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Ní Mhuircheartaigh top scores as Kerry ladies survive Cork scare to qualify for Munster senior football final


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Kerry’s Munster final opponent won’t be determined until Cork play Tipperary in round three

Kerry 1-14

Cork 1-10

Kerry had to survive a Cork scare at a beautifully laid out Brosna GAA pitch, but in the finish, they got the job done and will contest the Munster final in three weeks time. On the other side Tipperary defeated Waterford which means that Kerry won’t know who they will face in that final until Cork play the Premier County in round three.

That won’t worry the Kingdom for now as they overcame a Cork challenge that was ferocious in its intensity. Cork had made four changes to their starting line up before the start of the game, resting some familiar starters, but they certainly took the game to Kerry in the early stages.

Indeed, by the ninth minute the visitors had pushed into a 0-3 to 0-1 lead and with the wind at their backs they looked the much livelier of the two sides. Louise Ní Mhuircheartaigh had Kerry off the mark after a mere thirty seconds but Cork soon rattled over three on the trot from Daire Kiely, a Lydia McDonagh free and Abigail Ring.

Kerry were enjoying plenty possession but turning over in vital areas and a major chance for a goal went abegging in the eleventh minute when an overcooked final pass saw the ball go harmlessly wide.

Aishling O’Connell, a shining light for Kerry throughout, broke the gain line and popped to Anna Galvin who struck for a good score. Cork replied through the pacey Lydia McDonagh but a brace of scores from Niamh Carmody and Ní Mhuircheartaigh, after excellent work from Danielle O’Leary, drew Kerry level.

By the 27th minute Kerry had pushed into a 0-6 to 0-5 lead but then, similar to last weeks game against Tipperary, they struck for a goal. It came about when Carmody played a brilliant pass into Ní Mhuircheartaigh who had drifted inside the cover, and the sharpshooter made no mistake to bury the ball past Sarah Murphy.

To their credit Cork fought back and they got the final two points of the half through Sadhbh McGoldrick and a Lydia McDonagh free. The Kerry goalmouth also had a lucky escape when Eilis Lynch made a brilliant goal line block when a green flag looked certain, but as it was the hosts took a 1-6 to 0-7 lead in at half time.

With the wind at their backs on the perfect Brosnan surface, Kerry put Cork to the sword in the first six minutes of the second half. Ní Mhuircheartaigh scored the first after being fed by the increasingly prominent Cait Lynch, and then Niamh Ní Chonchúir marked her half time introduction with a score straight from the kick out.

Next up it was Carmody with Lynch again heavily involved and then a combination of Kayleigh Cronin and Lynch saw Anna Galvin hit her second point of the game.

By the 40th minute Kerry had pushed 1-11 to 0-8 to the good and looked well in control of the game. They hadn’t banked on the blistering pace of Cork corner back Melissa Duggan though, and like a hot knife through butter she opened up the Kingdom rearguard before hitting a brilliant goal.

Carmody went down with a worrying injury for Kerry, although the feedback after the game is that it isn’t as serious as it first looked. When the game resumed the sides traded scores to keep Kerry’s three-point lead before the excellent Aishling O’Connell struck a deserved point after another fine run.

Abbie O’Mahony struck a point to bring Cork back to three and then Ní Mhuircheartaigh was banished to the sin bin after halting a Cork breakaway.

Cork attacked for all their worth and Kerry were thankful to a magnificent Danielle O’Leary block as a sea of red attacked the Kingdom’s goal. Kerry were then reduced to 13 players after Cronin was tagged for what looked like a text book block.

In the end though, Kerry worked themselves into a good position with Anna Galvin being fouled and the on form Danielle O’Leary made no mistake with the subsequent free to secure Kerry’s four-point victory.

KERRY: Ciara Butler; Eilis Lynch, Deirdre Kearney, Ciara O’Brien; Aishling O’Connell 0-1, Kayleigh Cronin, Ciara Murphy; Mary O’Connell, Cait Lynch; Anna Galvin 0-2, Niamh Carmody 0-2, Amy Harrington; Katie Brosnan, Louise Ní Mhuircheartaigh 1-4 (2f), Danielle O’Leary 0-4 (1f). Subs: Niamh Ní Chonchúir 0-1 for A Harrington (ht), Aoife Dillane for C O’Brien (41) , Lorraine Scanlon for M O’Connell (41), Emma Dineen for N Carmody (48), Hannah O’Donoghue for K Brosnan (48).

CORK: Sarah Murphy; Melissa Duggan 1-0, Dara Kiniry, Anna Ryan; Sarah Leahy, Sadhbh McGoldrick 0-2, Daire Kiely 0-1; Katie O’Driscoll, Abbie O’Mahony 0-1; Emma Cleary, Aibigail Ring 0-1, Kaitlin Smith; Lydia McDonagh 0-4 (2f), Leah Hallihan. Subs: Hannah Looney for A Ring (ht), Libby Coppinger for K Smith, Ellie Jack for L Hallihan, Rosie Corkery for K O’Driscoll, Aoife Healy 0-1 for A McDonagh (all 44).

REFEREE: David Grogan (Tipperary)

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