Ulster girls crash to semi-final heartache
There was double disappointment for Ulster Ladies Football at the weekend when both Monaghan and Fermanagh lost their respective All-Ireland semi-final ties on a double bill at St Patrick’s Park, Birr.
Monaghan were outgunned 2-15 to 0-12 by rampant holders Cork in the senior semi, while a gallant Fermanagh outfit fell to a lively Waterford team by 2-10 to 0-14 in the intermediate series.
It was a devastating scoring blitz orchestrated by Valerie Mulcahy, Juliet Murphy and Briege Corkery that propelled Cork into a 1-9 to 0-6 half-time lead, their goal coming from Rhona Ní Bhuachalla.
Ciara McAnespie, Niamh Kindlon and Ciara McConnell tried hard to initiate a Monaghan recovery but their team’s fate was effectively sealed when Nollaig Cleary, a constant threat throughout, pounced for a late goal to set up a meeting with neighbours Kerry in the All-Ireland senior final on September 30.
Fermanagh’s hopes of appearing in the intermediate decider were crushed when Waterford finished strongly to win their semi-final by a two-point margin.
An early goal from a penalty by the outstanding player on view Michelle Ryan — she scored an impressive 1-6 in all — had boosted Waterford’s confidence and a second goal from Shona Curran helped to thrust them into a 2-4 to 0-8 interval lead.
Fermanagh, with Caroline Little and Noelle Connolly working hard, still managed to stay in touch but when substitute Danice Beattie was sin-binned just five minutes after her introduction, the Ernesiders’ rhythm was upset.
Waterford’s Gráinne Enright went the same way, allowing the Munster champions to book their place in the final against Armagh at the end of the month.