Manager points to Aoife’s saving grace

AOIFE Murray was the name on nearly everybody’s lips afterwards, not surprising because she had such a major influence on the outcome after having, by her own admission, messed up in the first half.

Denise Cronin, victorious in her first stint as Cork manager, praised Murray, while Galway selector Damien Coleman admitted that the goalkeeper had broken their hearts.

"Aoife was outstanding," said Cronin afterwards. "She was very disappointed with the goal that went in. We know she is one of the best players in the country and I think she proved that."

Murray praised captain Catriona Foley for helping her to get over the disappointment: "She came in and picked me off the ground. At the end of the day my job is to keep the ball out of the net. If I have to pick it out of the net it has to be a good shot and it has to be a good goal. In fairness I messed up,’’ she said.

And, before she made that marvellous save near the end, she feared she was going to have to take another ball out of the net.

"It was halfways in my head... ‘oh no!’ I was delighted that I stopped it, but it was crowded and so hard for her (Deirdre Burke) to get the shot in. I think I was very fortunate.’’

Coleman, for his part, was not only regretful of the chances which Murray denied them, but agreed top scorer Jessica Gill’s goal miss was a further blow. "Maybe she lifted the ball too far in front of her and she had to reach for the strike. But goals win matches. Cork had the two early goals and it told. We just feel we might have left that game behind us but there are no blame games.’’

Coleman conceded the failure of any of their forwards to score from play cost them.

Briege Corkery, a member of the Cork Ladies Football team which will be chasing an All-Ireland four-in-a-row on September 28, agreed that it had been a tough game to come out on top in.

"Galway gave us everything. They gave us ‘belting and skelting’ but we gave the same back.

"Our defence has been unreal all year. The girls were outstanding... you’d imagine they never won an All-Ireland before!"