INCREDIBLE COMEBACK SEES REBELS TOPPLE DUBS IN LADIES FOOTBALL FINAL.
EAMONN Ryan’s incredible Cork side came from ten points down to claim victory against Dublin in Sunday’s TG4 All-Ireland ladies senior football final at Croke Park.
The Rebelettes captured a ninth title in ten seasons with arguably the greatest quarter of an hour of that remarkable decade.
With 15 minutes remaining, Cork trailed by 0-6 to 2-10 and Dublin were on the verge of their second senior success.
But Cork, with goals from subs Rhona Ní Bhuachalla and Eimear Scally, somehow clawed their way back to draw level at 2-11 apiece with seven minutes left.
Siobhan Woods responded with a point to edge Dublin ahead again but after Ciara O’Sullivan equalised, 2013 player of the year Geraldine O’Flynn popped over her third point of the afternoon and Cork were Brendan Martin Cup winners again.
For Dublin, this was bitter, bitter heartbreak at the hands of the Leesiders once again.
Last year, they were nine points ahead before Cork came with a run of 1-10 without reply to claim an epic win.
And in this year’s Tesco Homegrown Division 1 League final, Dublin coughed up another winning position, when they were four points clear in the second half.
Adding to the misery for Dubs boss Gregory McGonigle was the fact that he was also in charge of the Monaghan teams that lost to Cork in the 2011 and 2013 All-Ireland finals.
And just like last year, just a single point separated winners from losers at full-time.
It was heart-wrenching stuff for the Leinster champions but utterly spellbinding from Cork in front of a 27,374 attendance, a figure that exceeded pre-match expectations.
At half-time, Dublin were in control, leading by 1-7 to 0-4 and when Lindsay Peat netted her second goal in the 35th minute, Dublin cruised into a 2-8 to 0-7 lead.
Peat had slotted a lovely 13th minute goal beyond Martina O’Brien and her second strike put Dublin in a commanding position.
Cork were rattled and kicking uncharacteristic wides – 18 of them in total.
O’Flynn, normally so reliable, was guilty of a couple of poor ones but when the chips were down, the St Mary’s wing-back delivered once again, finishing with three points, including the winner.
But O’Flynn wasn’t alone in her scoring efforts as lethal corner forward Valerie Mulcahy also contributed handsomely.
Ryan’s substitutions worked a treat and while Dublin had inside forwards Peat, Lyndsey Davey and Sinéad Aherne in lively form, they couldn’t cope with this latest Cork onslaught.
Scorers for Cork: V Mulcahy 0-6 (1f), R Ní Bhuachalla 1-1, E Scally 1-0, G O’Flynn 0-3, O Finn 0-2, C O’Sullivan 0-1.
Scorers for Dublin: L Peat 2-0, L Davey 0-3, S Aherne 0-3 (1f), N Healy & C Rowe 0-2 each, S Goldrick & S Woods 0-1 each.
CORK: M O’Brien; R Phelan, Angela Walsh, B Stack; V Foley, D O’Reilly, G O’Flynn; R Buckley, B Corkery; Annie Walsh, C O’Sullivan, O Farmer; V Mulcahy, G Kearney, O Finn.
Subs: N Cleary for Annie Walsh (h.t.), R Ní Bhuachalla for Kearney (42), D O’Sullivan for Farmer (45), E Scally for Finn (49).
DUBLIN: C O’Connor; R Ruddy, S Furlong, L Caffrey; S Finnegan, S Goldrick, S McGrath; D Masterson, M Lamb; N Healy, N Hyland, C Rowe; L Davey, S Aherne, L Peat.
Subs: S Woods for Hyland (45), S McCaffrey for Lamb (53), L Collins for Furlong (54), N McEvoy for Healy (56).