Cork cut loose against Galway to lay down a marker
Defending champions remain on course for seven-in-a-row
Cork 6-19 Galway 1-10
Holders Cork blasted out an ominous statement of intent as they demolished Galway by 24 points to book a place in the semi-finals of the TG4 All-Ireland ladies senior football championship.
The Rebelettes, 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 Mayo on September 2nd.
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.
Ephie 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 cut loose to crush the challenge of Galway, who were without a competitive fixture since beating Mayo on July 2nd.
Cork had roared into an early 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. Cormican was the scorer of Galway’s seventh point but they sunk without trace as Cork 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 Finn created the opening, before midfielder Niamh Cotter found the net with a classy finish.
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 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.
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.
Cork: M O’Brien; E Meaney, R Phelan, E Spillane; M Duggan, A Hutchings, S Kelly; N Cotter (1-0), O Farmer; C O’Sullivan (0-1), D O’Sullivan (1-2, 1f), A Walsh; E Scally (1-3), Á O’Sullivan (1-2), O Finn (0-10, 4f). Subs: B O’Sullivan (2-1) for Á O’Sullivan (40 mins), J O’Shea for Farmer (40 mins), M O’Callaghan for Walsh (40 mins), L Colohan for Scally (47 mins), Á Hayes for C O’Sullivan (52 mins).
Galway: D Gower; F Cooney, E Flaherty, S Hynes (0-1); Á Seoighe, B Hannon, S Burke; L Gannon, C Cormican (0-1); O Divilly (0-1), M Seoighe (0-3, 1f), Á McDonagh; T Leonard (0-3), S Conneally, M Glynn (0-1). Subs: D Brennan (1-0) for Cormican (19 mins), S Molloy for Á Seoighe (h-t), D Gorman for Cooney (37 mins), A Davoren for Conneally (47 mins), N Duggan for T Leonard (54 mins)
Referee: N McCormack (Laois).