LIDL LADIES NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE DIVISION ONE
By Daire Walsh
Second-half goals from Amy Ring and Carla Rowe were crucial at Parnell Park on Sunday afternoon, when Dublin secured a hard-earned victory over defending champions Cork in Division One of the Lidl Ladies National Football League.
Gregory McGonigle’s side were hoping to build on their recent triumph over Monaghan, but they endured a difficult start to the proceedings in the Donnycarney venue. After receiving a short hand-pass from captain Ciara O’Sullivan, Cork attacker Orla Finn fired past Dublin netminder Ciara Trant just four minutes into the action.
This three-pointer was a massive tonic for the visitors, and Finn subsequently punished some wayward shooting from Dublin by registering points on the 8th and 11th minutes.
The Metropolitans eventually opened their account through Carla Rowe, but Cork created further daylight between the teams with unanswered points by Doireann O’Sullivan, Annie Walsh and midfielder maestro Briege Corkery.
Back-to-back scores courtesy of Nicole Owens and Rowe (free) lifted the spirits of the Sky Blues, and even though a second point from Mourneabbey’s Doireann O’Sullivan arrived in the 26th-minute, a superb stoppage-time goal by Dublin centre-forward Lyndsey Davey reduced the Cork advantage.
A third successful free from Finn helped Cork towards a 1-7 to 1-3 interval buffer, though, and they extended their lead with another Finn point just two minutes after the restart. Yet, a strong purple patch from Dublin was kick-started on 33 minutes, when Amy Ring was on hand to flick a long delivery from Noelle Healy over the head of advanced Cork custodian Martina O’Brien.
This boosted the confidence levels of the hosts, and following quick-fire scores from Owens, Healy and Rowe, Dublin suddenly found themselves in the ascendancy.
However, Cork brought this scoring sequence to an end with a much-needed Finn free, and after dual star Corkery cancelled out a Davey point for Dublin, the sides were on level terms moving into the final 20 minutes of play.
The 2015 All-Ireland finalists then received another boost 17 minutes from time, as the excellent Rowe claimed a third major for her side – after Aherne had palmed a high ball into her path. Dublin were now firmly in the driving seat, and with Ring adding a pointed free on the 45-minute mark, they were now four points to the good.
The Munster kingpins were not prepared to go down without a fight, however, and points by Corkery and Doireann O’Sullivan did settle their nerves to a degree. Sinead Aherne split the posts in superb fashion from the left-wing for Dublin, but with raiding centre-back Brid Stack raising a white flag on 49 minutes, Cork remained within touching distance of their opponents.
Yet, this was their final score of the contest, and thanks to another score by Clann Mhuire’s Rowe (who finished with a personal tally of 1-4), Dublin sealed their third league win of the 2016.
Scorers for Dublin: Carla Rowe 1-4 (0-1f), Lyndsey Davey, Amy Ring (0-1f), 1-1 each, Nicole Owens 0-2, Noelle Healy, Sinead Aherne 0-1 each.
Scorers for Cork: Orla Finn 1-6 (0-5f), Doireann O’Sullivan 0-3 (1f), Briege Corkery 0-2, Annie Walsh, Brid Stack 0-1 each.
DUBLIN: Ciara Trant; Olwen Carey, Leah Caffrey, Fiona Hudson; Sinead Goldrick, Sinead Finnegan, Niamh Collins; Amy Connolly, Noelle Healy; Nicole Owens, Lyndsey Davey, Carla Rowe; Amy Ring, Niamh McEvoy, Sinead Aherne.
SUBS: Muireann Ni Scanaill for Carey (18), Martha Byrne for Hudson (39), Siobhan Woods for Connolly (52), Olivia Leonard for Aherne (61).
CORK: Martina O’Brien; Marie Ambrose, Roisín Phelan, Aisling Barrett; Vera Foley, Brid Stack, Shauna Kelly; Annie Walsh, Briege Corkery; Rena Buckley, Aisling Hutchings, Orlagh Farmer; Ciara O’Sullivan, Doireann O’Sullivan, Orla Finn.
SUBS: Jess O’Shea for D O’Sullivan (49), Emma Farmer for Hutchings (51).
REFEREE: Niall McCormack (Laois).