By Paul O'Neill  

Cork 2-13 Dublin 2-12

Eamonn Ryan's Cork battled back from the brink to defeat Dublin and retain the TG4 All-Ireland Ladies SFC crown, winning the final on a 2-13 to 2-12 scoreline.

Cork's grip on the Brendan Martin Cup seemed to be gone as they trailed by 10 points with 15 minutes remaining at Croke Park. 

But a stirring fightback, which included goals from substitutes Rhona Ní Bhuachalla and Eimear Scally, saw Cork finish on top.

Cork's Valerie Mulcahy broke the deadlock with a point from play on two minutes but the Dubs’ first score did not arrive until the ninth minute as Lyndsey Davey equalised after a sweeping move.

Gradually Dublin started to take a firm grip with Sinéad Aherne landing a point from a free-kick to hand them the lead and she quickly added one from play.

But Dublin were given a significant boost after 13 minutes as Lindsay Peat struck for a goal.

Cork were caught out as Angela Walsh failed to bring the ball under control and Peat seized possession before running on and slipping the ball past goalkeeper Martina O'Brien.

At the other end, Geraldine O'Flynn surged forward from the back to ease the pressure with a point, which was Cork's first score in 18 minutes.

Orla Finn had the final say of the opening half with a Cork point but they still went in at the interval down by 1-07 to 0-04 and ended the half having racked up 10 wides.

Mulcahy's point from a free was the first score after the restart but the Rebel County were rocked on 34 minutes as Peat plundered her second goal.

Set up by Rowe, Peat made no mistake with a cracking finish.

However, Cork soon began to lift their game and they gave Dublin a warning when Mulcahy's shot was deflected out for a 45-metre free by Leah Caffrey and goalkeeper Clíodhna O'Connor.

Noelle Healy's point left 10 between the sides but Cork were not about to give in and they got their first goal in the 45th minute.

Mulcahy set up Ní Bhuachalla, who fired in just three minutes after being introduced.

Dublin were still well in front but Cork continued to chip away at their advantage.

And goal number two for Cork, who were chasing a ninth All-Ireland in 10 years, came six minutes from the end as Dublin's challenge crumbled some more.

This time Scally collected a pass from Ciara O'Sullivan and slipped the ball past O'Connor.

Scally's goal meant the sides were tied on 2-11 each but the next score was from a shell-shocked Dublin team thanks to Siobhán Woods as they regained the lead.

But Cork were back on level terms again with an O'Sullivan point, while Player of the Year O'Flynn had the final say with a winning point two minutes from the end of a gripping encounter. 

Cork: M O’Brien; R Phelan, Angela Walsh, B Stack; V Foley, D O’Reilly, G O’Flynn (0-03); R Buckley, B Corkery; Annie Walsh, C O’Sullivan (0-01), O Farmer; V Mulcahy (0-06, 2f), G Kearney, O Finn (0-02).

Subs: N Cleary for Annie Walsh (half-time), R Ní Bhuachalla (2-01) for Kearney (42), D O'Sullivan for Farmer (45), E Scally (1-00) for Finn (50) 

Dublin: C O’Connor; R Ruddy, S Furlong, L Caffrey; S Finnegan, S Goldrick (0-01), S McGrath; D Masterson, M Lamb; N Healy (0-02), N Hyland, C Rowe (0-02); L Davey (0-03), S Aherne (0-03, 1f), L Peat (2-00).

Subs: S Woods (0-01) for Hyland (45), S McCaffrey for Lamb (53), L Collins for Furlong (54), N McEvoy for Healy (57)

Referee: M Farrelly (Cavan)

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