Mourneabbey’s dreams finally come true in the rain and wind
After losing three All-Ireland finals in four years, the Cork club made sure this time
Mourneabbey players celebrate with the Dolores Tyrrell Memorial Cup after beating Foxrock-Cabinteely in the All-Ireland Ladies Football Senior Club Championship Final at Parnell Park in Dublin. Photograph: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Mourneabbey 1-13 Foxrock-Cabinteely 1-7
When you bang on the door long enough, it’s probably no surprise that you end up flattening it when you eventually make it through. Mourneabbey have had their fill of losing these finals, leaving three behind them in the space of four years before this one. They weren’t about to let it happen again. They put Foxrock-Cabinteely through the rinse cycle here and lifted their first All-Ireland title with a blow-out win in Parnell Park.
You can only be denied so many times. Mourneabbey leathered into this final like they wanted to leave no room for doubt. They had the wind in the first half and made full use of it, playing the game in Fox-Cab’s half of the pitch and giving the Dublin champions no peace in it. They demolished Aisling Tarpey’s kick-out, forcing her to kick into the teeth of the gale and the whoosh of the rain and turning her into the loneliest woman in Donnycarney.
“It’s a dream come true,” said the imperious Doireann O’Sullivan after a Player of the Match display. “We’ve waited five years for this. You can’t put into words, I think everyone is super emotional. It just means so much to us. We were just sick of losing. So many girls put their hands up there today. We just said enough is enough.”
From the off, it was the Mourneabbey big guns who ran the game. Bríd O’Sullivan was relentless, gunning through the middle of the Fox-Cab defence at will. Ciara O’Sullivan schemed away at centre-forward, showing-and-going and keeping going. Even towards the end, with the game long won, the Mourneabbey number 11 was the one whose smarts were on show as she ran down the clock and held Fox-Cab at arm’s length.
But really, the Cork side got things done and dusted in the first half. At the point of the spear, Doireann O’Sullivan and Laura Fitzgerald were unplayable at times, with Ellie Jack throwing into the pot as well when the chances arose. Between them, the Mourneabbey full-forward line had 1-10 scored by half-time, 1-7 of it from play.
Overall, indeed, Mourneabbey’s shooting in that first half was pretty exceptional. Given the conditions, 13 scores from 15 shots was a phenomenal return. Doireann O’Sullivan in particular was dangerous any time she got on the ball. Flawless from frees, she scored three cracking points from play, all from around 40 metres out on an angle. She was instrumental in their goal as well, laying it on a plate for Fitzgerald to palm home.
The goal pretty much finished the game as a contest, making it 1-11 to 0-3 with 25 minutes gone. Fox-Cab hadn’t been able to get to the pitch of the game at all, overwhelmed and outplayed from the start. Even when they replied with an instantaneous goal of their own through Fiona Claffey, it was only a speed bump for the Cork champions.
Mourneabbey went to the break nine ahead, 1-12 to 1-3. If Fox-Cab were going to make any dent in that margin, they were going to have to come out blazing after the restart. In fairness to Sinead Goldrick, their one true leader all evening, she stuck the first point on the board within a couple of minutes. But that was as good as it got.
If anything, it was Mourneabbey who were the more dangerous for the rest of the game. They hit the crossbar twice in the space of 30 seconds through Eimear Harrington and Ciara O’Sullivan before Harrington missed a penalty on 44 minutes. Even with all their second-half wastefulness though, this never became a close contest.
“We’ve put so much into football,” reflected Doireann O’Sullivan. “We’ve put our social lives on hold, other aspects of our lives on hold too and today we said it was time to take all that back. We’ve given so much and today, thankfully, we took what was overdue.”
Mourneabbey: Meadbh O’Sullivan; Eimear Meaney, Cathy Ann Stack, Aisling O’Sullivan; Sandra Conroy, Roisin O’Sullivan, Kathryn Coakley; Maire O’Callaghan, Brid O’Sullivan; Eimear Harrington (0-1), Ciara O’Sullivan (0-2), Niamh O’Sullivan; Ellie Jack (0-2), Laura Fitzgerald (1-2), Doireann O’Sullivan (0-6, 0-3 frees). Subs: Sile O’Callaghan for C O’Sullivan (blood), 16-18 mins; O’Callaghan for Fitzgerald, 42 mins;
Foxrock-Cabinteely: Aisling Tarpey; Aedin Murray, Sarah Quinn, Emma MCDonagh. Sinead Goldrick (0-1), Niamh Collins, Lorna Fusciardi; Tarah O’Sullivan. Ciara Ní Mhurchadh; Laura Nerney, Amy Connolly (0-1, free), Fiona Claffey (1-0); Hannah O’Neill (0-1), Ciara O’Riordan, Amy Ring (0-4, 0-4 frees). Subs: Roisin McGovern for O’Riordan, half-time; Laurie Ahern for Nerney, 40 mins; Kate O’Brien for Murray, 51 mins; Sinead Delahunty for Fusciardi, 53 mins; Hazel Dennelly for Connolly, 58 mins
Referee: Brendan Rice (Down)