Cork arrive late to deny Dublin

Dublin were and will probably remain shell shocked at how they were beaten

You had to see yesterday’s women’s All-Ireland football final to believe what happened. We’ll try to explain. With Geraldine O’Flynn’s late point Cork snatched their ninth title in 10 seasons from under Dublin’s nose. It was worse than cruel. An 11-point swing in 15 minutes sounds like the greatest comeback of all time.

"Well, it's the greatest I've seen out on that field for a long time," said Cork manager Eamonn Ryan. And he's 73.

Dublin outplayed them, out-harried them, out-scored them to such an impressive extent the scoreboard read 2-10 to 0-6. Maybe Dublin checked out. Maybe Cork come from a different, super human republic. But something astounding transpired before the eyes of 27,374 hysterical fans. It started like rain drops in a desert.

A goal from Cork substitute Rhona Ní Bhuachalla made the smallest imprint on Dublin's lead. A shower of points followed from Orla Finn and the occasionally brilliant Valerie Mulcahy before Dublin's Carla Rowe settled nerves.


More points

Then the rain fall. O’Flynn point. Mulcahy again. Ní Bhuachalla again. Six point game. Nine minutes to play. No panic. Sinéad Goldrick should still be lifting the Brendan Martin Cup.

Then came the flood. Another sub, Eimear Scally, galloped through Dublin’s previously watertight defence to blast the second Cork goal.

Level! 2-11 apiece. Dublin were and probably remain shell shocked. Goldrick and a few others came back to life. Siobhán Woods, another scoring sub, appeared to have kicked the point that would win only their second ever All-Ireland.

But no. Ciara O’Sullivan squared it. All Cork now. Two minutes showing on the countdown clock and the ball got to O’Flynn. She had made a mess of two very kickable frees earlier. She nailed it. Clean. “I didn’t know if I wanted to laugh or cry,” Cork centre back Deirdre O’Reilly said. “There was a minute and half left. I just wanted the game to be over.

“It was the longest minute and a half of my life. It was never ending.”

Back came Dublin. Goldrick again – her brilliant forwards Lindsay Peat, Sinéád Aherne and Lyndsey Davey were all tied up so she found Woods, who shot, it dropped short.

Experienced players

“You have to give Cork credit, they don’t die,” said Dublin midfielder

Denise Masterson

afterwards. “Their more experienced players just took the game by the scruff of the neck.”

By this she means Briege Corkery, Angela Walsh and Rena Buckley who already scooped up the camogie All-Ireland this month. Eight of these women now own nine football medals. That transcends achievement.

The world can be cruel. Dublin manager Greg McGonigle was the Monaghan manager last year that lost by a point to Cork. “We need to be a bit like a shark, every time a shark takes a bite it loses a tooth but within 24 hours it gets another tooth back. . .This Dublin team will win an All-Ireland,” McGonigle said.

Just not this All-Ireland.

Gavin Cummiskey

Gavin Cummiskey

Gavin Cummiskey is The Irish Times' Soccer Correspondent