Mourneabbey (Cork) 1-16 Ballymacarbry (Waterford) 2-9
Cork's Mourneabbey made it five senior Munster Ladies Senior A football titles in a row after their hard-fought four-point win over Ballymacarbry in Cahir on Saturday.
Ballymacarbry, the Munster Senior B champions, gave the Cork stars a real run for their money but Mourneabbey prevailed to set up an All-Ireland semi-final against the Connacht champions, either Kilkerrin-Clonberne (Galway) or national champs Carnacon (Mayo).
The Munster A final, a repeat of last year's decider, was just two minutes old when a serious injury to Ballymacarbry corner-back Treasa McGrath saw the game delayed for 45 minutes, as she was taken away by ambulance.
Once the game re-started Brid O’Sullivan opened the scoring for Mourneabbey, with county star Doireann O’Sullivan, who collected 0-9 in total, adding their second with six minutes played. She was on target again from a free to increase their lead further.
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A free from the brilliant Sinead Ryan, scorer of 2-5, got Ballymacarbry off the mark and with 11 minutes gone the 10-time All-Ireland senior winners took the lead.
Linda Wall played the ball to Ryan and her looping shot found the back of the net to make it 1-1 to 0-3.
Ryan added a point from a free with Ciara O’Sullivan replying at the other end for Mourneabbey. Maire O’Callaghan had the sides level when she pointed and two from Doireann O’Sullivan had the Cork side back in front, 0-7 to 1-2, with 19 minutes gone.
Ballymacarbry, chasing a first Munster Senior A title since 2000, were unlucky not to get their second goal a minute later when Wall’s shot came back off the crossbar, but points from Abby Dalton and Aileen Wall had the sides level, 1-4 to 0-7, with two minutes to half-time.
Sinead Ryan put her side back in front but on the stroke of half-time Doireann O’Sullivan equalised to make it 0-8 to 1-5 at the break.
Ballymacarbry started the second-half brightly and went in front when Dalton pointed and Ryan added a second. It looked like it could be their day when a brilliant ball from Wall found Ryan and she got her second goal, to make it 2-7 to 0-8, with 33 minutes played.
Brid accepts the cup on behalf of the 5 time Munster Champions ⚽️🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🖤💛🖤💛 pic.twitter.com/5TzYlPyQVW— Mourneabbey LFC (@MourneabbeyLFC) October 27, 2018
But Mourneabbey never panicked, with two Doireann O’Sullivan frees reducing the deficit.
With 40 minutes gone they were back on level terms when a brilliant shot from Ciara O’Sullivan found the back of the net, to make it 1-10 to 2-7.
Ryan and Ciara O’Sullivan exchanged scores, with Dalton putting her side back in front with 49 minutes gone.
However, this proved to be their last score as the Cork side finished strongly, with Doireann hitting two frees to put them a point in front.
Her sister Ciara added two more as Ballymacarbry could find no answer at this stage and Laura Fitzgerald got the last score of the tie to put the icing on the cake for Mourneabbey, who will now go in search of that elusive All-Ireland title.
Scorers - Mourneabbey: D O’Sullivan 0-9 (6f), C O’Sullivan 1-4, B O’Sullivan, L Fitzgerald (1f), M O’Callaghan 0-1 each. Ballymacarbry: S Ryan 2-5 (3f), A Dalton 0-3, A Wall 0-1.
Mourneabbey: M O’Sullivan; E Meaney, C Stack, A O’Sullivan; S Conroy, R O’Sullivan, K Coakley; M O’Callaghan, B O’Sullivan; E Harrington, C O’Sullivan, N O’Sullivan; E Jack, L Fitzgerald, D O’Sullivan.
Subs: S O’Callaghan for A O’Sullivan, A Ryan for D O’Sullivan.
Ballymacarbry: L Fitzpatrick; T McGrath, M McGrath, M Ryan; M Wall, K McGrath, A Dalton; K Hogan, L Mulcahy; A Wall, E Cooney, Shauna Ryan; L Wall, Sinead Ryan, M Ryan.
Subs: B Hogan for T McGrath, B Valuntaite for S Ryan, S Ryan for E Cooney.
Referee: Niall McCormack (Laois).