The wait is finally over. After three heart-breaking All-Ireland final defeats in four seasons, Cork’s Mourneabbey Ladies Football Club overcame their demons to be crowned 2018 All-Ireland Ladies Senior Club Football champions.
Mourneabbey, who have won Cork and Munster champions for the fifth consecutive season, emphatically defeated Dublin and Leinster champions, Foxrock-Cabinteely in wet and windy conditions at Parnell Park, 1-13 to 1-7.
Both outfits were stacked with immense talent in their ranks. Mourneabbey boasted four All-Star nominees – Maire O’Callaghan, Eimear Meaney, Ciara O’Sullivan and Doireann O’Sullivan. The latter two were crowned TG4 All Stars, with Ciara collecting her fourth All-Star and her 23-year-old sister Doireann scooping her first.
Foxrock-Cabinteely on the other hand, lined out with Dublin All-Ireland winners Sinead Goldrick, Niamh Collins, Amy Connolly, Hannah O’Neill, Emma McDonagh and Tarah O’Sullivan. Sinead Goldrick received her sixth TG4 All Star at the awards.
Mourneabbey made a flying start with Doireann O’Sullivan (0-06) continuing her jaw-dropping form. The dynamic county star fired two quick points on the board for the Cork before Foxrock-Cabinteely corner-back Emma McDonagh was sent to the sin-bin with five minutes on the clock.
The Munster champions pressed home their numerical advantage as Laura Fitzgerald (two), Doireann O’Sullivan and the energetic Ellie Jack (two) scored a flutter of points to give them a resounding 0-08 to 0-01 lead.
The Dublin side settled and regained composure upon the return of McDonagh from the sin-bin. Inside forwards Hannah O’Neill and Amy Ring scored for Fox-Cab to reduce the deficit, only for Mourneabbey to respond with another avalanche of scores.
Doireann O’Sullivan was in unstoppable form as she raised the white flags either side of her sister Ciara O’Sullivan’s first point of the day. O’Sullivan then set up Laura Fitzgerald who palmed home past the Fox-Cab goalkeeper to give the Cork side a monumental lead.
Fox-Cab’s Fiona Claffey quickly retaliated within a minute, with a goal of her own however Ciara O’Sullivan subsequently added another point for Mourneabbey, to give them a commanding 1-12 to 1-03 lead at the interval.
After the half-time break, the Leinster champions showed great character and spirit as they battled back to bring the scores within three points. Dublin star Sinead Goldrick and captain Amy Ring were at the heart of the Fox-Cab comeback however, it wasn’t to be enough to deny Mourneabbey their first ever Dolores Tyrrell Memorial Cup.
Speaking to Ladies Football TV, an emotional Doireann O’Sullivan spoke of what victory meant to Mourenabbey.
“It’s super emotional, it means the world to us. You see it here today, there’s no-one left in the parish. I’ve a dog at home and I couldn’t get a babysitter for him! Every single person is up here.
“We’re crying on different terms today.”
Video: ‘This kind of makes up for the misery’ – see snap reaction at the final whistle from Mourneabbey players and from the father of the O’Sullivan girls.. @LadiesFootball @MourneabbeyLFC pic.twitter.com/GATmAw9ZAB
— Jerome Quinn (@JeromeQuinn) December 8, 2018
With victory in the final, Mourneabbey have shown incredible determination and a never say die attitude to overcome their previous final disappointment. Belief has never waned and the Cork outfit have banished all their demons with victory on Saturday.
As for Foxrock-Cabinteely, their time will come. Having first been established in 2005, the club have grown and developed into a formidable force. Having lost two All-Ireland senior finals now, management will look to take inspiration from their opponents on Saturday and come back stronger.