By Lisa Crowley
The O’Sullivan sisters starred for Mourneabbey as the Cork and Munster champions marched into a fourth All-Ireland Senior Ladies Club Football Final in five seasons.
Doireann bagged 0-8 in an outstanding display and county skipper Ciara collected 0-3 as Mourneabbey set up a final meeting with Dublin’s Foxrock-Cabinteely on December 8.
Hosts and Connacht champions Kilkerrin-Clonberne battled gamely in front of a huge crowd at the Clonberne Sports Field but Mourneabbey had too much know-how and experience.
Just a point separated the teams when they met in a 2015 semi-final but eight points was the difference at full-time here.
But Carnacon’s Connacht Final conquerors Kilkerrin-Clonberne enjoyed much of the opening possession, and only for a good Maebh O’Sullivan save, they could have rattled the net inside the first two minutes.
Claire Dunleavy, on for the injured Nicola Ward, eventually opened Kilkerrin/Clonberne’s account on the five minute mark, before Mourneabbey got off the mark in the 8th minute when Doireann O’Sullivan landed the first of her scores.
Kilkerrin/Clonberne looked very lively in the opening exchanges but the Cork champions defended excellently and eventually got a stranglehold on the game.
Doireann O’Sullivan, who was an injury doubt coming into the game, kicked into form and put her side ahead in the 10th minute.
From there until the 27th minute, Mourneabbey kicked six unanswered points as Kilkerrin/Clonberne were wasteful in front of goal, kicking four first half wides and dropping three short into Maebh O’Sullivan’s hands.
Annette Clarke, Galway’s 2004 All-Ireland winning skipper, got Kilkerrin-Clonberne back on the score board in the 27th minute, just their second white flag of the game.
Ailish Morrissey and Olivia Divilly added points and Kilkerrin-Clonberne trailed by 0-4 to 0-9 at the break.
The intensity increased ten-fold after the half time whistle; Doireann O’Sullivan converted her sixth point of the day but Annette Clarke responded with an excellent point of her own, with the impressive Chloe Miskell adding another soon after.
The action continued end to end with Kilkerrin/Clonberne throwing everything they had at Mourneabbey but the Munster champions were proving hard to contain and the O’Sullivan sisters continued to wreak havoc.
Time was running out for the Galway outfit as they struggled to get within touching distance of their opponents. Skipper Louise Ward’s attempt at goal from a 21 yard free was saved on the line in the 28th minute and Mourneabbey survived.
The visitors soaked plenty of pressure from the home side in the closing exchanges but an Eimear Harrington goal in stoppage time ensured their place in another final.
Scorers for Kilkerrin/Clonberne –A Clarke 0-4, C Dunleavy 0-2, A Morrissey, O Divilly, C Miskell 0-1 each
Scorers for Mourneabbey – D O’Sullivan 0-8 (1f), E Harrington 1-1, C O’Sullivan 0-3, L Fitzgerald, E Jack 0-1 each
Kilkerrin/Clonberne- L Murphy; A Costello, S Gormally, C Costello; S Fahy, L Gannon, H Noone; S Divilly, C Miskell; L Noone, L Ward, O Divilly; N Ward, A Clarke, A Morrissey.
Subs – A Morrissey for K Mee (13), O Divilly for E Noone (22).
Mourneabbey- M O’Sullivan; E Meaney, C.A. Stack, A O’Sullivan; S Conroy, R O’Sullivan, K Coakley; M O’Callaghan, B O’Sullivan; E Harrington, C O’Sullivan, N O’Sullivan; E Jack, L Fitzgerald, D O’Sullivan
Subs – S O’Callaghan for N O’Sullivan (38), L Fitzgerald for A Cronin (34)
Ref – Garryowen McMahon