Kilkenny prove too strong for Cork
Kilkenny retained their Divis io n One title wi t h an all-round team performance that augurs well for the championship.
Just as in the All-Ireland final last September, Cork were unable to work Kilkenny out. The previ ousl y high-scoring Cork attack was stifled while Kilkenny created the space that delivered two goals of their own.
The players in black and amber carried out the plan to a tee, especially in the first half. Cork improved in the second half, they began to match Kilkenny’s intensity but they failed to trouble goalkeeper Emma Kavanagh.
Even in the first half, when they were a clear second best, they spurned some good chances and dropped too many balls short but they could have few complaints.
Kilkenny often played with just one player inside their opposition 45 and the set-up got them a goal by the third minute, when Denise Gaule advanced on a delivery by Miriam Walsh and hand-passed over the advancing Aoife Murray.
Gemma O’Connor responded with a point for Cork but Kilkenny had three of the next four points including a brace from Katie Power.O’Connor’s score was Cork’s only one from play in that opening period and Katrina Mackey converted three frees but Aisling Dunphy, Julie Ann Malone and Gaule all managed points from play and Kilkenny were full value for their 1-6 to 0-4 lead at half-time.
The Leesiders were better after the restart and looked much safer defensively. Meanwhile, Orla Cotter was having a real impact, scoring three points including two from play.
But the key moment arrived in the 41st minute. Owen Elliott awarded a free to Kilkenny but Cork believed the decision had gone their way. Gemma O’Connor trotted out to stand over the sliotar but once the official confirmed his call, the alert Gaule took a quick free to Danielle Morrissey that caught the opposition napping. O’Connor got back to gather possession but was dispossessed and Walsh powered past the challenges of Rena Buckley and Murray before hand-passing to the net.
That ensured Kilkenny had vital breathing space and late points from Libby Coppinger and Hannah Looney, the latter a fizzing shot that just cleared the crossbar, came too late. EKavanagh; MTeehan, C Foley,G Walsh; ANolan, ADalton, C Phelan; MFarrell; JReddy;
HE Keane forDunphy, JClifford for Morrissey (both 59 mins) AMurray; L Treacy,P Mackey,R Buckley; E O’Sullivan, AThompson, C Sigerson; JBarry; A O’Connor, OCronin, JWhite; NMcCarthy, L Collins. forPMackey (21 mins), for Collins (33 mins), for White (50mins), L O’Sullivan for Barry (55 mins). OElliott (Antrim)