Cork finish strong to secure All-Ireland minor ladies football crown

Sheer delight for Cork as they were crowned ZuCar All-Ireland minor ladies football champions at MacDonagh Park, Nenagh.

It was a battle from start to finish, but brilliant displays from the likes of Abigail Ring, Orlaith Cahalane and Sadbh McGoldrick secured the title for the Rebel side. Ring was simply outstanding, and it was no great surprise to see her named Player of the Game afterwards.

The win makes up for the Rebels loss in the U14 and U16 finals over the last few weeks after an outstanding game of football.

Leah Hallihan opened the scoring for Cork, after a good ball from Aoife Healy played her in with four minutes on the clock. Galway had the chance to level it but a free from Sarah Duffy felt just short and the danger was cleared.

They worked the ball up the pitch to find Rachel Leahy in space as she pointed to make it 0-2 to no score. Again Galway missed a chance to open their account, this time a ball from Mairead Glynn was just too long for Aine Shaughnessy and went harmlessly wide.

Cork had a goal chance of their own with Ring’s effort coming back off the bar before Shaughnessy raised Galway’s first white flag. Both sides were enjoying their periods of dominance and another for Cork saw Orlaith Cahalane play Leahy in but her effort was brilliantly saved by Leah O’Halloran.

With 16 minutes gone Galway were back on level terms when O’Shaughnessy scored again and from the restart she put her side in front for the first time.

Galway were now on top and they doubled their lead after a good team move saw Molly Mulryan raise a white flag.

This seemed to wake the Rebels up, with Cahalane setting up Emma Hurley for their third point and with 23 minutes gone they were back on level terms, with the former getting on the scoresheet.

Two minutes later and they were back in front when Ring pointed and a free from the same player made it 0-6 to 0-4. O’Halloran denied Cork another goal chance when she managed to intercept a pass from Cahalane and she was called on again before half-time, this time denying Ring.

But Cork finished the half strongly, with two points from Ring helping them to a 0-9 to 0-5 lead at the break.

Cahalane raised the first white flag of the second half and a magnificent long distance point from Sadbh McGoldrick made it 0-11 to 0-5 as the Rebels started to stretch their lead.

A free from O’Shaughnessy reduced the deficit, with Cork wasting a number of chances to increase their lead, before Mulryan put four between them, 0-7 to 0-11.

With 10 minutes to go Galway were right back in contention when Laura Scanlon took on the Cork defense to play Mairead Glynn in to raise a green flag.

A free from Ring made it a two point game and she raised another white flag, to make it 0-13 to 1-7 with seven minutes to go. There was then a long delay for an injury to Galway’s Aoibhinn Eilian, but thankfully she was ok.

Hurley was on target for Cork to put her side four ahead and a late goal from Ring was the icing on the cake in a deserved win for the Rebels.

Scorers for Cork: A Ring 1-6 (4f), O Cahalane 0-3, E Hurley, S McGoldrick, L Hallihan 0-2 each, R Leahy 0-1.

Galway: M Glynn 1-0, A Shaughnessy 0-5 (3f), M Mulryan 0-3.

CORK: D Creed (Fermoy); S Callanan (Clonakilty), L Heffernan (Banteer), A Barrett (Donoughmore); M Condon (Clonakilty), S McGoldrick (Eire Og), A Corcoran (Erins Own); A Healy (Ballygarvan), E Twomey (Glanmire); R Leahy (Aghada), A Ring (Cloyne), E Curran (Nemo Rangers); E Hurley (Ilen Rovers), O Cahalane (Eire Og), L Hallihan (Bride Rovers).

Subs: L Murray (Bride Rovers) for E Curran (48), K Redmond (Ballygarvan) for E Twomey (52). O’Donnell (Salthill Knocknacara) for A Ellian (56).

GALWAY: L O’Halloran (Claregalway); M Jordan (Caltra Cuans), J Glynn (Menlough Skehana), I Claffey (Annaghdown); C Cleary (Bearna), E Mitchell (Ballinasloe), A Ellian (Oughterard); M Bank (Oughterard), M Walsh (Oughterard); N Divilly (Kilkerrin Clonberne), A Shaughnessy (Kilkerrin Clonberne), M Glynn (Dunmore McHales); S Duffy (Naomh Mhuire), L Freeney (Naomh Mhuire), M Mulryan (Caltra Cuans).

Subs: L O’Donnell (Salthill Knocknacara) for L Freeney (ht), L Scanlon (Claregalway) for S Duffy (37), A O’Toole (Caherlistrane) for J Glynn (46)

Referee: Barry Redmond, Wexford.

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