Cork slam six goals past Galway to keep seven-in-a-row bid firmly on course
Cork 6-19 Galway 1-10
EPHIE Fitzgerald’s TG4 All-Ireland ladies senior football champions Cork blasted out an ominous statement of intent as they demolished Galway by 24 points to book a place in the last four.
The Rebelettes, even without injured 2016 Player of the Year Bríd Stack, were hugely impressive as they notched six goals at TEG Cusack Park in Mullingar to set up a clash with Donegal or Mayo on September 2.
A devastating scoring blitz approaching half-time put paid to the challenge of the Connacht champions in this All-Ireland quarter-final – as Cork went from three points behind midway through the first half to 12 clear at the break.
Fitzgerald’s in-form charges produced arguably their best display under his stewardship, scoring 3-11 without reply in a scintillating spell before and after the break.
Cork were 1-1 to 0-7 adrift before they opened up with both barrels to crush the challenge of Galway, who were without a competitive fixture since beating Mayo on July 2.
Cork had roared into an early 1-1 to 0-1 lead, Áine O’Sullivan on target with the early goal after Orla Finn’s free dropped short, but Galway responded well and landed six points without reply, Mairéad Seoighe landing a couple of impressive long-range efforts in that run.
Cork, playing against the breeze, were sitting deep and pulling plenty of bodies behind the ball but Galway’s long-range shooting was impressive.
The floodgates would soon open, however, as Cork an unanswered 2-9 approaching half-time to lead by 3-10 to 0-7 at the break.
Galway suffered a blow when midfielder Catriona Cormican went off injured in the 19th minute and that seemed to affect the Tribeswomen, who were attempting to manage a seven-week layoff.
Cormican was the scorer of Galway’s seventh point but they sunk without trace as Cork, who improved significantly on their qualifier victory over Monaghan, upped the ante.
Three quick points brought them level at 1-4 to 0-7 before Cork bagged their second goal in the 23rd minute.
Emma Spillane and brilliant player of the match Finn created the opening, before midfielder Niamh Cotter found the net with a classy finish.
Three minutes later, Finn’s quick free found Eimear Scally and she turned inside Galway captain Emer Flaherty before slotting home brilliantly.
With the O’Sullivan sisters, captain Ciara and Doireann, pulling the strings, Cork added four more points before the break and another 1-2 early in the second half to move 17 points clear, 4-12 to 1-7.
Cork’s fourth goal, from Doireann O’Sullivan, was an avoidable concession from a Galway perspective.
Dearbhla Gower’s kick-out was pounced on by O’Sullivan, who sent it back over the goalkeeper’s head and into the net with a precise lob.
Galway’s long wait for a score, which dated back to the 16th minute, finally ended in the 38th minute when Mairéad Seoighe popped over a free.
Tracey Leonard added another free but it was brief respite as Bríd O’Sullivan came off the bench to make a big impact.
Deirdre Brennan registered a consolation goal for Galway in the 41st minute but O’Sullivan netted twice before the finish to add further gloss to the scoreboard from a Cork perspective.
Galway suffered another massive blow with nine minutes left when Flaherty was yellow-carded, leaving the Westerners to finish the game with 14 players.
Bríd O’Sullivan was on target with goals in the 45th and 54th minutes – and Cork’s quest for the seven-in-a-row remains very much course.
Scorers for Cork – O Finn 0-10 (4f), B O’Sullivan 2-1, E Scally 1-3, Á O’Sullivan & D O’Sullivan (0-1f) 1-2 each, N Cotter 1-0, C O’Sullivan 0-1.
Scorers for Galway – D Brennan 1-0, M Seoighe (1f) & T Leonard (2f) 0-3 each, S Hynes, C Cormican, O Divilly & M Glynn 0-1 each.
Cork – M O’Brien; E Meaney, R Phelan, E Spillane; M Duggan, A Hutchings, S Kelly; N Cotter, O Farmer; C O’Sullivan, D O’Sullivan, A Walsh; E Scally, Á O’Sullivan, O Finn.
Subs – B O’Sullivan for Á O’Sullivan (40), J O’Shea for Farmer (40), M O’Callaghan for Walsh (40), L Colohan for Scally (47), Á Hayes for C O’Sullivan (52).
Galway – D Gower; F Cooney, E Flaherty, S Hynes; Á Seoighe, B Hannon, S Burke; L Gannon, C Cormican; O Divilly, M Seoighe, Á McDonagh; T Leonard, S Conneally, M Glynn.
Subs – D Brennan for Cormican (inj., 19), S Molloy for Á Seoighe (h.t.), D Gorman for Cooney (37), A Davoren for Conneally (47), N Duggan for T Leonard (54).
Ref – N McCormack (Laois).