Cora Staunton must put Oz on hold as Carnacon reach decider
They will face Mourneabbey in next month’s All-Ireland ladies senior club football final
Cora Staunton scored 1-7 on Sunday for her club. Photograph: Inpho
Carnacon (Mayo) 3-14 St Macartan’s (Tyrone) 0-8
Cora Staunton scored 1-7 as five-time winners Carnacon booked their place in a first All-Ireland ladies senior club final since 2013 on Sunday.
The Mayo and Connacht champions made a potentially tricky All-Ireland semi-final against first-time Ulster winners St Macartan’s look relatively straightforward at Fr Hackett Park, Augher.
Carnacon were driven on by their county players as Fiona McHale delivered another powerhouse performance at midfield, while Amy Dowling scored 1-3 from play. Martha Carter and Marie Corbett were solid in defence.
Half-forwards Louise Dowling and Aoife Brennan, who scored a point each, covered every blade of grass as Carnacon set up a December 3rd final clash with Cork’s Mourneabbey at Parnell Park.
It’s the first time that the clubs will have met in the senior championship - as Carnacon look to collect a first All-Ireland crown since their last win five years ago.
Club captain Staunton may be Australia-bound to prepare for a professional stint with the Greater Western Sydney Giants but the decorated forward will have to put travelling plans on hold for at least another fortnight.
For St Macartan’s, this was a bridge too far but the club managed by former Tyrone All-Ireland winner Ryan McMenamin can still reflect proudly on a landmark season.
They registered eight wides in the first half and they proved costly, as Carnacon put increased daylight between the teams as the game wore on.
At half-time, Carnacon led by 1-6 to 0-3 and the goal from McHale in the 16th minute was quite brilliant.
McHale picked up possession around midfield and drove at the heart of the St Macartan’s defence, with team-mates making intelligent runs on either side to clear a path.
McHale’s finish was low and decisive and the St Macartan’s luck was summed up in the 28th minute when skipper Joline Donnelly clipped a shot off the upright, across the face of goal and wide.
Indeed, St Macartan’s went without a score from the 15th minute until five minutes into the second half, and Carnacon were well in control by then.
The second Carnacon goal arrived in the 36th minute, as a long-range free from Staunton found the net, before Dowling registered goal number three six minutes later.
From there until the finish it was simply a matter of keeping the scoreboard ticking over for Carnacon, as their goalkeeper Michelle Higgins preserved a clean sheet with an excellent late save to keep out Lynda Donnelly.
On Saturday Laura Fitzgerald’s extra-time goal sealed victory for Mourneabbey in their semi-final against last year’s runners-up Foxrock-Cabinteely.
Fitzgerald collected 2-3 as the beaten finalists of 2014 and 2015 made it through to a third All-Ireland decider in four years, but only after extra-time at Bray Emmets GAA club.
Carnacon: M Higgins; S McGing, M Carter, S Larkin; M McGing, M Corbett, D Hughes; F McHale (1-2), E Flannery; L Dowling (0-1), A Dowling (1-3), A Brennan (0-1); E Cosgrave, C Staunton (1-7, 1-5f), B Bruton.
Subs: M Larkin for Bruton (51), A McHale for S Larkin (53).
St Macartan’s: N McKenna; S McQuaid, M Donnelly, M Treanor; S McCarroll, N McGirr (0-1), L Donnelly (0-1); M McMenamin, C McQuaid (0-1); S McRory, C Maguire (0-3, 0-2f), P Donnelly; S McGirr, C McCaffrey (0-2, 0-1f), J Donnelly.
Subs: T O’Hagan for P Donnelly (45), G McKenna for McRory (54), K Irvine for S McGirr (56).
Referee: C McManus (Meath)