Scally turns on the style as Rebelettes seal Mayo date
Ephie Fitzgerald hailed his "phenomenal" Cork ladies senior footballers after watching them advance to a ninth successive Lidl National Football League Division 1 final by beating Dublin 1-15 to 0-11.
After taking over from his all-conquering predecessor Eamonn Ryan in January, there was inevitable 'getting to know you' period and while Cork started their 2016 League campaign in sluggish fashion, they're now clicking into top gear.
On Saturday at St Brendan's Park in Birr, they came from two points down at half-time to win by seven against Dublin, outscoring the Sky Blues by 0-11 to 0-2 in the second half.
Fitzgerald name-checked Eimear Scally, scorer of three second-half points, and rightly so, given a bout of glandular fever has left Scally playing catch-up this year.
They will play Mayo in the final after Cora Staunton produced yet another magic moment to help them defeat Kerry, 1-16 to 2-12.
The winner was Staunton's 11th point of the game and came in the seventh minute of stoppage time but Mayo boss Frank Browne was unsurprised by her brilliance.
"We were training last night and from that position she was kicking every single one of them," he said. "I just knew when she got the ball in that position that it was only going one place."
Seven points down at half-time against Kerry in Birr on Saturday, Mayo came roaring back and when Staunton kicked her 11th point, a tremendous effort, it was the first time all afternoon that her side had led.
With the brilliant Sarah Houlihan and Laura Rogers tearing it up for Kerry, the Kingdom were moving well but Mayo had a strong breeze at their backs in the second half and clawed their way back.
In the Division Two final, Donegal will meet Westmeath in a fortnight's time after hard-fought wins over Cavan and Clare respectively.
Scorers - Cork: O Finn 0-7 (4f), C O'Sullivan 1-1, E Scally 0-3, R Buckley, B Corkery, A Walsh and H Looney 0-1 each.
Dublin - S Aherne 0-5 (4f), L Davey 0-3, N McEvoy 0-2, N Ryan 0-1.
CORK - M O'Brien; E Meaney, B Stack, R Phelan; V Foley, D O'Reilly, S Kelly; R Buckley, B Corkery; A Hutchings, C O'Sullivan, A Walsh; Á O'Sullivan, H Looney, O Finn.
Subs: M Ambrose for Kelly (HT), E Scally for Hutchings (HT).
DUBLIN - C Trant; O Carey, M Ní Scanaill, L Collins; C Barrett, S Finnegan, N Collins; A Connolly, N Healy; S Woods, L Davey, N Ryan; O Leonard, N McEvoy, S Aherne.
Subs: L Caffrey for Collins (43), S Goldrick for Barrett (45), A Conroy for McEvoy (53), S Furlong for Leonard (57), C Ruddy for Davey (60+1).
REF - G Carmody (Mayo).
Scorers - Mayo: C Staunton 0-11 (9f), N Kelly 1-0, S Mulvihill, S Rowe 0-2 each, F McHale 0-1. Kerry: S Houlihan 0-9 (4f), L Rogers 1-2, A Galvin (1-0), A Brosnan (0-1).
MAYO - Y Byrne; O Conlon, S Tierney, D Hughes; R Kearns, M Carter, L Ryder; C McManamon, A Gilroy; C Hegarty, F McHale, S Mulvihill; S Rowe, C Staunton N Kelly. Subs: N O'Malley for Ryder (21), G Kelly for Conlon (27), C Egan for Gilroy (47), D Caldwell for Hegarty (60+2).
KERRY - E Murphy; A O'Connell, C Kelly, K O'Sullivan; A Leonard, D Hallissey, C Murphy; E Lynch, L Scanlon; C Buckley, A Brosnan, B Breen; S Houlihan, A Galvin, L Rogers. Subs: L Ní Mhuircheartaigh for Buckley (48), M O'Connell for Brosnan (52), P Dennehy for Galvin (58).
REF - C McManus (Meath).