Limerick's hopes of adding the Munster Senior title to their trophy cabinet were dashed by an experienced Cork side who defeated them by 1-13 to 0-8 on Saturday last.
It was a great day for the Leesiders as they defeated Tipperary in the Intermediate Final and Kerry in the Junior semi-final in an entertaining triple-header in Charleville. Their Junior side will meet Ger Curtin's Limerick Juniors in the Final on a date to be confirmed.
Limerick came up against a strong Cork side packed with All-Ireland winners and not a few All-Stars. But Limerick showed they were not out of place at the higher grade having beaten Tipperary's Senior side on their way to the final. If they were guilty of anything it was that they showed Cork too much respect in the opening half playing into the wind.
Cork opened the scoring with a 45' from Orla Cotter who alternated placed ball duties with Jenny O'Leary. With the wind at Cork's backs Limerick struggled to get into the Cork half while the Cork forwards notably Jenny O'Leary Orla Cotter, Katriona Mackey and Breege Corkery were causing all sorts of problems.
Claire Mulcahy and captain Fiona Hickey though were excellent in defence and on 28 mins goalkeeper Síle Moynihan with characteristic bravery made the first of many excellent saves to keep Limerick in touch. By contrast Limerick struggled to find their range at the other end with full-forward Aoife Sheehan superbly marshalled by Cork's captain Anna Geary. Niamh Mulcahy got Limerick's only scores of the half through two frees to leave the score at half-time Cork 0-9 Limerick 0-2.
The second half saw minor stars Rebecca Delee and Deborah Murphy introduced into the attack and looked to have made an impact as a break by Mairéad Fitzgerald almost led to a goal in the opening minutes. Instead Cork broke quickly and Katriona Mackey cutting in from the left struck powerfully into the Limerick net.
Credit to Joe Quaid's charges who didn't let their heads drop and points from Caoimhe Costello and Niamh Mulcahy saw them make inroads into Cork's lead. Mairéad Fitzgerald also sent over an excellent point from the wing but Cork kept the scoreboard ticking over and had a couple of late goal chances only to be denied by Síle Moynihan in a player of the match performance.
Cork ran out convincing winners by 1-13 to 0-8 and Anna Geary accepted the trophy for the Leesiders but the biggest cheer was for the mud-caked Limerick goalie as she accepted the well-deserved player of the match award. Limerick will have learned from the experience of playing at this level as they prepare for the start of their All-Ireland Intermediate Championship campaign on June 21st against Kildare.
Full time score: LIMERICK 0-8(8) CORK 1-13(16)
LIMERICK SCORERS: Niamh Mulcahy 0-6 (4F), Mairéad Fitzgerald, Caoimhe Costelloe 0-1 each
CORK SCORERS: Katriona Mackey 1-2, Orla Cotter 0-4 (2F, 2'45), Jenny O'Leary 0-3 (3F), Denise Cronin 0-2, Gemma O'Connor 0-2
LIMERICK TEAM: 1. Síle Moynihan (Ahane), 2. Fiona Hickey - Capt. (Granagh Ballingarry), 3. Michelle Casey (Killeedy), 4. Judith Mulcahy (Ahane), 5. Katie Campbell (Na Piarsaigh), 6. Sarah Carey (Granagh Ballingarry), 7. Claire Mulcahy (Ahane), 8. Mary O'Callaghan (Bruff), 9. Deirdre Fitzpatrick (Killeedy), 10. Caoimhe Costelloe (Adare), 11. Niamh Mulcahy (Ahane), 12. Niamh Ryan (Bruff), 13. Mairéad Fitzgerald (Granagh Ballingarry), 14. Aoife Sheehan (Granagh Ballingarry), 15. Meadhbh O'Neill (Galbally)
SUBS: 17. Rebecca Delee (Newcastle West) for Niamh Ryan (HT), 24. Deborah Murphy (Knockaderry) for Meadhbh O'Neill (HT), 22. Karen O'Leary (Newcastle West) for Deirdre Fitzpatrick (41mins), 20. Sarah Collins (Ballyagran) for Aoife Sheehan (55mins)
SUBS UNUSED: 16. Mairéad Ryan (Galbally), 18. Muireann Creamer (Cappamore), 19. Sinéad McNamara (Na Piarsaigh), 21. Donna Mulcahy (Killeedy), 23. Noreen Barry (Killeedy), 25. Janet Garvey (Tournafulla), 26. Katie Hennessy (Ballyagran), 27. Dymphna O Brien (Killeedy), 28. Marguerita McCarthy (Ahane), 29. Bríd Hannon (Croagh Kilfinny), 30. Lorraine McCarthy (Bruff)