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Relentless Cork fire six goals past Galway as they steamroll on for seven in-a-row

The reigning champions ran out 24-point winners at Cusack Park.

Cork 6-19

Galway 1-10

Emma Duffy reports from Cusack Park, Mullingar

Roisin Phelan with Deirdre Brennan and Megan Glynn Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

DEFENDING CHAMPIONS CORK sent out a strong statement of intent as they steamrolled Galway with a 24-point win in today’s All-Ireland ladies SFC quarter-final clash.

A crucial period of dominance either side of half-time — and an unanswered 3-11 — was the ultimate difference, as Ephie Fitzgerald’s side booked their semi-final spot.

After a disappointing Munster campaign in which they failed to reach the decider and a nervy win over Monaghan in the qualifiers, the Rebels sprung to form at peak time and put on a stellar display at Cusack Park.

A relentless performance which saw six goals hit — just two of them coming from the same player — and an Orla Finn scoring masterclass with 10 points, well and truly proved that Cork can never be written off.

The game got off to an electric start in front of a sizeable crowd at the midlands venue, Galway with a goal chance from the throw-in.

Without 2016 Player of the Year Bríd Stack due to injury, the Rebels were again left without one of their experienced leaders in defence, and Aine McDonagh capitalised on that weakness immediately, slicing through the centre to spark the game to light.

Megan Glynn with Martina O'Brien and Roisin Phelan Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Through Tracey Leonard, she found Claregalway’s Megan Glynn, but Martina O’Brien pulled off a crucial save to deny the Tribeswomen of the dream start.

The six-in-a-row champions soon settled, and the opening scores were exchanged between Leonard and the in-form Eimear Scally, before Cork had the ball in the back of the net.

An Orla Finn free-kick from distance dropped short, and Áine O’Sullivan was the player on the end of it following a scramble around the goalmouth.

Remarkable scores from Olivia Divilly and Mairéad Seoige, along with a point from close range from Glynn had the Tribeswomen edged ahead with 15 minutes played.

But then came Cork’s crucial period of dominance.

Their inside dual threat of Scally and Finn combined to level matters, before Niamh Cotter rattled the back of the net as Ephie Fitzgerald’s side roared on.

Mourneabbey sisters Ciara and Doireann O’Sullivan inspired as they both split the posts successively, shortly before another green flag was raised.

Melissa Duggan with Caitriona Cormican Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Finn was awarded a free-kick, to which she used her cleverness and took quickly, linking up with Scally who slotted home with ease.

Further points from Finn (two) and Áine O’Sullivan had Cork 12 points up — with an unanswered 2-9 recorded — as the hooter went.

On the restart, there was no sign of the rampant Cork slowing down, Finn again on the money with a spectacular score from the left, while Áine O’Sullivan added another.

The subsequent kick-out landed straight in Doireann O’Sullivan’s hands, and she punished accordingly, shaking the net once again.

With eight minutes of the second half played, Galway finally ended their drought and mustered up a response to the unanswered 3-11, Mairead Seoighe and Leonard with the scores.

Fitzgerald took the chance to empty his bench and introduce fresh legs, while a glimmer of hope came for Galway as substitute Deirdre Brennan weaved her way through the Cork defence to pull a goal back.

Aine O'Sullivan with Fabienne Cooney Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Substitute Bríd O’Sullivan soon had it cancelled out, as she fired home her side’s fifth, and tagged on a point minutes later.

Shauna Hynes added another consolation point as the minutes ran down, but things went from bad to worse for the Tribeswomen as they finished the game with 14 — Emer Flaherty shown a yellow card for a high challenge.

Finn added her eighth point, before O’Sullivan made it 2-1 from the bench and six goals for Cork with just over five minutes on the clock.

Finn almost added Cork’s seventh goal but Megan Glynn intervened, but a free-kick and another remarkable point as the seconds ran down capped a stellar performance from Finn, and Cork.

The other semi-final is decided — last year’s All-Ireland finalists Dublin face Munster champions Kerry next Saturday, while Cork will now go head-to-head for a spot in the decider with the winner of today’s later clash between Donegal and Mayo.

Scorers for Cork: Eimear Scally (1-3), Áine O’Sullivan (1-2), Orla Finn (0-10, 4f), Niamh Cotter (1-0), Ciara O’Sullivan (0-1), Doireann O’Sullivan (1-2, 1f), Bríd O’Sullivan (2-1)

Scorers for Galway: Tracey Leonard (0-3, 2f), Olivia Divilly (0-1), Mairéad Seoige (0-3, 1f), Caitriona Cormican (0-1), Megan Glynn (0-1), Deirdre Brennan (1-0), Shauna Hynes (0-1)

Cork

1. Matina O’Brien (Clonakilty)

2. Eimear Meaney (Mourneabbey)
3. Róisín Phelan (Aghada)
4. Emma Spillane (Bantry Blues)

5. Melissa Duggan (Dohenys)
17. Aishling Huthchings (Fermoy)
7. Shauna Kelly (Araglen Desmonds Buí)

8. Niamh Cotter (Beara)
23. Orlagh Farmer (Midleton)

10. Ciara O’Sullivan (Mourneabbey) – captain
11. Doireann O’Sullivan (Mourneabbey)
12. Annie Walsh (Inch Rovers)

13. Eimear Scally (Éire Óg)
14. Áine O’Sullivan (Beara)
15. Orla Finn (Kinsale)

Subs:

Bríd O’Sullivan for Áine O’Sullivan (40 minutes)
Jessica O’Shea for Orlagh Farmer (40 minutes)
Maire O’Callaghan for Annie Walsh (40 minutes)
Louise Coholan for Eimear Scally (48 minutes)
Áine Hayes for Ciara O’Sullivan (52 minutes)

Galway

1. Dearbhla Gower (Corofin)

2. Fabienne Cooney (Claregalway)
3. Emer Flaherty (Tuam/Cortoon) – captain
4. Shauna Hynes (Milltown)

5. Áine Seoighe (Corofin)
6. Barbara Hannon (Dunmore McHales)
7. Sinéad Burke (Ballyboden St Enda’s)

8. Lisa Gannon (Kilkerrin/Clonberne)
9. Caitriona Cormican (St Gabriel’s)

10. Olivia Divilly (Kilkerrin/Clonberne)
11. Mairéad Seoighe (Clonbur)
12. Áine McDonagh (Moycullen)

13. Tracey Leonard (Corofin)
14. Sarah Conneally (Dunmore McHales)
15. Megan Glynn (Claregalway)

Subs:

Derirdre Brennan for Caitriona Cormican (19 minutes)
Shauna Molloy for Áine Seoighe (half-time)
Dora Gorman for Fabienne Cooney (37 minutes)
Ailbhe Davoren for Sarah Conneally (47 minutes)
Niamh Duggan for Tracey Leonard (54 minutes)

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