Munster Ladies Football Final

Cork turn in strong second half display to win Munster final at Fraher Field

Cork 2-14 Waterford 0-09

Eimear Scally of Cork in action against Karen McGrath of Waterford

Eimear Scally of Cork in action against Karen McGrath of Waterford

Cork proved too strong for Waterford at Fraher Field on Sunday evening last to capture a 13th Munster Final title since 2004 with 11 points to spare over a Waterford side that never gave up. Waterford will take plenty from this game going forward. When the sides clashed at the Cork IT Grounds three weeks previously the Rebellettes recorded a 3-22 to 0-7 victory which would have suggested that Waterford had no hope going into this game. Had Lady Luck shone on Waterford a few times, the outcome could well have been much different.

Waterford played with the aid of the stiff breeze which blew towards the road goal in the first half and early on it looked as if they were really going to test Cork as the side hit the opening two scores inside two minutes. Maria Delahunty opened the scoring with 45 seconds on the clock and just over a minute later when Waterford won a free out on the bank side of the field the Abbeyside player stood over it. Her effort looked to be sailing over the Cork crossbar but fell short at the last second, but Michelle Ryan was on hand using her height to full advantage to punch the size four over the bar.

Cork opened their count on five minutes when Niamh Cotter split the Waterford post and two minutes late Orla Finn levelled matters from a free. Waterford hit back with the next two scores, first from Chloe Fennell and then Kelly Ann Hogan to open up a two point advantage for the second time in the game with 11 minutes played. The visitors to Fraher Field broke through a backed Waterford defence on 14 minutes when Aishling Hitchings played in the brilliant Saoirse Noonan who slotted past Rosie Landers to give her side a 1-2 to 0-4 advantage.
Two points from Maria Delahunty within a minute of each other put Waterford back in front, before Eimear Kiely levelled matters with 11 minutes of the first half remaining.

Two minutes later Maria Delahunty sent Katie Murray through on a one on one with Cork goalkeeper Martina O’Brien but the Comeragh Rangers player saw her effort rise just over the Cork crossbar when it looked as if a goal was on the cards. Cork however finished the half the stronger of the two sides as points from Orla Finn, Saoirse Noonan and Daire Kiely were registered to give the eventual winners a 1-6 to 0-7 advantage at the break. With the wind at their backs in the second half Cork proved too strong for Waterford.

Points from Orla Finn, Saoirse Noonan and Niamh Cotter were hit in the first three minutes of the second half to stretch the Cork lead to five.
When the ball went to the other end of the field Katie Murray saw the ball come back off the blue stripe at the bottom of the upright and when the side playing in a changed navy strip won a free just seconds later Maria Delahunty saw her effort come crashing back off the cross bar.
Daire Kiely extended Cork’s lead to six on 38 minutes and they stretched that to nine on 41 minutes when Niamh Cotter, Libby Coppinger and Saoirse Noonan all combined before the latter palmed to the Waterford net.

Libby Coppinger got her name on the score sheet on 43 minutes and just seconds later it looked as if the Rebellettes would hit a third goal when Ciara O’Sullivan bore down on goal. The Mourneabbey player collided with the advancing Rosie Landers and with both players on the ground the ball went in the direction of the Waterford goal, but Katie Murray intervened to save a goal.Orla Finn extended Cork’s lead with a free nine minutes from time before Maria Delahunty opened Waterford’s account for the second half four minutes from time when she put over a free. Ciara O’Sullivan and Saoirse Noonan pointed for Cork within sixty seconds of each other and while Waterford would hit a point inside the last minute of the game from another Maria Delahunty free it proved to be but a mere consolation score for Ciaran Curran’s side.

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