WEST CORK 4-17
ST VAL’S 0-2
GER McCARTHY REPORTS
ÁINE Terry O’Sullivan shot the lights out as West Cork got their county senior football championship campaign off to a positive start at the expense of an understrength St Val’s in Skibbereen.
The divisional side completely overwhelmed a St Val’s team that lined out without the services of a host of regular starters including Briege Corkery, Ciara McCarthy and Brid Stack.
Despite a disjointed first-half display, West Cork powered to a comprehensive Group 1 win with Beara footballer Áine Terry O’Sullivan leading the way with a haul of 2-10.
‘Very happy with the result even though we hadn’t a whole pile done before tonight,’ said West Cork manager Brian McCarthy.
‘We got the girls in at half time and asked them to up the work rate a small bit in the second half. Once we did that we were able to open up St Val’s. Look, they were weakened tonight without Briege (Corkery) and a couple of other but we could only play what was in front of us.
‘I’m quite happy with the girls even though we have a lot of improving to do. We kicked a lot of wides and as a former forward it was frustrating to watch that from the sideline. In tight games that will cost us but the girls know that and that they need to improve on our shooting and other things before the next day out.’
St Val’s got numbers behind the ball from the opening minute and made their opponents work for every score. Fiona Keating fisted and kicked over consecutive points but despite ample possession, a succession of wides frustrated West Cork’s attackers.
Growing in confidence, the mid-Cork side began to make inroads and Aoife Plunkett got her team on the scoreboard from a free. Val’s proved just as profligate as West Cork and, disappointingly, would finish the game without a score from open play.
The excellent Fiona Keating extended West Cork’s advantage with another fisted point and O’Donovan Rossa’s Laura O’Mahony had a goal-bound shot brilliantly saved by Sinéad Plunkett.
Bantry midfielders Emma Spillane and Ellen O’Sullivan began to gain a foothold and West Cork finished the half strongly. Spillane set up Áine Terry O’Sullivan for a point prior to the Beara forward converting a pair of frees to make it 0-7 to 0-1. Niamh Terry O’Sullivan replaced her sister as a blood substitute and floated over a marvellous score to conclude the first period, 0-8 to 0-1.
West Cork’s full-back line of Sophie Hurley, Siobhan Courtney and Sarah Hayes gave nothing away as the divisional side put the result beyond doubt with five unanswered points immediately after the restart.
Áine Terry O’Sullivan, Fiona Keating and Eimear Kiely found their range prior to O’Sullivan billowing the net after 40 minutes. O’Sullivan scored an even better goal shortly after and Eimear Kiely raised a third green flag to complete an utterly dominant third quarter.
Rachel Murphy added a fourth goal during a scrappy closing 15-minute period in which West Cork emptied their substitute’s bench but were guilty of kicking some dreadful wides. Much tougher tests lie ahead but West Cork have their first points on the board in a group that also contains Éire Óg and reigning All-Ireland and county champions Mourneabbey.
West Cork: Áine Terry O’Sullivan 2-10 (5f), Fiona Keating 0-4, Eimear Kiely 1-1, Rachel Murphy 1-0, Niamh Terry O’Sullivan 0-2. St Val’s: Aoife Plunkett (0-2, 2f).
West Cork: Martina O’Brien (Clonakilty); Sophie Hurley (Bandon), Siobhan Courtney (Castlehaven), Sarah Hayes (Rosscarbery); Eimear Kiely (Valley Rovers), Melissa Duggan (Dohneys), Cliona Maguire (Rosscarbery); Emma Spillane (Bantry Blues), Ellen O’Sullivan (Bantry Blues); Áine Terry O’Sullivan (Beara), Daire Kiely (Valley Rovers), Laura O’Mahony (O’Donovan Rossa); Fiona Keating (Courcey Rovers), Rachel Murphy (Bantry Blues), Eve Murphy (Bantry Blues). Subs: Niamh Terry O’Sullivan (Beara) for Á Terry O’Sullivan (27, blood), Áine Terry O’Sullivan for N Terry O’Sullivan (ht), Maggie Coppinger (St Colum’s) for S Hurley (39), Niamh Terry O’Sullivan (Beara) for E Murphy (39), Eimear O’Reilly (Courcey Rovers) for D Kiely (45), Aoife Leonard (O’Donovan Rossa) for E Kiely (48), Jane Mulvihill (Valley Rovers) for M O’Brien (50).
St Val’s: Sinead Plunkett; Muireann Stack, Claire Ambrose, Bríd Cotter; Aisling O’Mahony, Marie Ambrose, Aileen Corkery; Eva Dunne, Sinéad Cotter (captain); Niamh O’Sullivan, Siofra Burgoyne, Zara Knight; Mairead Corkery, Aoife Plunkett, Laura Buttimer. Subs: Caoimhe Cotter for A Corkery (25, inj), Aileen Corkery for C Cotter (48).
Referee: AJ Cronin (Mayfield).