WILLIAM O’SULLIVAN’s Kerry edged past Mayo in a gripping TG4 All-Ireland ladies senior football championship quarter final this afternoon.
The Kingdom, beaten finalists last year, needed three late points to earn a come-from-behind victory against a Mayo side inspired by Cora Staunton.
The ace forward scored 1-9 for Mayo, a tally matched by Kerry’s Louise Ní Mhuircheartaigh, in a memorable tie at St Brendan’s Park, Birr.
With less than ten minutes remaining, 2-1 pre match outsiders Mayo were on course for victory as they led by 2-13 to 2-11.
But late scores from player of the match Ní Mhuircheartaigh, impressive sub Margaret Fitzgerald and Louise Galvin snatched a sensational win for the Munster champions.
But Mayo will look back on this tie with some regret as they spurned a host of goal chances.
Staunton netted a wonderful goal just before half-time but she also rattled the crossbar in the opening half.
Earlier, Aileen Gilroy forced a brilliant save from Kerry goalkeeper Edel Murphy, who also denied Lisa Cafferky late on.
Deirdre Doherty, who netted for Mayo in the second half, had other chances to raise green flags but she blazed over in the 13th minute with a goal for the taking.
Doherty fired wide with 12 minutes remaining but she made amends two minutes later with a strike that put Mayo a point up, 2-12 to 2-11.
It was a lead they would extend to two points but Kerry, who were without a competitive game for six weeks, dug deep to make it through to the last four.
O’Muircheartaigh was Kerry’s class act and her 24th minute goal was brilliantly taken.
At half-time, Mayo led by 1-9 to 1-8 but this was a game that swung one way and then another, with the sides level on six occasions.
Patrice Dennehy and Ní Mhuircheartaigh had other goal chances for Kerry in an open game.
Staunton had a battle royale with Kerry full-back Aislinn Desmond but the introduction of Fitzgerald from the bench was a crucial switch by O’Sullivan.
Fitzgerald kicked the equalising point three minutes from time and Scartaglin player also did brilliantly to keep in Bernie Breen’s long range effort before transferring a wonderful pass for Galvin’s 43rd minute goal.
Scorers for Mayo: C Staunton 1-9 (0-5f), D Doherty 1-1, C Egan, A Gilroy & S Rowe 0-1 each.
Scorers for Kerry: L Ní Mhuircheartaigh 1-9 (0-6f), L Galvin 1-1, S Houlihan 0-2, P Dennehy & M Fitzgerald 0-1 each.
KERRY: E Murphy; C Lynch, A Desmond, A Lyons; B Lane, C Kelly, D Hallissey; E Sherwood, B Breen; S Houlihan, D Corridan, S Joy; P Dennehy, L Galvin, L Ní Mhuircheartaigh.
Subs: A Brosnan for Hallissey (20), M Fitzgerald for Joy (40), M O’Connell for Dennehy (50).
MAYO: Y Byrne; A Bell, N Tierney, S Tierney; C Connelly, M Carter, C Sullivan; C Egan, C McManamon; A Gilroy, C Staunton, F McHale; S Rowe, D Doherty, L Cafferky.
Sub: N Kelly for Cafferky (56).
Referee: K Delahunty (Tipperary)
Cork’s Doireann O’Sullivan is tackled by Siobhan McGrath and Sinead Goldrick of Dublin
Image: INPHO/Cathal Noonan
Eamonn Ryan’s Cork produced a remarkable comeback against Dublin on Saturday afternoon to book their place in the semi-finals of the TG4 All-Ireland ladies senior football championship.
Dublin looked on course for a landmark victory over Cork in the second half as they led by 2-12 to 0-9.
But after Sinead Aherne popped over a point to put the Sky Blues nine points in front, they would not score again for the remainder of the game.
Instead, All-Ireland champions Cork ran riot with a run of 1-10 without reply in the final twenty minutes to clinch a sensational four-point win.
This was another bitter defeat for Dublin at the hands of Cork, and reminiscent of the 2011 quarter-final meeting between the sides at the same venue, St Brendan’s Park in Birr.
Two years ago, Cork came with a run of seven unanswered points to edge past their big city rivals but this latest comeback was even more noteworthy because the Leesiders looked dead and buried in the second half.
Dublin were rampant against a Cork side that had lost twice to Kerry in the Munster championship, before stuttering past Armagh in the qualifiers.
But Dublin, who had not played a competitive game since the Leinster final six weeks previously, ran out of steam as Cork came on strong.
Powered forward by player of the match Juliet Murphy, the beaten Munster finalists grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck.
Points from top scorer Valerie Mulcahy, hard-working forward Nollaig Cleary and Murphy got the ball rolling for Cork before sub Rhona Ní Bhuachalla banged home a 44th minute goal to put the cat among the pigeons.
Two further points from Mulcahy (one free) and Nollaig Cleary hauled Cork level at 1-15 to 2-12 and all of the momentum was with them at the Offaly venue.
Cork, winners of seven of the last eight All-Ireland titles, sensed Dublin’s vulnerability and kicked for home with further points from Mulcahy, magnificent wing-back Geraldine O’Flynn, Mulcahy again and Ciara O’Sullivan.
And Dublin were left to reflect on another heartbreaking reverse against Cork.
It had all looked so good for Paul Gilheaney’s charges as the 15-8 pre-match underdogs led by 1-8 to 0-7 at half-time.
Lindsey Davey scored the tenth minute goal and when opposite corner forward Lindsey Peat netted five minutes after half-time, it all looked so good for Dublin.
But Cork are not champions for nothing and surely this victory ranks up there with some of the finest performances produced during Ryan’s glory-filled reign.
Scorers for Cork: V Mulcahy 0-8 (5f), R Ní Bhuachalla 1-0, D O’Sullivan 0-3, N Cleary 0-3, G O’Flynn 0-2 (1f), C O’Sullivan 0-2, J Murphy 0-1.
Scorers for Dublin: S Aherne 0-7 (5f), L Davey & L Peat 1-0 each, N Healy 0-2, A McGuinness, N McEvoy & S Goldrick 0-1 each.
CORK: M O’Brien; A.M. Walsh, B Stack, D O’Reilly; B Corkery, R Buckley, G O’Flynn; J Murphy, Angela Walsh; N Cleary, C O’Sullivan, Annie Walsh; V Mulcahy, D O’Sullivan, O Finn.
Subs: R Ní Bhuachalla for Finn (h.t.), O Farmer for Annie Walsh (h.t.), A Barrett for A.M. Walsh (53).
DUBLIN: C O’Connor; C Ruddy, S McGrath, L Caffrey; M Byrne, S Goldrick, S Finnegan; D Masterson, N McEvoy; K Flood, A McGuinness, N Healy; L Peat, S Aherne, L Davey.
Subs: N Hyland for Flood (44), O Egan for Masterson (48), E Kelly for Peat (54), D Murphy for McEvoy (54), C Ruddy for Healy (57).
Referee: J Niland (Sligo).