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30th Jul 2023

Dublin don’t let square ball confusion overshadow dazzling display against Cork


By Anthony Newman

Dublin 2-19 Cork 0-13 

Dublin are back in the TG4 All-Ireland senior ladies football championship final for the first time since 2021 after their win over Cork at FBD Semple Stadium in Thurles. 

A goal by Hannah Tyrrell in the 22nd minute, which the officials took a lengthy look at before it was awarded, was a crucial score as it put her side into a commanding lead and they never looked back from here. 

Key to their win was the pressure they put on Cork kick-outs, giving the Rebels no room to clear their lines. 

Niamh Donlon opened the scoring for Dublin three minutes in with Doireann O’Sullivan equalising from a free with Cork’s next attack. 

Jennifer Dunne put Dublin back in front before they had goalkeeper Abby Shiels to thank as she brilliantly saved from Maire O’Callaghan. But the referee was playing advantage and O’Sullivan added her second from the placed ball. 

Dunne and Orlagh Nolan added points for Dublin as they led 0-4 to 0-2 after eight minutes. 

Carla Rowe and O’Sullivan exchanged points, before Dunne and Hannah Tyrrell, from a free, put Dublin 0-7 to 0-3 up after 17 minutes. 

Doireann O’Sullivan got her fourth, all from frees, to put three between the sides, with Tyrrell replying to increase Dublin’s lead again. 

They were now on top and further points from Tyrrell and Jodi Egan increased their lead. 

A mistake from the Cork defence let Tyrrell in on goal and she passed to Dunne, who then returned it for the former to goal. 

The referee consulted with the umpires and, after a long consultation, awarded the goal. It remains unclear as to whether this was the right decision, with the ladies football rule-book regarding this subject raising more questions than answers, as you will see below.

It put Dublin in a commanding lead 1-9 to 0-4 and with just 22 minutes gone they had one foot in the final. In truth, the decision was not critical to the outcome of the game. Their midfielder Jennifer Dunne had a perfectly legitimate goal ruled out for a square ball later on in the game.

A minute later Katie Quirke got Cork’s first point from play as they tried to get back into contention. 

Two late points from Cork reduced the deficit as Dublin deservedly led by 1-10 to 0-7 at half time. 

Cork started the second half brightly with Hannah Looney and Daire Kiely going close before Aoife Healy pointed. But Dublin worked the ball down the pitch with Ellen Gribben scoring to keep their six point lead. 

Credit to Cork they kept going and Shiels made another superb save, this time denying Orlaith Cahalane a green flag. 

Down the other end Cork the woodwork to thank with Rowe’s effort coming back off the crossbar, before Nolan and Gribben added points for Dublin.

It was game over after 45 minutes when Niamh Hetherton and Tyrrell combined to set up Rowe for Dublin’s second goal to make it 2-15 to 0-10. 

They could well have had a third, as mentioned above, only for it to be wrongly ruled out.

With 11 minutes to go Eilish O’Dowd was sin binned for Dublin but despite the best efforts of Cork they held out for the win to face Kerry in the decider on August 13. 

Scorers – Dublin: H Tyrrell 1-2 (1f), C Rowe 1-2 each, J Dunne 0-4, O Nolan 0-3, L Magee, O Gribben 0-2 each, K Sullivan, J Egan, S Aherne, N Donlon 0-1 each. 

Cork: D O’Sullivan 0-8 (8f), C O’Sullivan, K Quirke, A Healy, D Kiely, O Cahalane 0-1 each. 

DUBLIN: A Shiels; N Crowley, L Caffrey, A Kane; L Magee, M Byrne, N Donlon; J Dunne, E O’Dowd; C O’Connor, O Nolan, K Sullivan; H Tyrrell, C Rowe, J Egan.   

Subs: E Gribben for J Egan (ht), N Hetherton for N Donlon (38), S Aherne for K Sullivan (55), S Wylde for H Tyrrell (56), C Darby for C O’Connor (58). 

CORK: M O’Sullivan; M Duggan, E Meaney, R Phelan; A Ryan, S Kelly, A Healy; M O’Callaghan, H Looney; D Kiely, C O’Sullivan, K Quirke; L Coppinger, D O’Sullivan, E Cleary.   

Subs: L O’Mahony for S Kelly, O Cahalane for E Cleary (both ht), L Fitzgerald for O Cahalane (inj), D Kiniry for A Ryan (both 48), A Ring for D O’Sullivan (55). 

Referee: Jonathan Murphy, Carlow.   

Watch the full All-Ireland preview show with Rian O’Neill here.

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