The goals catapulted Cork into a 10 point lead, which had increased into a 15 point advantage by the short whistle. Form can be notoriously fickle, in underage competitions and throw in the excitement of All-Ireland final and all that entails, can add to the uncertainty of the occasion. To their eternal credit Galway fought back magnificently in the 2nd half, when playing into the wind and had Cork on the rack with 10 minutes to go, having closed the gap to a mere 5 points. With heroic defending, Cork weathered the storm and finished the way they began, with 2 more cracking goals.

In a way this was a very strange game with Cork looking unbeatable for most of the first half. Galway did give a few glimpses of what they were capable of with a few defense splitting runs from Michelle Dunleavy and Mairead Ni Loinsigh, which yielded a goal and 3 points on the trot, one from the penalty spot. While Cork heeded these warnings in the opening half and recovered their composure, before major damage was done, the 2nd half was a different story. That opening half and particularly in the first 15 minutes Cork were simply brilliant. Driven on by Capt Doireann O’Sullivan they strung together a number of breathtaking moves that yielded goals from Laura Crowley, two, Claire Shine, Jennifer Cahill and Aoife Keating, while Dorieann herself shot over 4 points, 2 from frees. Rachel O‘Shea was dominant in the pivotal role in defense Maire O’Callaghan and Roberta Harrington, held a slight edge at midfield and the forwards did the rest. They had Galway in a state of shock by the ferocity and intensity of their play.

Different story.

The 2nd half was an entirely different story, like happened in the Munster Final against Kerry and the All-Ireland Semi against Dublin, Cork went into a a defensive mode an very nearly paid the price. Galway completely seized the initiative, Cork became sloppy and careless in their play, dropping the ball and losing their sense of urgency, contemplating that an All-Ireland gold medal was already hanging round their necks. Galway came at the rebelettes, with wave after wave of attack, they got 3 early points and then converted a penalty and suddenly the gap was down to 5 points and Cork looked in big trouble, but the spirit of these girls knows no bounds and sensing their expected title was slipping away, they tightened up the defense, where Keeper Jean O’Sullivan was outstanding, fronted by an equally effective Clubmate Sinead Cotter. Siobhan Hutchinson outside her made some timely blocks when the need was greatest. Doirean O’Sullivan who had run her self to a standstill in the opening half, got a new lease of life when moved back out the field and her runs set up the clinching goals, from Claire Shine and Laura Crowley, who completed her hatrick. Cork could breathe a sigh of relief for the last 5 minutes as could the big contingent of supporters and management who were kept on tenterhooks, by Galways stirring fight back. This success was richly merited, by a fantastic bunch of dedicated players who have been on the road for the past 8 months and now they can take their place as equals, with the 5 teams that have done the same at under 14 level since the new Millennium began. Munster President Dan O’Mahony presented the cup to a delighted capt Doireann O’Sullivan. Scorers Cork Laura Crowley 3-0 Claire Shine 2-1 Doireann O’Sullivan 0-4 Jennifer Cahill 1-3 Aoife Keating 1-0 Maire O’Callaghan 0-1

Cork Jean O’Sullivan (St Vals), Sinead Cotter (St Vals), Siobhan Hutchinson (Eire Og),Elaine Crowley (Liscarroll), Miriam O Callaghan (Mourneabbey), Rachel O Shea (Beara), Orla Healy (Donoughmore), Roberta Harrington (Mourneabbey), Maura O Callaghan (Mourneabbey), Claire Shine (Douglas), Kate Fitzpatrick (Nemo Rangers), Doireann O Sullivan (Mourneabbey), Jennifer Cahill (Bride Rovers), Laura Crowley (Rockban), Heather O Sullivan (Keelnameela), Aoife Keating (Courcey Rovers), Rachel Sheehan (Carrigtwohill), Aileen Buckley (Donoughmore), Angela Crowley (St Vals), Cliodhna Connolly (Ilen Rovers), Aobha Hickey (Ballincollig), Joan Tyner (Kinsale), Maebh Cahalane ( Eire Og), Catriona Murphy (Naomh Aban), Irene Herlihy (Mallow), Elaine Carey (Watergrasshill), Julie Dennehy (Boherbue), Hannah Looney (Aghada), Ailbhe Dowling (Clonakilty)

Management.

Betty Cahill, Charlie McLaughlin, Jerry O’Sullivan, John Fitzgerald and Fr Liam Kelleher.

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