Holders Cork hang on despite late Mayo scare to sit top of the table

Cork 1-12 Mayo 2-8

By Rory Noonan at Mallow

Cork withstood a late scare to get the better of Mayo in their Lidl National League Division One clash this afternoon.

Leading by four they conceded a late goal, but hung on to win by a point and overtake Dublin – who are also 4/5 – on points difference at the top of the Division 1 table.

Cork were unlucky not to open the scoring in the third minute, when Ciara O’Sullivan’s shot came back off the post, but a minute later they were in front when Aishling Hutchings pointed.

Despite being behind, Mayo were playing the better football but it took them until the 10th minute to register their first score when Sarah Rowe pointed from a free.

They doubled their lead when a great run from the impressive Grace Kelly saw her beat several players to make it 0-2 to 0-1 after 12 minutes.

They should have had a goal from the restart, when they regained possession through Fiona McHale, who played Rowe in but she shot wide from in front of goal.

Kelly pointed to increase their lead before Orla Finn got Cork’s second point, with 18 minutes played.

They were back on level terms a minute later, when Eimear Scally pointed from distance, but it didn’t take Mayo long to retake the lead.

Sinead Cafferky found herself unmarked in front of goal and a great ball from Rowe found her and she had the simple task of slotting home, to make it 1-3 to 0-3, after 21 minutes.

Rowe increased their lead, but Cork finished the half strongly as they started to play the kind of football they are capable of.

Finn pointed from a free and great work from Libby Coppinger, who chased down a ball that looked like going wide, set up Doireann O’Sullivan, to make it 0-5 to 1-4.

Finn, from a free, got the last score of the half as Mayo deservedly led by 1-4 to 0-6 at half-time.

Whatever Cork manager, Ephie Fitzgerald, said to his players at half-time certainly worked as they started the second-half with much higher intensity and pace.

Two early frees from Finn put them in front, with Coppinger and another Finn free, making it 0-10 to 1-4, with 37 minutes gone.

Mayo took some time to settle and opened their second-half account in the 42nd minute when Rowe pointed from a free. This was quickly followed by two points from Niamh Kelly, to see the sides level with 10 minutes to go.

However the tie turned in Cork’s favour in the 52nd minute when Maire O’Callaghan played Coppinger in and she got the goal her overall display deserved, to make it 1-10 to 1-7.

A minute later and it went from bad to worse for Mayo, when Doireann Hughes was sin-binned for a high tackle on Ciara O’Sullivan, seeing them finish with 14.

Two Finn frees, with Niamh Kelly responding, had Cork well in control as the game headed to injury time.

But there was one last twist as Shauna Howley brushed aside several tackles to goal, putting only a point between the sides.

But time was against them and Cork hung on for the win they probably just deserved  for their second-half display.

Scorers for Cork: O Finn 0-8 (7f), L Coppinger 1-0, A Hutchings, E Scally, D O’Sullivan 0-1 each.

Mayo: S Cafferky, S Howley 1-0 each, N Kelly, S Rowe (2f) 0-3 each, G Kelly 0-2.

CORK: M O’Brien; E Meaney, M Ambrose, E Spillane; M O’Callaghan, M Duggan, S Kelly; B O’Sullivan, A Hutchings; C O’Sullivan, D O’Sullivan, O Farmer; L Coppinger, E Scally, O Finn.

Subs: A O’Sullivan for L Coppinger.

MAYO: E Murphy; O Conlon, S Tierney, S Ludden; M Corbett, K Sullivan, D Hughes; C McManamon, A Gilroy; F McHale, S Rowe, S Cafferky; N Kelly, A Dowling, G Kelly.

Subs: N Moran for K Sullivan, S Howley A Dowling, Doherty for C McManamon, E Needham for S Rowe, D Caldwell for N Moran.

Ref: S Mulvihill, Kerry,

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