Sleeping giant Mayo, jumps up to bite Cork

Sleeping giant Mayo, jumps up to bite Cork.


Cork Ladies Football. Sponsors Castlelands Construction By
Fr Liam Kelleher.

Mayo 4-12 Cork 2-12.

Mayo Kingpins of ladies Gaelic football for 5 years before, Galway
took over in 2004 and Cork 2005 and 2006, got back again to the
big time when they scored a well merited win over Cork holders
for the past 2 years of the Suzuki National League. If any team
were the ones to end Corks dominance, of the past few years, Mayo
were destined to do so.

Two years ago it took 2 late, late points from Cork in the All-Ireland
semi-final to win. Talk was rife, that Mayo had been putting in
a huge effort this year, with most of their tried and trusted
players determined to make one more effort, to strive for major
honours. You could see by their reaction when the final whistle
was blown at Banagher on Saturday last, what victory over Cork
meant to them.

It was a great game of football with no quarter asked or given
and let there be no doubt Mayo richly deserved their victory for
the way they applied themselves to the task in hand all through.
Mayo opened in whirlwind fashion and with the strong wind to their
backs, they quickly built up a vital lead, Cork looked in dire
trouble when they trailed by 7 points, Diane O’Hora and rising
star Lisa Cafferkey having netted and Cora Staunton had fired
over two of her 10 points. Then enter Cork capt Juliet Murphy
who took the game by the scruff of the neck and got Cork motoring
with 2 superb points one from a difficult free. She was instrumental
in setting up Laura McMahon who cut through the Mayo defence to
score a peach of a goal, to signal that Cork were right back in
the thick of things. Indeed Cork were desperately unlucky to troop
off at the short whistle 2 points adrift 2-5 to 1-6.

Mary O’Connor after determined approach work, cannoned a pile
driver off the butt of the upright, and immediately, not for the
first time, controversy raised its head, when the umpire waved
the white flag after a Juliet Murphy free, but it was overruled
by the referee. In truth Cork must have been quite pleased to
be just 2 points adrift after their dreadful start. With the strong
wind to their backs in the 2nd half, the rebelettes must have
been very upbeat about their chances. Shattered. Their high hopes
were shattered within 3 minutes of the restart when goals by Noelle
Tierney, who had her first effort blocked by the legs of Elaine
Harte, but made no mistake with the rebound. Then a shot by Diane
O’Hora, appeared to be going over the bar, but dipped viciously
into the net. Cora Staunton added a point from a free and Cork
were 9 points adrift and were left with a mountain to climb. The
old wily experience of Mayo then came into to play, as the shut
up shop crowded Cork at every opportunity and ran at a mesmerised
Cork defence when they broke away. Remedial action had to be taken,
Rena Buckley was introduced and Geraldine O’Flynn moved to the
attack and scored 2 superb long range points. A Nollaig Cleary
shot was then parried by former centre back Yvonne Byrne, converted
to net minder, but the ball was flicked to the net by an inrushing
Deirdre O’Reilly and Cork hopes were lifted again, but that was
as good as it got for them.

Play became scrappy and disjointed and this suited Mayo to a tee.
They were in no mood to capitulate, made the odd foray forward
matched any Cork score got, through the unerring boot of Cora
Staunton and were never really troubled as the game ground down,
to an inevitable Mayo win. It would be true to say that Cork well
shellshocked by the outcome, but it had to happen some time and
while disappointment was the order of the day, they must be commended
for the brilliant run that netted them 2 All-Ireland and 2 Suzuki
National league titles and 32 wins on the trot. Now its all systems
go for the championship, with very little opportunity or time
to dwell on Saturday last. Manager Mary Collins had no excuses
apart from saying that the team made too many mistakes on the
day and you cannot expect to win with so many mistakes. It was
true that Cork did make mistakes particularly in defence. In their
recent record run of 32 wins Cork have never conceded big scores,
but the signs were there against Galway when they conceded 3 early
goals, that remedial action needed to be taken. The assumption
must have been that it was just a temporary blip, but Saturday
proved it was more than that, when 4 goals were conceded in a
12 minute period early in each half. Maybe the problem with the
Cork defence is that they have too many pure footballing players
who like to come forward, very exciting when you are winning,
but not so pretty when you are leaking scores. The object of any
defender must be to shackle their direct opponent and ensure that
if they never kick a ball, that they can keep their opponent scoreless.
The entire defence must put their hands up in relation to recent
performances and learn from the mistakes. That much stated they
have the intelligence and the know how, to get it right and no
doubt they will, as the season progresses.

Cork had no major problems at midfield with Juliet Murphy having
an excellent game, her partner Norita Kelly as wholehearted as
ever, has not got back to her best after a recent injury. Corks
score of 2-12 would win most games and would indicate that the
forwards had a reasonably good day, but when you analyse it, half
of Corks points total came from Juliet Murphy 3, Geraldine O’Flynn
2 who admittedly had moved from defence and Rena Buckley, who
did not start having missed most of the league campaign due to
camogie commitments, but whose introduction helped Cork greatly.
Geralidine is one of the best and most accurate kickers of a ball
in Ladies football. When she made her debut for Cork Seniors against
Clare, who were then the Munster Senior Champions, a day after
helping Cork to an under 16 All-Ireland final, she kicked 9 magnificent
points. At times on Saturday the forwards did move with purpose
and took some good scores but at other times they played into
Mayo’s hands by taking that extra pass allowing Mayo to close
them down. The art of long range point kicking must be perfected
and used when the occasion arises as it did against Mayo. Cork
could do with a bit of extra strength as well and while newcomers
Linda Barrett and Laura McMahon have shown distinct promise, more
strength is needed, the likes of Gemma O’Connor who is playing
great football with Donoughmore, readily springs to mind and there
must be a few more around the co.

All that much said everybody involved with this Cork team must
be commended for the tremendous job of work they have done to
raise the profile of Cork Ladies football and while good things
come to an end, its not the end of an era, its just the end of
a magnificent run and marks new beginnings, that no doubt will
bring more success to the rebel county.

Cork scorers. Laura McMahon, 1-0 Deirdre O’Reilly 1-0 Juliet Murphy
0-3. Mary O’Connor 0-2, Nollaig Cleary, 0-2. Geraldine O’Flynn
0-2. Valerie Mulcahy 0-2. Rena Buckley 0-1

Cork Elaine Harte, Linda Barrett, Angela Walsh, Briege Corkery,
Geraldine O’Flynn, Brid Stack, Sinead O’Reilly, Juliet Murphy
capt, Norita Kelly, Deirdre O’Reilly, Laura McMahon, Nollaig Cleary,
Valerie Mulcahy Mary O’Connor, Caoimhe Creedon. Claire O’Donoghue,
Amanda Murphy, Ciara Walsh, Rena Beckley Rhona Buckley, Mairead
Kelly, Catriona Foley, Norma Kelly Regina Curtin, Anne Marie Walsh
Anita Thompson.

Senior B’s Emphatic win.

Cork 4-16 Laois 1-6 Meanwhile on Sunday the Senior B team travelled
to Laois to take on the home Co in the Aislingh McGing cup. Cork
with victories over Waterford and Dublin to their credit were
going for 3 in a row The first half provided a very stiff test.
Cork playing against the wind, held a narrow half time lead of,
1-7 to 1-5 the goal coming from Amy O’Shea. The 2nd half was all
one way traffic as Cork cantered to an emphatic and morale boosting
win before they take on Clare in the first round of the Munster
Junior Championship on the 5th of May. Scoring heroine, of the
2nd half, was Loretto Fermoy star, Katie Sheehan, who came off
the bench, to score 2-1. The other goal coming from Sharon Whelton.
The tight marking defence ensured that Laois got just one point
in the 2nd half. Team coach Noel O’Connor was delighted with the

Cork play Meath in the next round of the competition on May 20th.

New Sponsors.

Hope springs eternal and when the Cork Sponsorship committee
after a few months of negotiations, with sponsors, failed to yield
a realistic offer, things looked bleak, for the finances of the
Board and particularly the Co teams. Media coverage has yielded
rich dividends. Castlelands Construction headed by John Barry
Mallow, with extensive building interests at home and abroad have
delivered the goods. The timing appeared to be perfect the week
of the Suzuki league Semi Finals, unfortunately Cork bowed out
from the competition on Saturday last, denying the enterprising
company an immediate return on their huge investment, nevertheless
I have no doubt their vision will be rewarded in the not too distant
future. and Castelands Construction and Cork Ladies Football will
be the big winners. The official launch of the sponsorship will
take place in the near future.

Golf Classic.

One of the biggest fund-raising event s of the year the Golf classic
was held in ideal conditions at a superb Kanturk golf club on
Saturday last. The event was a huge success before ever a ball
was struck with the full compliment of 60 teams entered and while
a few, due to other commitments, did not show up the competition
was keen all through. When the totals were totted up by Sec Sharon
O’Keefe and her team, fittingly the Co treasurer Anthony Dempseys
team sponsored by Carrigaline leisure centre, had the highest
points total with a great score of 60, 4 clear of the nearest
pursuers. Anthony had put huge amount of work into the organising
of the event and was still able to take a week off in Spain on
a golfing trip to hone his skills. He was joined on the team by
his son Shay and Ger Dooley. Second place went to the nearby team
of Banteer of Pat Roche, William O’Brien and Dan Kearney, The
Liscarroll team of Matt Twomey, Paudie Twomey and Betty O’Connor
took 3rd. Rockchapel took 3rd, Dromtariffe 5th, Mourenabbey 6th
and Sharon O’Keefe’s team 7th. The magnificent prizes were presented
by Tom Keelan from Castlelands Construction the sponsors. Co Chairman
Tom Luddy thanked the club the sponsors and all who helped during
the day, those who sponsored teams and sponsored tee boxes and
each of the 18 holes which ensured much needed money was made
to help Ladies Football in Cork. The first outing in the newly
formed Cork Ladies Football Golf Society takes place at Waterock
on Friday May 11th.

First year School blitz.

From early Friday morning last, until 3pm Donoughmore GAA club
grounds were a buzz with excitement as teams in 3 sections battled
for supremacy in the First years school blitz. Brilliant weather
added to a glorious day. Loretto Fermoy still smarting from their
All-Ireland loss to St Leo’s Carlow a few days before, showed
they are still the kingpins in Cork. They entered 2 teams with
their premier side taking the spoils in the A section. Lucky to
survive in the Semi-Final, when a last gasp goal gave them victory
over a gallant Colaiste Treasa Kanturk. They made no mistake in
the final scoring 3 early goals against Mercy Skibereen, to run
out winners 5-7 to 2-3. Despite the score line Skibereen recovered
from their bad start, to make it a very exciting final. Skibereen
had defeated Bandon in the Semi-Final 2-10 to 2-4. The B final
provided a thrill a minute and a goal fest. After end to end stuff
Christ the King defeated Colaiste an Phiarsaigh 6-5 to 6-3. They
defeated Macroom 3-2 to 2-2 in the Semi final, while the Glanmire
school got the better of Ballincollig CS 2-4 to 2-3. The C final
went the way of Mercy Kanturk who got the better of Cobh 1-5 to
0-0. The trophies and medals were presented by Dan O’Mahony who
organised an excellent days sport. he paid tribute to a ll the
schools who took part as well as to the refs including new recruits
and Donoughmore GAA for the use of their fine facilities.

Munster Minor Final.

On Saturday next at 1pm in Killarney Cork take on old rivals kerry
in the Munster Minor final. Cork have had runaway wins over Clare
and Waterford to date and those wins will have told them little.
A good challenge on Monday night against Donoughmore’s Senior
team gave an indication of the current well being of the players.
Cork are fortunate they can cal on a number of last years All-Ireland
winning team including Amanda Murphy who has already 15 All-Ireland
football medals in her vast collection. Now studying for her upcoming
Leaving cert, her training has been limited, but one thing is
certain, that when Amanda dons the red of Cork, she always produces
a top class performance. Missing from the Cork line-up will be
outstanding forwards, Deirdre Cotter and Laura Harrington and
no doubt they will be huge loss, but such is the depth of talent
that Cork have they will have quality replacements. While one
can never be certain what way a game goes on the day, it will
come as a major shock if Cork fail to retain their crown.

Fr Liam Kelleher.


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