Galway 1-15 Cork 1-12
GALWAY took their fourth All-Ireland senior title with a gritty victory over Cork in a game where, despite losing the lead 18 minutes into the second half after a Katrina Mackey goal, they finished powerfully.
A Siobhan McGrath goal four minutes from full-time restored their lead before they closed it out with two late Orlaith McGrath points to seal a monumental victory for the county, and for captain Sarah Dervan who for the second time led her county to a senior title.
Over the hour they fought tooth and nail for everything and despite Cork battling to the last themselves, the Tribe showed huge character to hit back and take the honours.
Just a point separated the sides at the half time whistle with Galway maintain the lead they held from the opening minute when Carrie Dolan pointed an early free and she added to her tally on the third minute as she popped over her second placed ball as the Westerns settled quickly.
A nervous-looking Cork went further into arrears with the lively Siobhan McGrath and Ailish O’Reilly pointing inside the fifth minute. Ashling Thompson had Cork on the scoreboard with their opening point but Galway hit back with a Siobhan McGrath point as they continued to dominate the opening stages.
Cork began to settle with Aishling Thompson and Hannah Looney gaining a grip around the middle they cut the deficit with three scores without reply, Chloe Sigerson with one and two from the excellent Looney after running hard down the centre.
At the water break, it was Galway by two as Carrie Dolan pointed a free though Cork were denied by the upright as Chloe Sigerson's attempt bounced back into play. Twice the Rebels cut the lead, Orla Cronin pointed a free but and from the puck-out, Carrie Dolan did likewise.
Amy O’Connor and Katriona Mackey helped Cork get an advantage in the attack, while the defence was now in control, Coppinger policing Galway danger-woman Siobhan McGrath and Laura Treacy coming out with possession repeatedly.
At midfield Thompson and Looney were prominent, and with Katriona Mackey and Aoife Donoghue exchanging points, it was 0-9 to 0-8 to Galway at the interval.
The second half was tight all through, with both defences holding firm goal chances were scares.
Niamh Kilkenny put Galway two ahead; Cronin replied pointing a free but Cork missed a chance to go level before they were let off the hook as Looney denied Carrie Dolan after two Cork defenders collided and Dolan nipped in.
At the second water break, it was still Galway who led by a point after scores from Cronin and Dolan.
On the restart, Cronin tied up the game with a point from a difficult angle and with the tempo rising Cork came at the Galway defence. Captain Linda Collins, introduced on 35 minutes, began to have an influence and when she rounded Derval Higgins and found Mackey with an inch-perfect pass the corner-forward made no mistake.
Advantage Cork with 12 minutes remaining.
The next phase was going to be key and Galway twice earned frees through hard work and huge intensity. Dolan and sub Ailish O’Reilly nailed those placed balls to trim the gap to just one.
Piling on the pressure Galway found a way through with O’Reilly offloading a perfect pass to McGrath, with flicked the sliotar to the net with a clever finish.
Cronin had it back to a point with two minutes on the clock but two points from Orlaith McGrath finally killed the Cork challenge.