DAIRE WALSH REPORTS
CORK relinquished their Lidl National Football League Division 1 title to Dublin in Croke Park on Saturday night.
The Dubs are now reigning All-Ireland and league champions, and in both finals they beat Cork.
Hannah Tyrrell produced a star performance for Dublin here. A former Ireland rugby international, Tyrrell contributed 0-7 and captain Sinead Aherne added another five as the Sky Blues marched towards another national title under the guidance of Mick Bohan.
The opening moments of this showpiece decider was dominated by free-taking, with Aherne and Cork counterpart Orla Finn registering 0-2 apiece off placed-balls.
Aherne and former Republic of Ireland soccer international Siobhan Killeen chipped in with points from play, but 12-time League winners Cork stormed back in front when corner-forward Libby Coppinger palmed to the net after ten minutes following a lovely move.
An Áine Terry O’Sullivan point stretched Cork further ahead in advance of traded scores between Tyrrell and Sadhbh O’Leary, before TG4 All-Ireland senior champions Dublin pounced for their maiden goal just before the first-quarter mark. Full-forward Niamh Hetherton turned sharply after collecting possession from deep and unleashed an unstoppable shot past Cork captain Martina O’Brien.
Following the first half water break, a brace of Tyrrell points for Dublin were cancelled out by a similar salvo from Finn. Hetherton had a second goal ruled out for a square ball, but unanswered points courtesy of Jennifer Dunne and Tyrrell (two) gave Dublin a 1-10 to 1-6 half-time cushion.
While Cork reduced the gap through a Finn free when the action resumed, Dublin threatened to pull away with points from Aherne and Lyndsey Davey. Finn’s sixth of the day coincided with the sin-binning of Sky Blues corner-back Martha Byrne, and this presented the Munster side with a potential lifeline.
Yet, despite their numerical deficiency, Dublin grew in stature. Tyrrell and Aherne enhanced their tallies with additional points and while Eimear Scally curled between the posts for Cork, the returning Carla Rowe fired to the Cork net in the 50th minute to effectively place the outcome beyond doubt.
Yellow cards for Lauren Magee and Máire O’Callaghan ensured both teams finished the game with 14 players, and with Ciara O’Sullivan, Coppinger and Finn firing over late points, Cork did at least end the proceedings in commendable fashion.
Scorers – Dublin: H Tyrrell 0-7 (5f), S Aherne 0-5 (4f), N Hetherton 1-0, C Rowe 1-0, J Dunne 0-1, L Davey 0-1, S Killeen 0-1. Cork: O Finn 0-8 (6f), L Coppinger 1-1, A O’Sullivan 0-1, C O’Sullivan 0-1, S O’Leary 0-1, E Scally 0-1.
Dublin: A Sheils; M Byrne, N Collins, H Leahy; L Caffrey, O Carey, L Magee; S McGrath, J Dunne; H Tyrrell, L Davey, S Killeen; S Aherne, N Hetherton, C O’Connor. Subs: C Rowe for O’Connor (32-36), Rowe for Hetherton (37), N McEvoy for Killeen (39), L Collins for Leahy (45), K Sullivan for O’Connor (46), C Trant for Shiels (51).
Cork: M O’Brien; M Cahalane, R Phelan, E Meaney; E O’Shea, A Hutchings, M Duggan; M O’Callaghan, H Looney; A O’Sullivan, B O’Sullivan, O Finn; S O’Leary, C O’Sullivan, L Coppinger. Subs: D Kiely for A O’Sullivan (13), E Cleary for Kiely (38), E Scally for O’Leary (39), S Kelly for Hutchings (43).
Referee: Seamus Mulvihill (Kerry).