BY GER McCARTHY
O’DONOVAN Rossa’s Lia Hogan came off the bench to score 1-5 as Cork claimed the 2019 Munster LGFA U14 ‘A’ title following a thrilling battle with Kerry in Mallow last weekend.
Having come through two LGFA one-day blitzes without losing a game, manager Dominic Gallagher’s Cork U14 squad qualified for last Saturday’ week's Munster showdown with a five-in-a-row chasing Kerry.
A panel including a sizeable portion of West Cork representatives and captained by Clonakilty’s Millie Condon were facing a full-strength Kerry for the first time this season. Two previous blitz victories over the Kingdom counted for little in a terrific final that began with a goal inside the opening minute.
Inch Rovers’ Tara Hickey found the net and Bride Rovers’ Ciara Morrison added a point to get Cork off to the best possible start.
Kerry have not dominated the age-grade in recent years for nothing however and erupted into life with three goals during a devastating ten-minute spell. The Kingdom’s full-forward line comprising of the three Leah’s – Leah Morris, Leah O’Dwyer (penalty) and Leah McMahon – raised consecutive green flags to turn the Munster decider on its head.
Creditably, Cork managed to claw their way back into contention following a difficult spell with Ella Downey and Tara Hickey points making it 3-0 to 1-3. Even more crucially, Sarah Morrison scored a goal on the stroke of half time to level matters.
Difficult weather conditions made life awkward for both sets of players throughout the afternoon but it was Cork who made the better restart thanks to the introduction of O’Donovan Rossa’s Lia Hogan. The Skibbereen player converted a free before netting Cork’s third goal of the final and edge four points ahead.
Eabha Curran added another point prior to Hogan taking her tally to 1-2. Kerry refused to accept defeat and a second Leah Morris goal made it 3-6 to 4-0 after 36 minutes. Kerry enjoyed a dominant spell and levelled the score courtesy of two Pia Hickey and Leah McMahon efforts.
That was Cork’s cue to redouble their efforts and they made sure of a memorable win with a Ciara Morrison effort preceding O’Donovan Rossa’s Lia Hogan kicking the final three points (two frees) to complete a resounding 3-10 to 4-3 victory.
Next up for Cork is an All-Ireland series qualifier in a fortnight’s time in Kinnegad. Armagh, Fermanagh and Carlow will be Cork’s opponents where the top ranked team at the end of a busy one-day blitz will progress to an All-Ireland ‘A’ quarter-final.
The Cork U14 squad included: Caoimhe Richmond (Glanmire), Eimear O’Sullivan (Carrigaline), Sophie Collins (Kinsale), Abbie Hoare (Bride Rovers), Ava Barry (Bride Rovers), Chloe McGrath (Shamrocks), Ciara O’Brien (Eire Óg), Fiona Twohig (Valley Rovers), Grace Cooney (Mourneabbey), Jane Savage (Youghal), Katie O’Driscoll (Clonakilty), Lia Heffernan (St Marys), May Collins (Aghada), Millie Condon (Clonakilty), Molly Burke (Mourneabbey), Nora Falvey (Cloyne), Shauna Sheehan (Eire Óg), Keelin Murphy (Ilen Rovers), Lily Murray (Bride Rovers), Lisa Hartnett (Fermoy), Maria Murphy (Donoughmore), Alex Cashman (Youghal), Alison O’Keeffe (Grenagh), Ava Healy (Kilshannig), Caoimhe McEvoy (Clonakilty), Ciara Morrison (Bride Rovers), Ciara White (Clonakilty), Eabha Curran (Nemo Rangers), Ella Downey (Bantry Blues), Grace Nagle (Mallow), Grace Rooney (Inch Rovers), Jane Devlin (Cobh), Lia Hogan (O’Donovan Rossa), Megan O’Shea (Grenagh), Saoirse Foley (Banteer), Sarah McSweeney (Gabriel Rangers), Siofra Patwell (Clonakilty) and Tara Hickey (Inch Rovers).