Dublin Headed Into The 2018 TG4 All Ireland Final Fielding Constant Questions About Their Record Against Cork.
In this edition of ‘Through The Championship Years’ we head back to the 2018 TG4 All Ireland Senior Ladies Football Final between Dublin and Cork.
The two sides had built up an intense rivalry over the years and that intensified from 2014 onwards.
They say familiarity breeds contempt and the edge between the sides grew sharper with each passing year.
Cork had enjoyed the upper hand in the All Ireland finals of 2014, 2015 and 2016 albeit by a point in 2014 and 16 and by two points in 2015.
Those heartbreaking defeats would have killed off many teams, but the Dublin Senior Ladies players showed unbelievable character to dust themselves down and go again in 2017 and reach their fourth straight championship final.
This time though Cork failed to reach the biggest day of the year for ladies football beaten in the semi finals by Mayo.
There was no denying Dublin this time as they crushed Mayo by 4-11 to 0-11 to claim the Counties second ever All Ireland title.
Back in the decider the following year and despite also adding a maiden Division 1 League title a few months earlier, Dublin headed into the 2018 TG4 All Ireland senior championship final and another tussle with old foes Cork fielding constant questions about their record against the Rebellettes.
But against that backdrop and in front of a record crowd of 50,141 in Croke Park Mick Bohan’s Dublin side wrenched that particular monkey of their back with a stunning display in a five point win.
The game started at breakneck speed and the physicality and skill on show from both sides was breathtaking.
Cork almost got off to a dream start inside the opening minute when Libby Coppinger got in behind the Dublin cover, but she was denied a goal scoring opportunity by Lauren Magee with a brilliant tackle.
It took seven minutes for the deadlock to be broken, it came from the trusty boot of Dublin captain Sinead Aherne from a free after a foul on Niamh McEvoy.
A mix-up between Martina O’Brien and Shauna Kelly was pounced on by Aherne seconds later and she scored Dublin’s second point of the game.
Cork were struggling to get any change out of a tigerish Dublin rearguard and had to rely on the free taking ability of Orla Finn to garner scores. By the 13th minute Cork had taken the lead thanks to three Finn converted frees.
That lead didn’t last long as Nicole Owens who was causing plenty of problems with runs from deep scored the equaliser.
The St Sylvesters player was involved in Dublin’s next move playing in Lyndsey Davey who was hauled down for a penalty. Upped stepped Aherne to bury the ball to the net to give Dublin a 1-03 to 0-03 lead.
Áine O’Sullivan intercepted pass out of the Dublin defence minutes later and curled a shot into the top corner of the net to bring the sides level again.
But Dublin responded in devastating fashion before the break, a move involving Davey, Noelle Healy and Olwen Carey put Carla Rowe in on goal, the Clann Mhuire player opened up the target with a sidestep and buried the ball to the net to give Dublin an interval lead of 2-05 to 1-05.
Four points down and Cork needed a quick start to the second half, points from Áine O’Sullivan and Finn reduced the gap to two and they almost grabbed the lead minutes later, but Eimear Scally’s goalbound effort was cleared off the line by Niamh Collins.
Two Sinead Aherne converted frees pushed the Dublin lead back out to four, but Cork responded with two dead ball conversions from Orla Finn.
But with 11 minutes of the 2018 TG4 All Ireland Senior Ladies Football Final to go Dublin struck the killer blow.
Martha Byrne made a brilliant run from the back and found Lyndsey Davey with a pass, the Skerries Harps sharpshooter picked out Carla Rowe who cut back on her left and slid the ball to the net to finally bury the ghosts of the past and Dublin claimed an historic second title in a row on a scoreline of 3-11 to 1-12.
Dublin Scorers: S Aherne 1-07 (1-00 pen, 4f), C Rowe 2-00, N Owens 0-02, N McEvoy 0-01, S Goldrick 0-01.
Cork Scorers: O Finn 0-08 (8f), A O’Sullivan 1-02, C O’Sullivan 0-01, D O’Sullivan 0-01 (1f).
Dublin: C Trant; N Collins, L Caffrey, M Byrne; S Goldrick, L Magee, S Finnegan; O Carey, N McEvoy; L Davey, S McGrath, C Rowe; S Aherne, N Healy, N Owens.
Dublin Substitutions: J Dunne for Owens (52), H O’Neill for McEvoy (53), A Connolly for Healy (59).
Cork: M O’Brien; R Phelan, M Duggan, E Spillane; M O’Callaghan, E Meaney, S Kelly; A O’Sullivan, H Looney; D O’Sullivan, A Hutchings, C O’Sullivan; L Coppinger, E Scally, O Finn.
Cork Substitutions: S Noonan for Coppinger (half-time), O Farmer for Looney (54), C Collins for Spillane (54).
Referee: G McMahon (Mayo).