Dublin: 12°C Sunday 26 June 2022

Finn on fire with 1-10 as Cork storm to their fifth league title on the bounce

It was a thrilling contest as the Rebels edged Donegal by a single point.

Cork 2-15

Donegal 2-14

Emma Duffy reports from Parnell Park

LADIES FOOTBALL KINGPINS Cork stormed to their fifth Lidl Ladies National League Division 1 title on the bounce as they edged past history-makers Donegal by just one point.

Orla F Orla Finn (file pic). Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

In their ninth league title win in 10 years, Orla Finn was the star, as she scored 1-10 to bring the cup back to Munster.

Parnell Park played host to the super contest which was level six times before the Rebels pulled away.

A young Cork team, with 22-year-old Doireann O’Sullivan captain for the day in place of her sister Ciara, were also without 2016 Player of the Year Brid Stack, who was unable to start due to injury.

The reigning All-Ireland champions and now five-in-a-row league winners showed their intent from the first passage of play.

19 seconds from the throw-in, pacy corner forward Finn had the ball in the back of the net. Niamh Cotter found the Kinsale attacker, who unlocked the Donegal defence before slotting home.

The goal scorer then tagged on a free-kick before one prolific half of Donegal’s fierce attacking duo, Geraldine McLaughlin, had her first attack, and threat, of the day. She headed for goal but Martina O’Brien denied her on first asking.

McLaughlin opened her impressive 1-4 tally shortly after from play, before following through with a free. Midfielder Katy Herron then helped keep her side keep in touch as McLaughlin added another.

Geraldine McLaughlin celebrates scoring a goal Donegal ace Geraldine McLaughlin. Source: Tom Beary/INPHO

Roisin Phelan with Yvonne McMonagle Cork’s Roisin Phelan in action against Yvonne McMonagle. Source: Tom Beary/INPHO

Cork steamrolled on with Cotter, Finn and Mourneabbey’s Brid O’Sullivan all splitting the posts. McLaughlin’s partner in crime, Yvonne McMonagle, responded with a monstrous score at the other end before the former levelled matters.

Karen Gutherie helped Donegal snatch the lead for the first time, but Cork sharpshooter Eimear Scally soon cancelled that out with a quick-fire point and goal.

The goal showed the Rebels class was still evident despite the strong early challenge from the Ulster side. Shauna Kelly expertly picked out Brid O’Sullivan, who found her clubmate Doireann O’Sullivan before Scally palmed the ball into the back of the net.

McLaughlin continued her impeccable first-half form with an immediate response. The link between Donegals ‘Supermacs’ then truly came to the fore as McLaughlin became involved in two outstanding McMonagle scores. Between those was another free-kick converted by Finn.

Cork’s Libby Coppinger had the last say of the half, her point making it 2-8 to 1-9.

Donegal came out roaring after the interval, creating a goal chance but O’Brien kept Donegal’s goal returns at that time to one as she denied half-time substitute Paula McGrory.

Gutherie added a free-kick soon after though to reduce the difference to one again.

It was a ferocious battle around the middle, as both sides attempted to take full control of the game. The two sides attacked at a blistering pace, while hard-hitting challenges were pulled off in defence.

Moville’s Niamh Hegarty drilled the ball into the back of the net as the 40-minute mark approached, and Donegal took the lead for the second time.

Finn and Gutherie then exchanged frees, as Donegal’s advantage was restored to two.

Cork weren’t finished yet however, and looked potent with the ball in attack. Brid O’Sullivan and Finn added further scores from play, before the latter edged the Munster side one up with over half of the second period to play.

Hegarty levelled the sides for the fifth time, while the game looked like it could go either way at 2-12 a-piece. She looked like she may edge her side in front, but after a moment of individual brilliance, she clipped the post.

Doireann O'Sullivan lifts the league trophy Doireann O'Sullivan lifts the cup. Source: Tom Beary/INPHO

Brid O'Sullivan and Eimear Meaney celebrate Eimear Meaney and Brid O'Sullivan celebrate. Source: Tom Beary/INPHO

The Cork defence really got a grip on McLaughlin and McMonagle in the second half holding them scoreless, and a couple of misses in-a-row from various players could have built up a slight advantage for the Ulster women.

Finn and an outstanding Eilish Ward left-footed effort had the fixture tied again as it entered the final ten minutes.

The battle of the free-takers was pivotal from there as the minutes ran down, Finn and Gutherie trading scores, before Colm McManus sent McMonagle to the sin-bin, much to Donegal fans’ disgust.

They were then dealt another blow as Katy Herron was shown a straight red card for a high challenge on Jess O’Shea as Cork kept the ball in hand to run the clock down.

Gutherie’s converted free-kick was to be the last score of the day.

The final whistle blew to ferocious boos from the Donegal fans, but the Rebels march on towards championship with their fifth league title in-a-row under their belts.

Scorers for Cork: Orla Finn (1-10, 9f), Niamh Cotter (0-1), Brid O’Sullivan (0-2), Eimear Scally (1-1), Libby Coppinger (0-1)

Scorers for Donegal: Geraldine McLaughlin (1-4, 1f), Katy Heron (0-1), Yvonne McMonagle (0-3), Karen Gutherie (0-4, 3f), Niamh Hegarty (1-1), Eilish Ward (0-1) 


1. Martina O’Brien (Clonakilty)

2. Marie Ambrose (St. Val’s)
3. Roisin Phelan (Aghada)
4. Emma Spillane (Bantry Blues)

Exclusive NZ - IRE
Rugby Analysis

Get Murray Kinsella's match analysis and Garry Doyle's updates from New Zealand exclusive to members

Become a Member

19. Eimear Meaney (Mourneabbey)
5. Melissa Duggan (Dohenys)
7. Shauna Kelly (Araglen Desmonds Buí)

8. Niamh Cotter (Beara)
9. Jess O’Shea (Inch Rovers)

10. Libby Coppinger (St. Colum’s)
11. Brid O’Sullivan (Mourneabbey)
12. Orlagh Farmer (Midleton)

13. Eimear Scally (Éire Óg)
14. Doireann O’Sullivan (Mourneabbey)
15. Orla Finn (Kinsale)

18. Aisling Hutchings (Fermoy) for Coppinger (53′)
30. Aine O’Sullivan (Beara) for Farmer (56′)


1. Aoife McColgan (Malin)

2. Treasa Doherty (Camadonagh)
3. Emer Gallagher (Termon)
4. Nicole McLaughlin (Termon)

5. Therese McClafferty (Termon)
6. Ciara Hegarty (Moville)
7. Kate Keeney (Four Masters)

8. Katy Herron (Glenfin)
9. Karen Gutherie (Glenfin)

10. Gráinne Houston (Glenfin)
11. Niamh Hegarty (Moville)
12. Shannon McGroddy (Termon)

13. Roisín Friel (Termon)
14. Geraldine McLaughlin (Termon)
15. Yvonne McMonagle (Glenfin)


19. Deirdre Foley (Carndonagh) for Keeney (6′)
23. Paula McGrory (Buncrana) for Friel (HT)
22. Eilish Ward (St Nauls) for McGroddy (46′)

Referee: Colm McManus (Meath)

The42 is on Instagram! Tap the button below on your phone to follow us!

‘It turned my world upside down. Football gave me a focus and it’s nearly my therapy’

About the author:

Emma Duffy

Read next: