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O’Brien leads by example with crucial penalty save

Monday, 13th May, 2019 1:00pm

Story by Kieran McCarthy
O’Brien leads by example with crucial penalty save

Cork goalkeeper Martina O’Brien stops this second-half Galway penalty during the Division 1 league final. (Photo: Tom Russell)

WHILE Martina O’Brien played down her penalty save by saying the ball just hit her, it was a key moment in Sunday week's league final.

Cork were only two points up when Galway were awarded a penalty six minutes into the second half.

Up stepped Roisin Leonard for the Tribeswomen but her shot was the ideal height for O’Brien in the Cork goal. Danger averted.

It wasn’t exactly history repeating itself but when Cork and Galway met in the 2015 Division 1 final, the Connacht side also missed a penalty when Ballinascarthy native and Clonakilty player O’Brien was between the posts. That day, at the same end at Parnell Park as last Sunday, Annette Clarke drove her penalty wide. That game finished a draw and Cork won the replay.

‘Look, it’s probably not the best penalty that Roisin has ever taken. It hit me and it didn’t go in; that was the main thing. I wouldn’t say that it was a great save, but it gave us impetus and we really drove on then,’ O’Brien said.

The experienced West Cork woman, in her seventh season at senior level, also captained Cork to glory last weekend. It was a proud moment for O’Brien, who has also captained the team on a few occasions during this campaign, with Doireann O’Sullivan late returning to action after Mourneabbey’s All-Ireland win and then struggling with injury. 

‘The last ten minutes was backs to the wall. We had 13 against their 15 at one stage. The girls dug deep and there was a lot of relief there at the end. There are lots of good points for us there and lots of bad points – but we are just happy to come out with the win,’ O’Brien said.