DECLAN ROONEY REPORTS
It’s six years since Cork last claimed the All-Ireland U14 A title, and after a powerful performance against Galway they became the first winners of the revamped U14 Platinum All-Ireland championship in Banagher.
Three goals from Lia Hogan and two more from Tara Hickey set Cork on their way, while Ella Downey and Ava Healey also hit the net for the Munster side.
Playing with wind advantage in the first-half Cork bossed the action and after Eabha Curran got them up and running after 20 seconds, a goal from full-forward Hickey in the fourth minute gave them the perfect start.
With Lia Heffernan and Katie O’Driscoll dominant around the middle, the Cork forwards had a plentiful supply of good ball to work off and a couple of scores from Downey and Hogan’s free-taking saw them race into a 1-6 to 0-0 lead after 15 minutes.
Galway had their chances and with Niamh Donovan featuring well up front they remained competitive, but they badly needed Ciara Coen’s point in the 16th minute to settle.
What followed was four minutes of blistering football. Downey fired a goal for Cork, before Niamh Divilly’s long-range shot looped into the net at the other end, while Hogan fired a bullet shot to the net for Cork to give them a 3-6 to 1-1 lead after 21 minutes.
Donovan got the point she deserved five minutes from the interval, but in the final minute of the half a foul on Hickey resulted in a penalty and a sin-binning, and Hickey found the net from the penalty to put Cork 4-8 to 1-2 ahead at half-time.
Galway needed a bright start to the second-half and a point from Coen was just what they wanted, but Cork didn’t take long to rediscover their form. Curran pointed before Hogan scored her second goal in the 35th minute, and she hit her third goal two minutes later for a 6-10 to 1-3 lead.
Cork continued to dominate but their lead could have been far bigger, but for three excellent saves from Leah O’Halloran in the Galway goal.
At the other end Róisín Larder hit a deserved goal for Galway, but at the death Healy completed the job for a brilliant Cork side.
Scorers – Cork: L Hogan 3-3 (3f), T Hickey 2-0, E Downey 1-2, E Curran 0-3, A Healy 1-0, G Nagle 0-2, G Rooney 0-2, K O’Driscoll 0-1, L Murray 0-1, C White 0-1. Galway: R Lardner 1-1 (1f), N Divilly 1-0, C Coen 0-2, N Donovan 0-1
Cork: S Collins; M Burke, J Savage, A Hoare; M Condon (c), S Sheehan, C O’Brien; L Heffernan, K O’Driscoll; L Murray, E Downey, E Curran; L Hogan, T Hickey, C Morrisson.
Subs used: G Rooney, A Cashman, L Hartnett, G Nagle, K Murphy, A Healy, M Murphy, C White, G Cooney, M O’Shea, N Falvey, S Foley, A Barry, J Devlin, C McEvoy.
Galway: L O’Halloran; S Ní Scanláin, M Jordan, R Reddington; G Molloy, C Glynn, N Daly; A Trayers, A Nash; M Boote, N Divilly, B Naughton (c); N Donovan, C Coen, L O’Donnell.
Subs used: S O’Connell, E Brennan, K Thompson, E Baird, A Browne, L Keary, C Brennan, J Moran, J Browne, M Downes, R Kelly, E Collins, M Homes, R Hughes.
Referee: Jonathan Murphy (Carlow).