Cork and Galway to meet in women’s National Football League Division One final
Eamonn Ryan’s side defeat Kerry while Galway push past Dublin
Galway’s Tracey Leonard in action against Dublin’s Sorcha Furlong and Kim Flood in their National Football League Division One semi-final at St Loman’s, Mullingar, Co Westmeath. Photograph: Sportsfile
Eamonn Ryan’s Cork are through to an eighth successive women’s National Football League Division One final.
Cork moved to within an hour of a third successive title by defeating Munster rivals Kerry by three points on Sunday, 0-13 to 0-10.
The reigning league and All-Ireland champions toughed it out against the Kerry in Dromcollogher, to set up a final showdown with Galway on Saturday, May 9th.
Galway were comprehensive winners of their semi-final against Dublin at St Loman’s, Mullingar, as they scored a 4-13 to 3-4 success.
Cork and Kerry were level six times in the first half of their last-four clash before the winners edged 0-7 to 0-6 ahead at half-time.
Goal chances came and went for both sides but respective goalkeepers Martina O’Brien and Edel Murphy would preserve clean sheets on the day.
But Cork’s interval lead was one they would not relinquish, as Kerry were held to just four points in the second half, all from frees.
Cork defended in numbers to keep their opponents at bay and managed to keep the scoreboard ticking as leading scorer Valerie Mulcahy scored three of her five points after half-time.
Galway’s other goal was scored by Noelle Connolly, whose speculative shot skipped off the wet surface and into the bottom corner of the Dublin net.
Nicole Owens grabbed the first of her two goals in the first half but Galway picked up where they left off after half-time when Patricia Gleeson rewarded Annette Clarke’s excellent approach play to register a fourth goal for the Tribeswomen.
Hannah Noonan responded with a Dublin goal and when Owens netted again, Dublin had a glimmer of hope, trailing by 3-3 to 4-10.
Dublin’s cause was helped when Sinead Burke was sin-binned for ten minutes but Galway held out to set up a first Division 1 final meeting with Cork since 2010.
Meanwhile, Ulster rivals Donegal and Armagh will meet in the Division Two final for the first time since 2005.
Donegal comfortably defeated Westmeath by 3-10 to 1-4 in their semi-final after Ulster champions Armagh saw off Cavan by 2-20 to 1-8.
Armagh were 1-11 to 1-4 clear at half-time in Clones, with leading scorer Aimee Mackin helping herself to 1-4 in the first half.
Aisling Sheridan netted early for Cavan but with Mackin in scintillating form, Armagh rallied impressively to recover from a 0-1 to 1-2 deficit.
Caroline O’Hanlon scored Armagh’s second goal after half-time as Mackin finished with a personal haul of 1-8, all scores coming from play.
Donegal fulfilled their part of the semi-final bargain in style, getting off to a flier as Amber Barrett netted after just 90 seconds against Westmeath.
Yvonne McMonagle registered a second Donegal goal to help her side lead by 2-1 to 0-3 at the break.
McMonagle added a second goal after half-time and while Karen McDermott scored a superb goal for Westmeath, there was no way back for the Midlanders.
Donegal and Armagh will now battle it out on May 9 for the right to play Division 1 football next year and the Division 3 decider will be contested by Waterford and Sligo.
Waterford hammered Roscommon by 4-15 to 0-9 in Nenagh as Sligo edged out Connacht rivals Leitrim on a 2-9 to 1-8 scoreline in Ballyhaunis.