Kilkenny prove too strong for Cork

The Irish Times - Monday - Sport - - Gaelic Games -

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.

Real im­pact

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)

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