By Cóilín Duffy
Cork and Dublin confirmed their places in the Division 1 semi-finals of the Lidl Ladies Football League this afternoon.
Mayo are in third spot following the weekend’s action, but still face a must win game next weekend, with Donegal and Galway also battling for places.
A brace of second half goals pushed Cork into the last-four, with a 3-12 to 1-11 win over Galway in Clonberne.
The Tribeswomen had been boosted with a victory over Dublin in Abbotstown last weekend, but failed to secure back-to-back wins, as Cork staged a strong second half display.
Goals from Marie O’Callaghan and Ciara O’Sullivan proved key to this Rebelettes win, in a game which was tight in the opening half.
Orla Finn netted the opening goal of the contest after just eight minutes, but by the interval the gap was just at two points, with Leanne Coen firing to the net for Galway in injury-time, as Cork led by 1-6 to 1-4 at the break.
Doireann O’Sullivan and Orlagh Farmer were involved in the lead up to O’Callaghan’s goal, as Cork moved six points clear after 41 minutes on a 2-9 to 1-6 score-line.
Ailbhe Davoren and the Leonard cousins Tracey and Roisin worked hard to keep Galway in touch and cut the gap to three points in the 50th minute.
However, Cork got on top again with Eimear Scally pumping the ball in, and Ciara O’Sullivan on handed to finish to the net, on the way to a seven-point win.
Dublin got back to winning ways with a 5-14 to 0-11 victory over Monaghan at St. Tiernach’s Park, Clones.
In cold, and sometimes wet conditions Mick Bohan’s side were well matched by the hosts early on, but a ninth minute Lyndsey Davey goal put Dublin into the driving seat and from their until the finish they lead this match.
Niamh McEvoy opened the scoring inside the first minute, before a quick response from Ciara McAnespie.
Indeed the teams traded points again, with Cora Courtney handing Monaghan the lead, before a Noelle Healy response.
Both sides were showing well defensively, and it was an Ellen McCarron free which saw Monaghan regain the lead.
Dublin put Monaghan under tremendous pressure for the remainder of the half, and although the Ulster side coped well, they found it hard at times to cope with the onslaught.
Davey cut in for a well taken goal, and although McCarron responded with a point, it was suddenly all about Dublin.
The Metropolitans fired 1-7 unanswered before the break, to take a 2-9 to 0-4 interval lead.
Healy, Nicole Owens, Sinead Aherne and Hannah O’Neill all added points, before Niamh McEvoy netted her sides second goal in the 27th minute.
11 points in arrears at the break, it was certainly tough for the Farney County to make a comeback.
Monaghan were keen to make a positive start to the second half, and got off the blocks inside two minutes of the restart, with a Cora Courtney point, followed up a minute later with her sister Rosemary on target.
But Dublin again got motoring – firstly captain Aherne claiming a point, and then a quick goal brace.
Firsly Owens on target, after good work also by Hannah O’Neill and then 30 seconds later Aherne finding the net to open up a 4-10 to 0-6 lead.
This was stretched to 17 points soon after following yet another Aherne score, before Monaghan hit back with two from McAnespie.
Healy and Barbara Ward swapped points, before second half substitute Rebecca McDonnell claimed Dublin’s fifth goal, to ensure a 5-12 to 0-10 lead with nine minutes remaining.
Monaghan were reduced to 14 players at this stage following a sin-binning for Muireann Atkinson, and this made an already tough game hard for them as Dublin finished strongly.
On Saturday, Mayo kept their hopes of a semi-final place alive with a 5-14 to 4-12 win over Donegal in a high-scoring clash at the Amenity Park in Swinford.
Boosted by being given the league points for their game against Kerry midweek, after the Kingdom fielded an unregistered player in the drawn encounter, Peter Leahy’s charges carved out an impressive five-point win.
The teams swapped early score, but Mayo dug in and following a Fiona McHale goal they led by five points after eight minutes.
The returning Geraldine McLaughlin kept the visitors in touch, and in the 15th minute registered their first goal.
Fiona Doherty pushed Mayo further ahead, but 1-2 unanswered from Donegal including a Ciara Grant goal brought the sides level for the fourth time.
The sides traded points in injury-time, with Mayo dealt a blow losing their goalkeeper Elaine Murphy to an injury.
Mayo took the lead on the restart through Grace Kelly, but 1-1 inside three minutes including a Niamh Hegarty goal put them back on top.
The sides were level for the sixth time as the final quarter approached, but Mayo dug in.
Fiona Doherty, Sinead Cafferky, Shauna Howley and Sarah Rowe helped Mayo claim four of the next five points,
Donegal lost Niamh Hegarty to a sin-bin late on, as Mayo held out for victory.
In the bottom of the table clash in Tralee, Westmeath kept their hopes of potentially staying in the top flight alive with a 1-12 to 1-6 win over Kerry.
The result means Kerry are Division 2 bound for next year.
NFL Division 1 | Division 1
Cork 6 5 1 0 121 74 47 15
Dublin 6 5 1 0 107 78 29 15
Mayo 6 3 2 1 91 82 9 12
Donegal 6 3 2 1 130 80 50 10
Galway 6 3 2 1 98 90 8 10
Monaghan 6 2 4 0 69 111 -42 6
Westmeath 6 1 5 0 61 112 -51 3
Kerry 6 0 5 1 61 111 -50 0