Cork 4-13 Tipperary 0-16
A blistering opening goal by half forward Ciara O’Sullivan gave Cork the perfect start in their Munster senior semi-final clash with Tipperary in Páirc Uí Chaoimh on Sunday evening.
Cork dominated the opening eighteen minutes, leading by 2-5 to 0-3, Tipp’s three points from the accurate free taking of Cait Devane. Cork’s use of the ball from defence was excellent, accurate, and at deadly pace.
With Cork’s wing-forwards O’Sullivan and Chloe Sigerson playing deep as additional midfielders, the space and speed was causing havoc for Tipp’s defence. Amy O’Connor controlled brilliantly, left her marker behind with incredible pace and batted to the net for a clinical finish on eight minutes to keep her goal per game stat intact.
Tipp goalkeeper Caoimhe Bourke, replacing Áine Slattery as Tipp continue to rotate their squad, brought off two fine saves against O’Connor and Izzy O’Regan as Cork dominated.
Tipperary’s distribution wasn’t as clinical as Cork’s, passes going to Noman’s land. It was all going Cork’s way 18 minutes in. However, their next score didn’t come for another 10 as Tipp started to get to grips around the middle of the park, winning two Cork puck-outs and spreading their play better.
Cork occasionally reverted back to handpassing, slowing the play down and it afforded Tipp opportunities.
Grace O’Brien got Tipp’s first point from play on 23 minutes and from there Tipp hit another four to put two points between the sides coming up to halftime, Fiona Keating responding to leave it 2-6 to 0-9 at the break.
Saoirse McCarthy looked good at wing-back in place of Hannah Looney, rested after the Cork ladies’ football league final on Saturday evening, along with Meabh Cahalane. Laura Treacy and Laura Hayes were dominating.
The game didn’t flow as much in the opening 10 minutes of the restart, but the scorers were nip and tuck, three in a row from Tipp between the 13th and 16th leaving just the minimum between the sides.
Hannah Looney was introduced, and Katrina Mackey moved into full forward. The move had an immediate impact. Hannah drove forward to initiate a free which Mackey pointed. Mackey then gathered possession and offloaded to the in-running Looney who finished to the net.
The goal raised the tempo as Cork forced Tipp twice to overcarry.
The momentum was with Cork, back in front 3-12 to 0-14 entering the final minutes, the game beyond doubt after a brilliant run by O’Connor, drew four defenders and Mackey made no mistake from close range.