FOOTBALL: Cork 2-11 Kerry 1-9 (TG4 Munster SFC Final)
By Ger McCarthy (Melissa Duggan of Cork in action against Ciara Murphy of Kerry. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile)
Orla Finn scored 1-3 and Cork retained their TG4 Munster SFC title at the expense of Kerry at a sun-kissed Fitzgerald Stadium in Killarney.
The Kingdom were guilty of kicking six wides during an entertaining opening quarter in which they dominated possession. Cork proved more clinical in front of goal, however, Finn and Libby Coppinger points preceeded an Emma Cleary penalty to make it 1-2 to 0-3 after 15 minutes.
Louise Ní Mhuircheartcaigh, Anna Galvin and Lorraine Scanlon scored to keep Kerry on the front foot before the former and Áine Terry O’Sullivan exchanged scores.
Then, in the 22nd minute, Ní Mhuircheartcaigh reacted quickest to a Meabh O’Sullivan save and found the net from close range.
Cork’s reaction was positive with Áine Terry O’Sullivan and Doireann O’Sullivan (free) making it 1-5 to 1-4. A superb Cork move ended with Ciara O’Sullivan releasing Finn who made no mistake with a rasping finish to the net. The Kinsale forward added a terrific point and Cork went in at half-time leading by 2-6 to 1-4.
Danielle O’Leary got Kerry’s first score of the second period and a series of turnovers enabled the Kingdom enjoy a purple patch. Yet, the hosts failure to capitalise allowed Cork reassert control.
Doireann O’Sullivan and Louise Ní Mhuircheataigh exchanged frees as Cork maintained their four-point advantage heading into the final quarter.
Ní Mhuircheataigh (free) and O’Leary brought Kerry to within two but Laura O’Mahony responded with a fisted point and Finn (free) quickly restored their team’s advantage.
Cork finished strongly with late scores from Áine Terry O’Sullivan and Rachel Leahy cementing a deserved victory.
Scorers – Cork: O Finn 1-3 (0-1f), E Cleary 1-0 (1-0 pen), Á T O’Sullivan 0-3, D O’Sullivan 0-2 (0-2f), L Coppinger, L O’Mahony and R Leahy 0-1 each.
Kerry: L Ní Mhuircheartcaigh 1-4 (0-3f), D O’Leary 0-2, A Galvin, L Scanlon and P McCarthy 0-1 each.
CORK: M O’Sullivan; R Phelan, E Meaney, S Leahy; M Duggan, M O’Callaghan, L O’Mahony; A Hutchings, S Kelly; E Cleary, C O’Sullivan, L Coppinger; Á T O’Sullivan, D O’Sullivan, O Finn.
Subs: K Quirke for S Kelly (33), R Leahy for Cleary (45), M Cahalane for S Leahy (45), E Scally for D O’Sullivan (51), A O’Mahony for L O’Mahony (57).
KERRY: C Butler; C O’Brien, K Cronin, E Lynch; A O’Connell, E Costello, C Murphy; A Galvin, C Lynch; D O’Leary, N Carmody, L Scanlon; N Ní Chonchúir, E McGlynn, L Ní Mhuircheartcaigh.
Subs: P McCarthy for McGlynn (22), M O’Connell for O’Brien (30), K Brosnan for Ní Chonchúir (43), S O’Shea for A O’Connell (56).
Referee: P Smith (Waterford).