Dublin 2-15
Cork 1-13

ANOTHER CHAPTER OF this remarkable rivalry ending in a Dublin victory.

That said, this was just the Sky Blues’ second time lifting the Lidl Ladies National Football League Division 1 crown, having won their first and only in 2018.

Mick Bohan’s all-conquering side triumphed tonight in style, with another big win over Cork in Croke Park — which was a change from the traditional league final venue of Parnell Park. With fans back in situ, they were treated to another classic.

The four-in-a-row All-Ireland winners have certainly dominated the championship landscape of late, though failed to show consistent early season form in the league.

2021 was different, Dublin finding the perfect balance as they enjoyed a 100% record in the competition while blooding younger players and unearthing new talent.

Their major find was unquestionably Hannah Tyrrell, the recently-retired Ireland rugby international continuing her stunning form by top-scoring with 0-7 this evening.

Goals in either half from Niamh Hetherton and Carla Rowe were key, along with the free-taking displays of Tyrrell and captain Sinéad Aherne, and Siobhan McGrath’s Player of the Match-winning performance.

Though entertaining and a game which certainy had it all, it was frustrating and stop-start at times as both sides continuously coughed up frees. 

The early exchanges saw a free-taking contest between Aherne and Orla Finn, before the former and Siobhán Killeen notched the game’s first scores from play around the 10th minute to push Dublin into a 0-4 to 0-2 lead.

Dublin’s Siobhán Killeen and Martina O’Brien of Cork.

Source: Brian Reilly-Troy/INPHO

Cork responded almost immediately with a goal at the other end; dual star Libby Coppinger palming home after good work from experienced duo Ciara O’Sullivan and Finn in the build-up.

Áine O’Sullivan and Sadhbh O’Leary added two nice points as the Rebels made hay, though Tyrrell started to find her range from frees into Hill 16.

Dublin soon sparked to life, as Hetherton cut through the heart of the Cork defence – led by Róisin Phelan, who was solid throughout – and rattled the net to make it 1-5 to 1-4 just before the first water break.

The second quarter scored 0-5 to 0-2 to the Sky Blues; Bohan’s charges moving up the gears as Olwen Carey got in on the scoring act and Tyrrell kept firing over — from play too, to bring her first-half tally to 0-5 (3f).

Hetherton will feel aggrieved she was denied a second goal in the 27th minute after palming home when Tyrrell put it on a plate for her; referee Seamus Mulvihill scratching it off as a square ball.

Finn was Cork’s sole scorer in that period — a stunning effort from play and another routine free — and truth be told, Ephie Fitzgerald’s side were wasteful at times and lucky not to be further behind at the break (1-10 to 1-6).

On the restart, the free-taking battle continued, as Finn and Aherne traded efforts, before the evergreen Lyndsey Davey notched her first of the match to send Dublin into a five-point lead.

Though the pointed frees kept coming, that gap remained, with Dublin reduced to 14 when Martha Byrne was sin-binned just shy of the 40th minute. 

1-13 to 1-9 at the second water break, Cork had a goal disallowed shortly beforehand, Finn’s first missed free of the evening dropping short, before it was adjudged to be scooped off the line by Carey.

As Dublin’s start-studded bench made their impact felt and Cork failed to capitalise on their numerical advantage, Tyrrell and Aherne kept the scoreboard ticking over. The returning Eimear Scally landed an inspirational response at the other end, but Dublin soon extinguished any hopes of a comeback.

Back to 15 by the 40th minute, Rowe marked her returned to the biggest stage with a brilliant goal to make it 2-15 and 1-10 and all but assure Dublin of the crown.

The game turned scrappy from there, both teams finishing with 14 after Máire O’Callaghan and Lauren Magee were yellow-carded for different dangerous challenges.

To their credit, Cork never gave up as they went in hunt of a late goal – Scally had one questionably disallowed – but ultimately, all they could muster was consolation points in the dying minutes from O’Sullivan, Coppinger and Finn.

Scorers for Cork: Orla Finn (0-8, 7f), Libby Coppinger (1-1), Áine O’Sullivan, Sadhbh O’Leary, Eimear Scally and Ciara O’Sullivan (all 0-1).

Scorers for Dublin: Hannah Tyrrell (0-7, 5f), Sinéad Aherne (0-5, 4f), Niamh Hetherton (1-0), Siobhán Killeen, Jennifer Dunne and Lyndsey Davey (all 0-1).

Cork

1. Martina O’Brien (Clonalkilty) – captain

19. Méabh Cahalane (Éire Óg), 3. Roisin Phelan (St Brigid’s, Dublin), 4. Eimear Meaney (Mourneabbey)

5. Erika O’Shea (Macroom), 6. Aisling Hutchings (Fermoy), 7. Melissa Duggan (Doheny’s)

8. Máire O’Callaghan (Mourneabbey), 9. Hannah Looney (Aghada)

10. Áine O’Sullivan (Beara), 11. Bríd O’Sullivan (Mourneabbey), 12. Orla Finn (Kinsale)

13. Sadhbh O’Leary (Kinsale), 14. Ciara O’Sullivan (Mourneabbey), 15. Libby Coppinger (St Colums)

Subs:

21. Daire Kiely (Valley Rovers) for Áine O’Sullivan (15)

20. Emma Cleary (Éire Óg) for Daire Kiely (38)

23. Eimear Scally (Éire Óg) for Sadhbh O’Leary (39)

2. Shauna Kelly (Araglen Desmonds Bui) for Aisling Hutchings (42)

Dublin

1. Abby Shiels (Lucan Sarsfields)

2. Martha Byrne (Cuala), 3. Niamh Collins (Foxrock Cabinteely), 4. Hannah Leahy (Scoil Uí Chonaill)

5. Leah Caffrey (Na Fianna), 6. Olwen Carey (Thomas Davis), 7. Lauren Magee (Kilmacud Crokes)

8. Siobhain McGrath (Thomas Davis), 9. Jennifer Dunne (Cuala)

10. Hannah Tyrrell (Na Fianna), 11. Lyndsey Davey (Skerries Harps), 12. Siobhain Killeen (Clontarf)

13. Sinéad Aherne (St Sylvesters) – captain, 14. Niamh Hetherton (Clontarf), 15. Caoimhe O’Connor (Clontarf)

Subs:

21. Carla Rowe (Clann Mhuire) for Caoimhe O’Connor (32, blood sub)

15. Caoimhe O’Connor for Carla Rowe (36)

21. Carla Rowe for Niamh Hetherton (37)

23. Niamh McEvoy (St Sylvester’s) for Siobhan Killeen (39)

19. Lucy Collins (Na Fianna) for Hannah Leahy (46)

22. Kate Sullivan (St Sylvester’s) for Caoimhe O’Connor (47)

16. Ciara Trant (St Brigid’s) for Abby Shiels (52).

Referee: Seamus Mulvihill (Kerry). 

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