Cork ladies football boss hails players' commitment with semi-final secured

Cork ladies football boss hails players' commitment with semi-final secured

Hannah Looney of Cork and Aisling Gilsenan of Cavan in action at the weekend. 

TWO goals in the first seven minutes helped to settle Cork and put them on their way to an expected victory over Cavan in the TG4 All-Ireland Championship at O'Connor Park, Birr on Sunday.

It would have been considered a shock had Cavan won and the only time they led was three minutes in when they were awarded a penalty, which put them a point up.

But a Cork penalty, scored by Saoirse Noonan, and the first of three goals from Áine O'Sullivan made it 2-2 to 1-0 up after seven minutes. Three minutes later and O'Sullivan got her second goal and from here there was only going to be one winner.

The Rebels will now face Galway in the semi-final on Sunday, December 6, with time and venue to be confirmed in the coming weeks.

Áine O'Sullivan was one of several outstanding displays for Cork, ending up with a hat-trick and in the other corner, Saoirse Noonan hit two in a 7-9 to 2-6 win.

Cork manager, Ephie Fitzgerald, was delighted to be into the semi-final, but also well aware that Galway will be a tougher challenge than this.

“We are thrilled to be into the semi, I suppose it was a strange game in some ways,” said Ephie, “the pitch was quite heavy, but even so we started like a house on fire and got three goals in the first 10 minutes.

“Then we got a little bit sloppy in our play and allowed them back in and they got two goals which we wouldn't be happy with. I think we tightened up after that and they were never really a goal threat again.

“We came up here to get the win and in many ways, we were on a hiding to nothing. We were expected to win and that puts its own pressure on but all in all have to be happy.”

Eimear Meaney scans up the field as Geraldine Sheridan of Cavan closes in. 
Eimear Meaney scans up the field as Geraldine Sheridan of Cavan closes in. 

The Galway game has been moved from a weekend in November to avoid a clash with Cork's camogie semi-final. 

“It's good to see the date moved and it gives us three weeks now to prepare for the Galway game. We are in unchartered territory as you are always fearful a player could get the virus. But we are being as protective as we can of the girls and ourselves off the field.

“But there is massive credit due to the girls, the amount of travel they do for training is frightening. Roisin Phelan travels down from Dublin and the likes of Áine O'Sullivan and Niamh Cotter and others are coming from Allihies and Beara so there is great credit due to them.

“The objective was to get to the semi-final and we are there now and know the challenge that Galway will pose. It should be a cracker and the three weeks to help prepare for it will be a help.

“Libby Coppinger is on her way back from injury and played for the camogie side on Saturday and Niamh Cotter is also back. So our injuries are clearing up and if we can keep the panel intact over the next few weeks then I think we will be well set for the semi-final."

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