Carnacon 9-10 Knockmore 0-4
By Ger Flanagan at Kilmeena GAA.
Cora Staunton hit 2-8 to help Carnacon win their 19th consecutive county title and 20th in total in comprehensive fashion after a 33-point drubbing of Knockmore.
The victory puts an end to almost three months of controversy for Carnacon after they were sensationally dumped out of the championship by the Mayo County Board last August after eight of their players withdrew from the Mayo panel.
After a lengthy appeal process they were eventually reinstated and today the reigning All-Ireland champions left no doubt over who were the worthy winners.
From the 15th minute onwards, Jimmy Corbett and Beatrice Casey’s side never looked like losing after a brace of goals from Erina Flannery and one from Amy Dowling signalled their intent from the off.
Even without the services of suspended duo Fiona McHale and Doireann Hughes, Carnacon were never in trouble.
Eleven-time All Star Staunton hit 1-2 in the second quarter to leave the scoreboard reading 4-2 to 0-2 at half-time, with Knockmore’s Shauna Howley and Amy O’Connor raising white flags for their side.
Knockmore’s chances were reduced even further when they lost influential midfielder Sarah Mulvihill just before half-time to an ankle injury.
The onslaught continued into the second half as Carnacon made full use of the strong wind now at their backs.
Fifteen year-old Louise Dowling combined with her sister, Amy, to finish into the net after only four minutes, before Staunton gathered the resulting kick-out and powered through the Knockmore defence to get her second goal of the game.
Knockmore’s response came from the boot of Amy O’Connor who chalked down a point, before Shauna Howley’s shot came back off the crossbar, but that was as good as it got for the north Mayo outfit.
Carnacon showed no remorse as Aoife Brennan, Sadhbh Larkin and Flannery - who completed her hat-trick - all found the back of the net before the full-time whistle.
Knockmore’s under pressure defence wasn’t helped by the sin-binning of Ciara Hanahoe in the 40th minute, as Carnacon reigned down shots on their posts.
Staunton (0-4, 2f), Brennan and full back Martha Carter all dissected the posts to further cement a comfortable afternoon for Carnacon who put all their recent troubles behind them in true champion fashion.
Next up for Carnacon is the chance to retain their Connacht title on the weekend of 3/4 November against either Kilkerrin/Clonberne of Galway or Kilbride of Roscommon.
Carnacon: M Higgins; S McGing, M Carter (0-1), S Larkin (1-0); E Cosgrove, M Corbett, S Walsh; M McGing, B Bruton; L Dowling (1-0), A Dowling (1-0), N Flannery; A Brennan (1-1), C Staunton (2-8, 3f), E Flannery (3-0).
Subs: A McHale for Cosgrove (51 mins); D Joyce for Walshe (53 mins).
Knockmore: G Reape; C Hanahoe, R Flynn, C Bourke; K McVann, E Lowther, R Langan; K Munnelly, S Mulvihill; M McNamara, S Howley (0-2); A Traynor; N McVann, A O’Connor (0-2), O Hanahoe.
Subs: A Flynn for Mulvihill (30 mins, inj); L Coleman for McNamara (40 mins); M O’Hara for Flynn (56 mins); S Langan for Bourke (56 mins).
Referee: M Kenny.