Monday 23 April 2018

Cork and Kilkenny show extra class

Cork and Kilkenny show extra class. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Cork and Kilkenny show extra class. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile sportsdesk

Kilkenny and three-in-a-row Cork will contest next month's All-Ireland after a dramatic afternoon at Semple Stadium as both semi-finals required extra time to settle the outcome.

A goal direct from a sideline cut by Anne Dalton six minutes into the first half of extra time proved the difference as Kilkenny just edged past Galway, 3-15 to 1-19.

And champions Cork displayed all the traits that have won them the last two Liberty Insurance All-Ireland senior titles to finally put a gritty Wexford away by 0-19 to 0-15.

Kilkenny were denied the victory in regulation time by a 73rd-minute goal from Ailish O'Reilly.

Shelly Farrell hand-passed beyond Susan Earner early on after a good run and pass from older sister Anna, and Cats captain Michelle Quilty later saw her diagonal shot fly into the roof of the net, giving Earner absolutely no chance.

Those goals propelled Kilkenny into a 2-7 to 0-9 interval lead but Ollie Bergin clearly revved his charges up during the break.

Galway were resolute and they had O'Reilly, the full-forward pouncing on a breaking ball and smashing a low shot beyond Emma Kavanagh to make it 2-13 to 1-16 and sent us to extra time.

Niamh McGrath slotted her seventh point to move Galway ahead but then came the definitive goal, as Dalton's sideline hopped and squirmed past the previously flawless Earner to nestle in the Galway net.

Meanwhile, there had never been more than two points between Cork and Wexford and they were deadlocked after 70 minutes on 0-14 apiece.

Kate Kelly lofted a mammoth score from a free in the middle of the field soon after the resumption - the teams went in at the break on 0-8 apiece - and the 36-year-old's eighth point pushed Wexford ahead. They weren't to score again though as Cork finally opened up and registered the last five points.

Orla Cotter made it level for the 11th time from a free before Cork profited from the increasing space with points from Katrina Mackey, the magnificent Hannah Looney, Mackey and dual star Briege Corkery.

Aoife Murray made a late save from Chloe Foxe and Cork's place in the ­decider on September 11 was assured.

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