|Rebelettes bag another title for Cork - Monday, September 19, 2005
All-Ireland Senior Camogie final
As she stepped up to take the O'Duffy Cup and complete a fantastic Cork hurling double within one week, ecstatic captain Elaine Burke summed up the buoyant feeling in 'de real capital' these days by proudly announcing: "Rebels abu aris!"
Just eight days after their men's success, Cork's heroic senior women demolished Tipperary's second three-in-a-row bid with a fantastic second-half performance in yesterday's Foras na Gaeilge All-Ireland camogie final at Croke Park.
Whether it spells the end for many of Tipp's older stalwarts only time will tell.
Their manager Paddy McCormack paid them the ultimate tribute, saying : "They were great players coming in here today and are great players going out. The whole of Tipperary is proud of them and they'll be back."
This fourth final meeting in-a-row between great rivals was a truly epic battle, embellished with some fascinating duels and skill.
Like their male counterparts this summer, the Cork mentors made a couple of vital switches that turned this thriller their way.
Toppling Tipp to win their second title in four years was always going to need some tactical master-plan and Cork manager John Cronin produced it by bringing prodigious teenager Briege Corkery (18) and Gemma O'Connor to midfield in the second half to wrestle back the dominance that Philly Fogarty's first-half brilliance had established.
The players also credited Fiona O'Driscoll, the hat-trick hero of their 2002 victory and this year's trainer, for giving them the peak fitness needed in the crucial final quarter when players like Emer Dillon, O'Connor and dual stars Corkery and Mary O'Connor dug so deep and sparkled.
Drastic action was needed after Tipp's lucky goal three minutes before half-time.
Claire Grogan's speculative lob bounced in front of All Star goalkeeper Aoife Murray who took her eye off it momentarily to allow it through her legs, a huge set-back after Cork had battled back from a four-point deficit to trail by just a point.
After a tense opening 25 minutes in which Joanne Ryan hand-passed a great goal-chance into the side-netting, this quickly created a gap through which Tipp raced ominously.
Jill Horan tagged on a quick point, as did Noelle Kennedy and Eimear O'Donnell and they went in five points up (1-10 to 0-8).
But Cork took heart from the fact that the margin flattered Tipp and that Deirdre Hughes still hadn't a championship score this summer thanks to Rosarie Holland.
Gemma O'Connor was immense in the second half, scoring two of her three points and 'cutting' numerous line-balls while also pulling all the attacking strings as the game turned into a tactical dogfight which the Rebels gradually won.
Within 20 minutes Cork had the margin back to a single point again and crucially their defence, led by Mary O'Connor and Anna Geary, did not yield a single second-half score until a 51st-minute free by Claire Grogan.
And then, crucially, Cork got a goal from an equally big defensive blooper when Amanda O'Regan dropped a long free into the goalmouth and Tipp full-back Una O'Dwyer fumbled the catch past her own keeper Jovita Delaney.
Points from Hughes and Grogan actually put Tipp back into the lead with five minutes remaining but Cork's confidence soared and they raced to a memorable victory by reeling off an unanswered point per minute, including a barnstorming, inspirational score from Corkery.
SCORERS - Cork: E Dillon 0-4, J O'Leary 0-4 (2f), A O'Regan 1-0 (1f), G O'Connor 0-3, B Corkery, U O'Donoghue, R Moloney, S Dunlea, E Burke and A Walsh 0-1 each. Tipperary: C Grogan 1-5 (3f, 1 '45), J Horan and E McDonnell 0-2 each, P Fogarty, J Ryan, N Kennedy and D Hughes 0-1 each.
CORK - A Murray; R Buckley, R Holland, A O'Regan; B Corkery, M O'Connor, A Geary; V Harris, R Moloney; U O'Donoghue, G O'Connor, J O'Leary; E Dillon, S Dunlea, E Burke (Capt). Subs: J O'Callaghan for Harris (half-time), S Donovan for Burke (51), A Walsh for O'Donoghue (55).
TIPPERARY - J Delaney; S Kelly, U O'Dywer, J Kirwan; S Nealon, C Gaynor, T Brophy; P Fogarty, A McDermott; J Ryan, N Kennedy, C Grogan; E McDonnell, D Hughes (Capt), J Horan. Sub: E Hayden for Kennedy (37), M Shortt for Gaynor (inj, 55).
REF - J Pender (Kildare).