Áine O’Sullivan’s brace sees champions Cork past Tipperary

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Reigning champions Cork proved too strong for Tipperary in their Lidl National Football League Division 1 clash at Ardfinnan with goals in each half from Áine O’Sullivan the difference between the sides.

Áine O’Sullivan of Cork in action against Lucy Spillane of Tipperary at Ardfinnan. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Ephie Fitzgerald’s side continued their perfect start to the campaign with an impressive performance and a comfortable win over their neighbours.

Caitlin Kennedy’s goal had kept Tipperary in touch after a bright start from Cork, but O’Sullivan’s strike before the interval settled the defending champions.

Despite playing into a strong breeze in the first-half, it was Tipperary’s Roisin Daly who opened the scoring with a well-worked point. However, the breeze saw play based largely in the Tipp half for the next ten minutes and Cork made the most of their territorial advantage.

In this ten-minute period, Cork tagged on five unanswered points, three of which came from the boot of free-taker Orla Finn, while Laura O’Mahoney and Niamh Cotter also found the target.

Tipperary answered back in the 12th minute when midfielder Kennedy struck a superb goal into the top corner to close the gap to a point. However, it was Cork who dominated possession to round off the half, with points from Saoirse Noonan and Finn, before O’Sullivan fired their key goal five minutes from the break.

Cork took a 1-8 to 1-2 lead in at half-time as Aishling Moloney tried to keep Tipp in touch, and last year’s Intermediate Player of the Year kicked another score at the start of the second half which closed the gap to five.

Moloney played a traditional full-forward role in the second half and she continued to impress with wonderfully struck points off the right boot to put just two points between the sides.

Protecting their lead against the breeze, Cork found it difficult to gain possession in the Tipperary half and it wasn’t until ten minutes from time that the champions got their first point of the half from the ever-accurate Finn.

A five-minute flurry saw Cork add a further two points from substitute Saidbh O’Leary and O’Sullivan, before the latter put the tie out of Tipperary’s reach with her second goal four minutes from time.

Scorers – Cork: A O’Sullivan 2-1, O Finn 0-5 (3f), N Cotter 0-1, L O’Mahoney 0-1, S Noonan 0-1, M O Callaghan 0-1, S O’Leary 0-1.

Tipperary: A Moloney 0-5 (2f), C Kennedy 1-0, R Daly 0-1.

CORK: M O’Brien; M Ambrose, R Phelan; S Leahy; L O’Mahony, M Duggan, A Hutchings; M O’Callaghan, H Looney; L Coppinger, B O’Sullivan, L Cleary; Á O’Sullivan, S Noonan, O Finn.

Subs: S O Leary for Coppinger (h-t), O Farmer for B O’Sullivan (h-t), S Kelly for Cleary (h-t), A Kelleher for Leahy (46), E Mullins for Looney (50), K Quirke for Noonan (52).

TIPPERARY: L Fitzpatrick; E Moore, L Spillane, E Cronin; M Curley, B Condon, S Lambert; L Dillon, C Kennedy; O Winston, E Morrissey, R Daly; S McKevitt, A Moloney, N Hayes.

Subs: M Creedon for Dillon (46), K Davey for McKevitt (46), K Cunningham for Winston (50), M Heffernan for Daly (50), A Carey for Kennedy (55), E McCarthy for Moloney (55).

Ref – Niall McCormack (Laois).

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