Austin Stacks 1-5
NOEL HORGAN REPORTS
IN what amounted to a mismatch of monumental proportions, Kinsale advanced to the Munster ladies football intermediate club championship final at the expense of Kerry kingpins Austin Stacks in Mallow.
The result leaves the Cork standard-bearers, last year’s junior winners, on the brink of garnering provincial glory in successive seasons, and manager Michael O’Connor says the priority now is to guard against complacency following their emphatic semi-final triumph.
‘We didn’t expect to have it so easy against Austin Stacks, who gave us a good game in the junior championship last year, but I suppose getting to an All-Ireland final in 2016 has improved our girls a lot,’ he suggested.
‘You’d have to say they couldn’t have been more impressive today, and it’s a tremendous achievement to reach the Munster intermediate final in our first year up from junior.
‘We’d have preferred a tougher test ahead of the final, but we intend to keep our feet firmly on the ground, because we have to be prepared for a much harder assignment next time out,’ he stressed.
Kinsale were very quick to stamp their authority on the proceedings, forcing Austin Stacks to absorb some severe pressure during the opening exchanges.
After Aoife Keating was denied a goal by the upright in the ninth minute, Kinsale made a major breakthrough three minutes later when full-back Aideen Lynch foiled a promising Austin Stacks’ raid to launch a counter-attack completed by an excellent strike from Jenny Murphy.
That made it 1-1 to 0-1, and it marked the opening of the floodgates, with Sadhbh O’Leary, from a penalty, Orla Finn and O’Leary adding further goals as Kinsale carved out the openings with monotonous ease and regularity for the rest of the first half.
They had stretched the gap to a massive 18 points before Megan O’Brien pulled a goal back for Austin Stacks from a free in the 28th minute, but Kinsale responded with scores from Finn (2) and O’Leary to go in at half time leading by 4-10 to 1-1.
Kinsale continued to pile on the punishment in the second half, with Jenny Murphy claiming her second goal in the 40th minute before goalkeeper Aisling Judge proved her worth when saving well from Megan O’Brien shortly afterwards.
A hat-trick of goals shared by Lorraine Copithorne and Orla Finn, who bagged a brace, soon followed, allowing Kinsale to head into the last quarter 8-14 to 1-1 in front.
They took their foot off the pedal to a certain extent in the last ten minutes, but they still kept the scoreboard ticking with points from Nicole Quinn and substitutes Hester McCarthy and Aoife O’Leary.
Kinsale: O Finn 3-6 (1f), S O’Leary 2-4 (1-0 pen), J Murphy 2-1, L Copithorne 1-0, E Murphy 0-2, A Keating, N Quinn, H McCarthy and A O’Leary 0-1 each.
Austin Stacks: M O’Brien 1-2 (1-1f), A Dillane 0-2, M Barry 0-1.
Kinsale: A Judge; E O’Brien, A Lynch, G Buckley; T McCarthy, C O’Callaghan, A Lee; N Quinn, L Copithorne; E Murphy, J Murphy, G Gould; O Finn, A Keating, S O’Leary.
Subs: D Tyner for O’Brien (35), G Cowhig for Gould (injured, 48), H McCarthy for Finn (50), E O’Leary for Lee (50), A O’Leary for Keating (50).
Austin Stacks: D Mangan; S Fitzgerald, N O’Connor, S Higgins; S Hoare, C Horgan, D O’Shea; K Quilter, A Dillane; B Slattery, C Brennan, C Barry-Walsh; M O’Carroll, M Barry, M O’Brien.
Subs: M McKivergan for O’Shea (ht), L Barrett for Hoare (45), L Rogers for Fitzgerald (50), J O’Connell for Barry (53).
Referee: J Murphy (Tipperary).