Dublin pushed Cork all the way with a spirited second half display from the girls in blue in this evenings Minor All Ireland Ladies Football Final which was played in Pearse Park in Longford.
Cork led by five after the first half and soon stretched their lead to seven with the first two points of the second period scored by Grace Culloty and Ciara McCarthy.
Dublin responded with a point from a Rachel Douglas free, bit that was quickly answered by a point by Cork’s Saiorse Noonan. But a minute later Dublin’s Julia Buckley picked up a loose ball at the back post and rifiled it to the back of the net to close the gap.
Cork hit back with four unanswered points to push their lead back out again. Dublin made a couple of changes and substitute Clara O’Sullivan who made a telling contribution, hit an excellent point two minites after her introduction to the proceedings. That was quickly followed by another fine point from Hannah O’Neill seconds later as the Dubs cut into the Cork lead.
Cork though yet again responded with three points in a row from Grace Culloty and Saiorse Noonan with a brace to put nine points between the teams.
With ten minutes to go Dublin were awarded a penalty when Clara O’Sullivan was cyncically dragged down to the turf as she bore down on goal. It was a bookable offence which should have seen the Cork player spend ten minutes in the sin bin, but referee Maggie Farrelly failed to take any action.
Four minutes later and Dublin cut the deficit to just three points when Julia Buckley grabbed her second goal of the game and Cork were severly rattled. so much so that from the resultant kickout Dublin pressurised the ball, turned it over and Jade Sweeney Knot hit an excellent point and the sky blues tails were up as they hunted down every player in red.
It always seems like sour grapes to complain about a referees performance after a loss, but Dublin will feel very aggrieved by the non awarding of two blatant penalties late in the game, the first was a blatant block in the square on Dublin’s Hannah O’Dea, which the referee blew for a free out to Cork for barging and the second was as clearcut a foot block as you will see in a game on Clara O’Sullivan, which led to the Dublin player having to leave the field injured and shockingly seen the referee throw the ball up instead of indicating a penalty.
The performance from Cavan referee Maggie Farrelly in a game involving a team from the capital was once again questionable to say the least. Cork had some really good players in their ranks and they certainly didn’t need all the help they got from the referee today with some extremely soft frees and strange decisions throughout the game.
Cork hit the last two points of the game from Ciara McCarthy and Sadbh O’Leary and they cleverly ran down the clock to run out four point winners. Dublin will look back on the game as one that got away, but will also know they handed Cork a number of easy points today particurly from their own kickouts that didnt help their cause. But they can hold their heads high for giving it their all this season and there will be brighter days ahead for this group of players.
Julia Buckley 2-01
Rachel Douglas 1-03
Erica Byrne 1-00
Mia Jennings 0-01
Danielle Lawless 0-01
Clara O’Sullivan 0-01
Hannah O’Neill 0-01
Jade Sweeney Knot 0-01
Saiorse Noonan 2-05
Sadbh O’Leary 0-05
Ciara McCarthy 0-03
Grace Culloty 0-02
Laura Cleary 0-02
Ciara Ryan 0-01
Abbie Scnnell 0-01