Mourneabbey (Cork) 4-5 Foxrock-Cabinteely (Dublin) 0-15
Laura Fitzgerald’s extra-time goal sealed victory for Mourneabbey in a gripping All-Ireland senior ladies club football semi-final to send the Cork outfit through to a 3 December showdown with Carnacon or St Macartan’s.
Fitzgerald collected 2-3 as Mourneabbey, who were beaten finalists in 2014 and 2015, made it through to a third All-Ireland decider in four years.
At Bray Emmets GAA club, last year’s runners-up Foxrock-Cabinteely found themselves on the wrong end of a heart-breaking loss – despite strong performances from Dublin All-Ireland winner Sinéad Goldrick and Westmeath native Fiona Claffey.
A late, late free from Fox-Cab’s leading scorer Amy Ring took the game into extra-time, with the sides level at 3-4 to 0-13, but Shane Ronayne’s Mourneabbey got the job done in the extra 20 minutes.
Ronayne, who guided Tipperary to TG4 All-Ireland intermediate glory this year, now has the chance to seal national silverware at club level.
He had Fitzgerald to thank for a high-scoring display, while the All-Star nominated O’Sullivan sisters, Ciara and Doireann, scored 1-1 each.
Comhghairdeas @MourneabbeyLFC on reaching the All Ireland club championships FINAL, with a 4-05 to 0-15 win over FoxCab after extra time! Roll on the Big Day Out in December... ?? pic.twitter.com/lfOAeJzlnZ— FAIR GAME Podcast (@FairGameCast) November 18, 2017
Both sides left everything on the pitch on a bitterly cold afternoon and ultimately, it was Mourneabbey’s ability to score goals that proved decisive.
Dublin and Leinster champions Fox-Cab will reflect, however, that three of the four Mourneabbey goals were avoidable concessions.
There wasn’t much they could do about Ciara O’Sullivan’s scorching effort in the 13thminute, before Doireann O’Sullivan netted on the stroke of half-time.
Fox-Cab goalkeeper Laurie Ahern kept out O’Sullivan’s first effort but the ball was then presented the ball to the full-forward, who finished from close range.
Fox-Cab, who scored seven first half points and played some good football, could scarcely believe that they were behind by a point at the break, 0-7 to 2-2.
A Claffey point levelled matters early in the second half and the Westmeath player argued that she should have had a penalty soon after, with pressure applied as she dragged a shot wide.
Referee Stephen McNulty did award a penalty in the 33rd minute – but to Mourneabbey – and Fitzgerald made no mistake for her side’s third goal.
That score left Mourneabbey three points clear – 3-2 to 0-8 – before Goldrick and Amy Ring responded with Fox-Cab points.
Fitzgerald hit back with a point for Mourneabbey but two Ring frees had Fox-Cab level at 0-12 to 3-3.
Fitzgerald edged Mourneabbey back in front with a free but with Fox-Cab chasing late on, Ring ensured parity at the end of the regulation hour.
Mourneabbey showed their experience in the first half of extra-time, as Fitzgerald’s second goal, from another defensive error, helped them to lead by 4-5 to 0-14 at the turnaround.
The second period of extra-time yielded just a single point – Fox-Cab sub Jodi Egan on target – as Mourneabbey held out.
Scorers for Mourneabbey: L Fitzgerald 2-3 (1-0 pen, 0-1f), C O’Sullivan & D O’Sullivan (0-1f) 1-1 each.
Scorers for Foxrock-Cabinteely: A Ring 0-6 (5f), F Claffey 0-4, S Goldrick & C O’Riordan 0-2 each, J Egan 0-1.
Mourneabbey: M O’Sullivan; E Coakley, C.A. Stack, K Coakley; R O’Sullivan, E Meaney, A O’Sullivan; N O’Sullivan, M O’Callaghan; C O’Sullivan, B O’Sullivan, E Jack; L Fitzgerald, D O’Sullivan, E Harrington.
Subs: A Buckley for N O’Sullivan (41), N O’Sullivan for K Coakley (58), C O’Callaghan for E Coakley (59), K Coakley for B O’Sullivan (66), C O’Callaghan for Fitzgerald (70), B O’Sullivan for M O’Callaghan (79).
Foxrock-Cabinteely: L Ahern; S Quinn, C Ní Mhurchadh, E McDonagh; S Brophy, N Collins, S Goldrick; L Nerney, T O’Sullivan; R McGovern, F Claffey, C O’Riordan; H O’Neill, A Ring, C Murphy.
Subs: C Crotty for Nerney (49), A Murray for Murphy (h.t.), J Egan for O’Riordan (55), A.M. Murphy for Crotty (70), L Nerney for McDonagh (79).
Referee: S McNulty (Wicklow)