December 07, 2020
by Anthony Nevin
Great rivals Cork and Dublin will do battle in the TG4 All-Ireland Senior Final in two weeks time after Ephie Fitzgeralds side swept past Galway at Croke Park with a comprehensive victory.
In a game that was moved from Parnell Park on the morning of the game due to an unplayable pitch at the venue, Cork took charge of the Semi-final with goals from Melissa Duggan and Ciara OSullivan inside the first 18 minutes.
Orla Finn scored nine points for Cork, and despite some bright moments from Tracey Leonard and Mairad Seoighe there was no way back for Galway, who were unable to make it back-to-back appearances in the decider.
Cork and Dublin will do battle again at Croke Park in the Final on 20 December in a repeat of the 2018 decider, and according to Cork selector, Paddy OShea, his side will be facing the games current standard setters.
Dublin are the bench mark for the last three years. They are going for four in a row and we have a huge job ahead of us. But well spend the next two weeks preparing to make sure we can do the best job we can, said OShea.
All we have done really is earned another two weeks training. In another two weeks well be back up here for the final. It worked out well for us, the match being moved to Croke Park will serve as a dry run for us for two weeks time.
It was Tracey Leonard who kicked Galway into an early lead, but after Finn got off the mark for Cork after five minutes, the Munster side soon took control.
A goal from wing back Duggan following some great build up play from Erika OShea set Cork on their way after seven minutes, and with Finn also finding her range, Cork moved 2-3 to 0-2 ahead after Ciara OSullivan rounded Lisa Murphy for their second goal in the 18thminute.
No stranger to excelling at Croke Park following last years heroics against Mayo, Seoighe kicked a couple of long-range points either side of another Finn free, and while Leonard tagged on a free for Galway, Cork were well worth their 2-5 to 0-4 half-time advantage.
Goal scorer Ciara OSullivan stretched Corks lead after the game restarted, and while substitute Andrea Trill, Leonard and Seoighe kept accumulating Galways total, they never managed to get any closer than six points to Cork in that second half.
With Finn in excellent form, Cork always kept Galway at arms length, and although Olivia Divilly also got on the scoreboard for the Connacht side, the loss of Sinad Burke to the sin bin stalled Galways comeback hopes.
With a comfortable lead to protect, points from ine Terry OSullivan, Doireann OSullivan and substitute Sadhbh OLeary gave Cork a routine closing few minutes, and they sailed into the final with a third straight Championship win.
I thought that once we got those two goals that we managed the game very well, said OShea.
Aishling Hutchings at centre-back was awesome, she was pulling the strings and moving pieces around the pitch like a chess puzzle.
Game management is something that we have been very conscious that we had to improve on, and that came from the girls. The leadership shown on the pitch is extraordinary. Thankfully it all worked out today.
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