'Relieved' Murray looks for Cork improvement for duel with Cats
Cork 2-9 Galway 1-9
Cork camógie boss Paudie Murray has been saying all summer that Kilkenny are significantly superior to anyone else and within minutes of seeing his side book their place in the All-Ireland final with a narrow victory over Galway, he was delivering the message once more.
"I'm pretty relieved at this stage," said Murray after Cork saw an eight-point lead at the Gaelic Grounds reduced to two in the second half. "Our second half wasn't good, our first half wasn't too bad. Fair play to Galway, this team is a good team.
"They're coming in with a lot of good players and this could be a very good Galway team, so you've got to pay credit to them.
"We have a great never-say-die attitude and that's what pulled us through.
"I don't know did we deserve it really… looking back on it, probably not.
"I'm worried going into the final at this stage facing Kilkenny.
"It probably won't be a great contest; they play 10 behind the ball, so we've to do an awful lot better if we've to have any chance.
"It won't be one for the spectator really, a low-scoring game. We've a lot to do to have any chance really.
"You'd be hoping Kilkenny have an off day and that we'd play way above ourselves to have a chance."
Two first-half goals put Cork in a commanding position, leading by 2-6 to 0-6 at half-time.
The first came from Aoife Murray in the 11th minute, the goalkeeper driving to the roof of the net from a penalty, awarded when the direct-running Niamh McCarthy was dragged down by Rebecca Hennelly.
The second was an exceptional solo effort just before the break from Orla Cotter.
The St Catherine's player fielded a long Murray free before running at the heart of the Galway defence and prodding the sliotar to the net.
Points from Hannah Looney and Katrina Mackey stretched the margin to eight.
Cork went 28 minutes without a score, as Aoife Donohue propelled the westerners forward. A 49th-minute goal from Niamh Hanniffy helped reduce the margin to two.
Mackey slotted a point on the hour to leave Mark Dunne's crew needing a goal and despite persistent pressure, it didn't really look like arriving.
Scorers - Cork: O Cotter 1-3 (0-3f), A Murray 1-0 (pen), K Mackey 0-2, O Cronin, N McCarthy, A O'Connor, H Looney 0-1 each. Galway: A Donohue 0-4 (3fs), N Hanniffy 1-0, A O'Reilly (1f), O McGrath 0-2 each, N McGrath 0-1.
Cork - A Murray; P Mackey, R Buckley, L Treacy; M Cahalane, G O'Connor, C Sigerson; L Coppinger, A Thompson; A O'Connor, O Cronin, O Cotter; H Looney, N McCarthy, K Mackey. Subs: E O'Sullivan for G O'Connor (inj, 46), J White for A O'Connor (48), L Homan for K Mackey (60+1).
Galway - Sarah Healy; S Dervan, R Black, T Kenny; L Ryan, R Hennelly, H Cooney; A Starr, O McGrath; N McGrath, A O'Reilly, N Kilkenny; S McGrath, M Cooney, A Donohue. Subs: N Hanniffy for M Cooney (40).
Ref - E Cassidy (Derry)