McConnell hat-trick proves the difference
WOMEN’S ALL-IRELAND SFC SEMI-FINALS:A HAT-TRICK of goals from corner-forward Cathriona McConnell was key as Monaghan beat Mayo by 4-15 to 2-14, to set up a repeat of last year’s final, in this year’s TG4 All-Ireland semi-finals.
Having lost to Cork in last year’s decider, Monaghan overcame the Rebels in this year’s National League Division One final and manager Gregory McGonigle is looking forward to the September 8th challenge.
“If you’re going to win an All-Ireland then you have to beat the best teams in Ireland,” he said.
“Cork will be as up for the game as we will be and it’s going to be a hard job for both of us, but I dare say it’ll be a cracking game.”
Buoyed by McConnell’s early goal, Monaghan led by 1-8 to 0-5 after playing with the wind at Dr Hyde Park, with Niamh Kindlon very impressive from frees.
A raft of goals early in the second half – from Mayo’s Cora Staunton and Aileen Gilroy as well as McConnell’s second – meant that the Ulster champions led by 2-10 to 2-5, and midway through the half points from Staunton and Deirdre Doherty had Mayo to within four points.
Monaghan’s response was impressive, however, with McConnell getting her third goal before outstanding midfielder Amanda Casey also found the net, and while Mayo got the game’s last five points, through Staunton and Doherty, the game had gone from them.
All-Ireland champions Cork were in ruthless form as they beat Donegal 8-27 to 0-2 in the first game in Roscommon.
Nollaig Cleary bagged 3-4 while Valerie Mulcahy scored 2-6 for the Rebels, who led by 3-13 to 0-2 at half-time.
Ciara O’Sullivan, Rhona Ní Bhuachalla and Doireann O’Sullivan got the other goals for Eamonn Ryan’s side, with Laura MacMahon weighing in with three points.
On the other side of the semi-final draw, Kerry and Galway, who beat Donegal and Meath respectively in their quarter-finals the previous weekend, will play each other. The game will take place next Saturday, September 1st.