Hurting Rebelettes hungry to regain title
CORK coach Eamon Ryan believes that the hurt of losing the TG4 All-Ireland football crown in 2010 has fuelled a renewed quest for glory this year.
The Leesiders suffered a shock quarter-final defeat against Tyrone last year, ending hopes of a sixth successive All-Ireland triumph.
But Cork have hit back with a vengeance this season, claiming Bord Gáis Energy National League Division 1 title, the Munster championship and now a place in the All-Ireland final, against Kerry or Monaghan, on September 25.
Captain Amy O'Shea scored a second-half hat-trick of goals against Laois in a 4-10 to 1-6 semi-final victory at Cashel's Leahy Park on Saturday.
Cork got off to the worst possible start, falling 1-3 to 0-0 behind, but were level at 1-3 apiece by half-time and turned up the heat on the resumption, with two goals within a minute from O'Shea shortly after the restart proving crucial.
Ryan reflected: "We got a horrible start, unexpected. To be down 1-3 after seven or eight minutes was a bit of a shock but we came back well. The benefit of the game (against last year's champions Dublin) the previous week became obvious the longer the game went on."
Ryan hopes to have Ciara O'Sullivan back in training this week, but admitted that the talented forward faces a battle to be ready for the final.
He added: "They're all working very hard, they're all good friends and there's a great unit there. Last year remains a disappointment but they just have to plough on. But the flip-side is that what happened last year has helped them this year."
Laois boss Joe Higgins will take time out to consider his future -- but hinted that he would like to remain at the helm.
The former Leinster SFC winner said: "It's not all up to me. I know with managers, having played myself and gone through four or five of them, it would have to come from the girls if I'm to stay on.
"Listening to one person after two years sometimes gets a bit monotonous. I'll have a serious think about it -- today's not the day to decide anything."
Meanwhile, Cavan came good after extra-time to win a thrilling All-Ireland intermediate semi-final against Leitrim in Cashel.
Cavan, beaten semi-finalists in 2010, will face Limerick or Westmeath in the September 25 final at Croke Park, having claimed a thrilling 2-26 to 3-13 win at the weekend.
The Breffni girls did it the hard way, coming from nine points down to force extra-time, before eventually cruising to a 10-point win which sealed a place in a first All-Ireland final since the 1981 senior decider.