LEGENDARY forward Cora Staunton praised Cork following their defeat in Saturday's TG4 Senior All-Ireland semi-final.
Mayo defeated the reigning champions who were looking to reach their seventh successive final, and their 12 title in 13 years, with Staunton picking up the player of the match award with 1-9, having already won an incredible 11 All-Stars in her career to date.
The Carnacon player, who's in her 23rd season playing senior championship football for Mayo, previously publicly acknowledged her huge respect and admiration for Cork's past achievements, and she did so again on Saturday as Cork players graciously shook hands with their opponents and wished them well for the final against Dublin on September 24.
"What a game, it was really tense from start to finish. Fair credit to Cork, they’re a team we aspired to beat for the last 10 years. I have massive respect for a lot of the girls on the team."
Staunton commiserated with Cork's longest-serving player Brid Stack at the final whistle following on from what has been 13 years of battles between the duo, and Saturday's encounter is likely to have been the last ever between two giants of the game.
Incredibly, in the last 17 encounters between the two counties since 2005, Mayo had only beaten Cork twice in both league and championship - in the 2007 Division 1 National League semi-final and in last year's opening league game in Mallow.
The sides met in both league and All-Ireland finals, however Cork always came out on top when it mattered.
Having trailed at half-time, 0-8 to 1-7, two second-half goals by Mayo gave them an added boost as Cork missed a number of scoring chances, including a penalty on the 57th minute by the injured Eimear Scally. The Éire Óg player had injured her ankle in the warm-up but played the first 25 minutes of the opening half before returning to play late on in the second to have her penalty strike saved by Yvonne Byrne.
Mayo will now play Dublin in the All-Ireland final on September 24, and it will be the first time since 2010 that the Rebels haven't descended on Jones' Road.