A nail biting encounter on a late September afternoon in Croke Park finished with the Cork Ladies Senior Football team claiming their sixth TG4 All-Ireland Senior Ladies Football title in seven years.
The rebelettes survived intense pressure from their Monaghan opponents to snatch victory by a narrow two point victory.
The match finished 2-7 to 0-11 in their favour following a hard-fought, fast-paced game which at times could have gone either way.
The sides were level on five occasions, including three times in the second half as the Farney Army and the Rebel County battled for the greatest honour in All-Ireland Senior Ladies football, the Brendan Martin Cup.
A 44th minute penalty goal from Rhona Ní Bhuachalla gave Cork the catalyst they needed and left Monaghan with the unenviable task of closing a three point gap as Cork Closed in on another All-Ireland title.
The Cork defence stood strong in the face of a late Monaghan onslaught and despite a performance from the Farney women, which was at times inspired, the experience and heart of the rebelettes shone through.
Juliet Murphy registered Cork’s opening point with less than two minutes gone on the clock, but it would take a further nine minutes for the Rebelettes to add to their tally despite plenty of early scoring opportunities.
Two Catriona McConnell points opened Monaghan’s account as poor misses marred a low scoring first half.
Points from McConnell and Cork’s Valerie Mulcahy leveled the sides at two apiece as Mulcahy and Monaghan’s Therese McNally and Caoimhe Mohan were all guilty of missed chances.
The turning point of the half came in the 22nd minute when Nollaig Cleary slotted the ball home after gathering a poor kick-out from Monaghan goal-keeper Linda Martin.
Three points down, a rejuvenated Monaghan side took to the field at the opening of the second half with Ciara Mc Anespie and Niamh Kindlon both on target to take a 0-7, 1-3 lead in the 38th minute.
Despite a succession of poor misses and the loss of their captain Amy O’Shea through injury, Cork continued to dig deep and were awarded a penalty by referee John Niland after substitute Orla Finn was dragged down by Isobel Kierans
With Cork’s regular penalty taker Valerie Mulcahy off the pitch at this stage, Rhona Ní Bhuachalla stepped up to take the pressure kick and sent Monaghan goalkeeper Linda Martin the wrong way, ensuring Cork led by 2-5 to 0-8 in the 44th minute.
A never say die attitude saw Monaghan come close in the final stages with some well-taken points from open play by Caoimhe Mohan and Laura McEnaney.
A third point from McConnell cut the deficit to the minimum with six-and-a-half minutes left on the clock, but a point from Rena Buckley steadied the Cork ship as they pulled through for a thrilling victory.
20,061 spectators bore witness as captain Amy O’Shea got her hands on the Brendan Martin cup and Cork reigned supreme once more, proving that the demons of last year’s Quarter-final exit are well and truly behind them.
CORK: E Harte; AM Walsh, A Walsh, D O’Reilly; B Corkery, B Stack, G O’Flynn (0-1); J Murphy (0-3, 0-2f), R Buckley (0-1); N Cleary (1-0), M Kelly, G Kearney (0-1); V Mulcahy (0-1), R Ní Bhuachalla (1-0, 1-0 pen), A O’Shea.
Subs used: C O’Sullivan for O’Shea (37 mins), O Finn for Mulcahy (38), N Kelly for Cleary (46), A Sheehan for Ní Bhuachalla (53), A Walsh for Buckley (55).
MONAGHAN: L Martin; G McNally, S Courtney, C Reilly; A McAnespie, N Fahy, L Connolly; A Casey, C Courtney; T McNally, E McCarron (0-2), C McConnell (0-3, 0-2f); C McAnespie (0-1), N Kindlon (0-3, 0-2f), C Mohan (0-1).
Subs used: I Kierans for Courtney (25 mins), L McEnaney (0-1) for Kindlon (42), C Courtney for McCarron (47), E McElroy for Kierans (50).
Referee: John Niland (Sligo)