West Cork 4-14
KIERAN McCARTHY REPORTS
TAKING on reigning county champions Mourneabbey holds no fear for an up-and-coming West Cork, insists their manager Brian McCarthy.
The West Cork ladies divisional football team, in their first-ever season, are through to the last four of the county SFC after they blitzed Beara by 16 points in a one-sided quarter-final in Dunmanway last Sunday.
Next up are reigning champions Mourneabbey in a county semi-final, which will be played after Cork’s upcoming All-Ireland final against Dublin.
‘When we entered this championship we wanted to play the best and Mournabbey are the best team in the county. They were All-Ireland finalists last year, they are the benchmark in Cork and they will be a big challenge but we’ll go out and play our game and see where that takes us,’ the Clann na nGael club-man said.
McCarthy was delighted that his team’s attacking philosophy paid off against a Beara team in its first year at senior level – West Cork led 1-6 to 0-2 at the end of the first quarter, 2-7 to 0-4 at the break and 4-11 to 0-4 early in the second half. This game was over with 20 minutes left.
‘We’re really happy with the performance. We had too much firepower for them once we got going and our backs were excellent. Beara played with a sweeper system and we just coped nicely with it,’ McCarthy said.
‘We said from day one that this team is about attack. We’re not a defensive team. We don’t want to be a defensive team. We are always looking to go on the attack; if we turn the ball over we go on the attack immediately and we move the ball as quick as possible.’
Rebel star Orla Finn, less than 24 hours after helping Cork defeat Monaghan, in an All-Ireland semi-final was terrific, again, scoring 1-7 before she departed the scene midway through the second half, the midfield pairing of Myra O’Sullivan and Melissa Duggan complimented one another really well, and wing back Emma Spillane was impressive again – but the best player on show was Cork defender Áine Hayes who was superb at centre back, especially in the first half when she dictated the pace of the game and drove West Cork forward.
‘They are a serious outfit, and going by way I saw (on Sunday) they can give the county a good rattle,’ Beara boss Ger Healy said, admitting that West Cork’s quick start was decisive.
‘We were always playing catch-up, in fairness. We got everything out of the girls in the second half and I’m happy with the second-half performance they put in; it’s not easy when you’re that far behind.
‘We have a young team on a learning curve, and this is a building process. We learned a lot, we know now that is the standard that we need to reach to compete at this level and we will come back stronger next year.’
In a pre-match huddle before the game, manager McCarthy called on his side to ‘think quick’, and they were certainly quick out of the blocks, racing to a 1-6 to 0-1 lead after 15 minutes of the first half.
After two early Orla Finn points were answered by an Amanda Murphy free, the latter saw a goal chance flash wide before a sweeping West Cork move involving Emma Spillane, Michelle Dullea, Finn and Sadhbh O’Leary ended with Alice O’Driscoll’s effort looping in over the head of Beara goalkeeper Jennifer Cronin. Points followed from Finn (2), O’Leary and captain Melissa Duggan as West Cork took control.
After Murphy added a second Beara free, Finn kicked her fifth point of the half before Amy Dineen set up Michelle Dullea for West Cork’s second goal; they now led 2-7 to 0-2.
Beara finished the half stronger with points from Christine O’Sullivan (their first score from play after 20 minutes) and another Murphy free, but they weren’t helped when their Cork star Áine Terry O’Sullivan was sin-binned. West Cork led 2-7 to 0-4 at half time.
West Cork’s management team asked their players for a fast start to the second half – and that’s exactly what happened.
Finn’s ball across the Beara goalmouth was brilliantly volleyed to the net by Nicole Quinn at the back post, and by the time Finn goaled five minutes later, Sadhbh O’Leary, Melissa Duggan and Finn herself had all added points. West Cork sub Rachael Murphy soon made it 4-11 to 0-4 – and this game was well over.
In fairness, Beara were competitive for the rest of the game with Áine Terry O’Sullivan and Amanda Murphy their two go-to players, and O’Sullivan converted a penalty after Rachael O’Shea was fouled.
Beara battled hard but they had no answer to a pacey West Cork team that’s built on a strong defence and that attacks at pace with forwards that can score – they have scored ten goals in three games and had nine different scorers last Sunday.
Next up are Mourneabbey.
West Cork: Orla Finn 1-7 (3f); Alice O’Driscoll, Michelle Dullea, Nicole Quinn 1-0 each; Sadhbh O’Leary (1f), Melissa Duggan 0-2 each; Rachael Murphy, Amy Dineen (f), Aileen Murphy 0-1 each.
Beara: Áine T O’Sullivan 1-1 (1-0 pen); Amanda Murphy 0-3f; Christine O’Sullivan, Rachael O’Shea, Niamh O’Sullivan 0-1 each.
West Cork: Aisling Judge (Kinsale); Sarah Hayes (Rosscarbery), Sophie Hurley (Bandon), Cliona Maguire (Rosscarbery); Aideen Lynch (Bandon), Aine Hayes (Rosscarbery), Emma Spillane (Bantry Blues); Melissa Duggan (Dohenys), Myra O’Sullivan (Bantry Blues); Michelle Dullea (Keelnameela), Orla Finn (Kinsale), Alice O’Driscoll (Castlehaven); Nicole Quinn (Bandon), Amy Dineen (Bantry Blues), Sadhbh O’Leary (Kinsale).
Subs used: Grainne Cowhig (Bandon), Ann Coakley (Bantry Blues), Rachael Murphy (Bantry Blues), Tracy McCarthy (Kinsale), Aileen Murphy (Dohenys).
Beara: Jennifer Cronin; Emma O’Shea, Fiona O’Sullivan, Aoife Harrington; Darerca O’Shea, Claire O’Shea, Patricia Dunne; Rachael O’Shea, Niamh Cotter; Ciara O’Sullivan, Áine T O’Sullivan, Shauna Doellken; Christine O’Sullivan, Amanda Murphy, Maureen O’Sullivan.
Sub used: Niamh O’Sullivan.
Referee: AJ Cronin.