Eamonn Ryan’s Cork kept alive hopes of retaining their Tesco Homegrown Ladies National Football League Division 1 title by claiming a hard-fought 2-10 apiece draw against Dublin at Parnell Park on Sunday.
The Leesiders fought out a memorable stalemate with their city rivals at Parnell Park, as Dublin preserved their unbeaten start to the season.
A gripping finale to the group stages of the competition now lies in store as Cork are currently in fifth place, two points outside of the top four and a semi-final place.
Cork were boosted by the return of experienced Caoimhe Creedon to their squad for the visit to the capital and the Rebelettes struck for the game’s opening goal midway through the first half through Grace Kearney.
But Dublin responded approaching half-time with a quickfire brace of goals from Noelle Healy and Sinead Aherne, within the space of a minute, and the hosts led by 2-06 to 1-06 at the break.
Kearney bagged her second goal just two minutes into the second half and Cork came from behind to claim a valuable draw, which could yet see them claim one of those priceless top-four spots.
Aherne finished as leading scorer with 1-03 for Dublin, who are now top of the table, with Kearney leading the way for Cork.
Elsewhere, Cora Staunton turned in another virtuoso display for Mayo as the Westerners edged past dogged Donegal with just a point to spare, 2-17 to 4-10.
Geraldine McLaughlin was superb for the hosts, who trailed by 2-05 to 0-10 at half-time, but Staunton bagged scored both goals for Mayo at Robert Emmets.
Mayo’s victory keeps last year’s beaten finalists on course for the play-offs and Kerry also moved into contention with a superb win in Monaghan.
The Kingdom made the visit to Inniskeen a winning one as Monaghan tasted defeat for the first time this season.
Debra Murphy and Louise Ní Mhuircheartaigh scored the first half goals for Kerry as William O’Sullivan’s charges led by 2-05 to 0-07 at half-time.
And Kerry withstood a fierce second-half revival from the beaten 2013 All-Ireland finalists to claim a real morale boost.
Monaghan, thanks in the main to Ellen McCarron’s goal, had cut the gap to just a point with two minutes left but sub Lorraine Scanlon pointed late on to secure a dramatic 2-11 to 1-12 win.
Meanwhile, Laois collected a second victory of the season as Tyrone lost 2-06 to 1-10 in Crettyard.
Hosts Laois trailed at half-time by 0-05 to 1-5 but Noirín Kirwan’s second-half penalty kick-started the revival.
A narrow one-point success came at a cost, however, as experienced Gráinne Dunne sustained suspected knee ligament damage.
However, there was other good news for Laois over the weekend as O'Moore County native Marie Hickey was voted in as President elect of the Ladies Gaelic Football Association.
Hickey saw off rivals Con Moynihan and Gerry Doherty in the race to succeed Pat Quill as Association President in 2015.
Annual Congress at the Ferrycarrig Hotel in Wexford confirmed that the LGFA has voted to enter into negotiations with the GAA and the Camogie Association, with a view to becoming one Association.
The LFGA also announced a 30% increase in attendance at matches last year and team jerseys can now bear a second sponsor on their sleeves, in an attempt to generate extra revenue.
Tesco Homegrown Ladies NFL Division 1
Dublin 2-10 Cork 2-10
Donegal 4-10 Mayo 2-17
Laois 1-10 Tyrone 2-06
Monaghan 1-12 Kerry 2-11
Tesco Homegrown Ladies NFL Division 2
Meath 3-13 Clare 2-11
Down 7-13 Fermanagh 3-05
Galway 3-13 Westmeath 2-06
Kildare 0-09 Cavan 3-05
Tesco Homegrown Ladies NFL Division 3
Armagh 6-18 Leitrim 0-06
Wexford 2-09 Longford 2-09
Offaly 2-05 Tipperary 4-13
Sligo 1-15 Waterford 1-09