Late dash to Croker can't stop classy Cork from setting up Dublin showdown

Late dash to Croker can't stop classy Cork from setting up Dublin showdown

Ciara O'Sullivan of Cork shoots to score her side's second goal during the TG4 All-Ireland Senior Ladies Football Championship semi-final. Picture: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Cork 2-17 Galway 0-13

CORK are through to the All-Ireland TG4 senior ladies football championship final against holders Dublin after their win over Galway at Croke Park yesterday.

It was a case of third time lucky when it came to the venue, as the game was originally due to take place at the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick. It was then switched to Parnell Park, much to Cork's annoyance, but had to be moved to Croker due to a frozen pitch. 

The late switch meant a dash from one venue to the other for both teams, with the game coming forward 15 minutes earlier than the original 1.30pm thrown-in, due to the Tipperary-Mayo's 3.30pm start. It also ruled over television coverage on TG4, which was hugely disappointing for Rebel supporers.

Thankfully, despite the huge disruption, Cork delivered.

They controlled the game from start to finish with Hannah Looney and Maire O'Callaghan dominating midfield, Melissa Duggan outstanding in defence and up front Orla Finn led by example. Early goals from Ciara O'Sullivan and Duggan pushed Ephie Fitzgerald's side ahead in the first quarter and they never looked like getting caught.

Galway took the lead in the second minute when Tracey Leonard scored from a free, having missed a similar one 30 seconds earlier.

Cork worked the ball down the pitch with Finn equalising from a free, but with seven minutes gone they took the lead.

It came through a combination many wouldn't have expected as a brilliant run, which started in her own half, from Erika O'Shea played in Duggan to coolly slot home.

Cork’s Melissa Duggan fires in a goal against Galway. Picture: INPHO/James Crombie
Cork’s Melissa Duggan fires in a goal against Galway. Picture: INPHO/James Crombie

Leonard pulled a point back from another free, but two more from the Rebels, from Ciara O'Sullivan and another Finn free, saw them lead 1-2 to 0-2 at the water break.

Within a minute of the restart, Cork had their second goal, as their pressure on the Galway kick-outs was telling.

Aine O'Sullivan won possession and she played Ciara O'Sullivan in to make it 2-3 to 0-2 as Cork were dominating at this stage.

A great point from range by Mairead Seoighe reduced the deficit, with Finn replying from another free at the other end for Cork.

Seoighe pointed again, another long-distance effort, to make it 2-4 to 0-4 but right on the hooter, Finn got her fourth from a free to see Cork in control at half-time as they led by seven points.

Ciara O'Sullivan increased Cork's lead at the start of the second half, with two Leonard frees reducing the deficit.

Leonard, with her first from play, pointed for her side, with Finn responding at the other end. Half-time substitute Andrea Trill got her first point with Eimear Kiely on target for Cork.

Olivia Divilly and Finn exchanged points and with 47 minutes gone Galway were dealt another blow when Sinead Burke was sin-binned for a tackle on Libby Coppinger. Finn converted the free to make it 2-12 to 0-10 before Trill pointed again.

Doireann O'Sullivan and Finn kept the scoreboard ticking over for Cork, with Leonard replying for Galway.

Scorers for Cork: O Finn 0-9 (0-8 f), C O'Sullivan 1-2, M Duggan 1-1, A O'Sullivan, E Kiely, D O'Sullivan, S O'Leary, M O'Callaghan 0-1 each.

Galway: T Leonard 0-6 (0-5 f), M Seoighe 0-3, A Trill 0-2, O Divilly, A Morrissey 0-1 each.

CORK: M O’Brien; E Meaney, R Phelan, S Kelly; M Duggan, A Hutchings, E O’Shea; M O’Callaghan, H Looney; E Kiely, C O’Sullivan, O Finn; Á O’Sullivan, D O’Sullivan, S Noonan.

Subs: L Coppinger for A O'Sullivan (42), D Kiely for E Kiely (50), S O'Leary for S Noonan (55), O Farmer for D O'Sullivan (56), M Cahalane for M Duggan (58).

GALWAY: L Murphy; S Gormally, S Lynch, S Burke; L Coen, C Cooney, N Ward; A Davoren, L Ward; O Divilly, M Glynn, L Noone; M Seoighe, T Leonard, L Hannon.

Subs: S Molloy for S Gormally, A Trill for A Davoren (both h-t), S Fahy for L Coen (44), A Morrissey for L Hannon (48), A McDonogh for M Seoighe (51).

Referee: Seamus Mulvihill (Kerry).

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