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Cork roar back from dead

Cork 1-19 Dublin 2-12
Eamonn Ryan’s Cork produced a remarkable comeback against Dublin on Saturday afternoon to book their place in the semi-finals of the TG4 All-Ireland Ladies’ SFC against their old nemesis Kerry.

Dublin looked on course for a landmark victory over Cork in the second half as they led by 2-12 to 0-9. But after Sinead Aherne popped over a point to put the Sky Blues nine points in front, they would not score again for the remainder of the game.

Instead, All-Ireland champions Cork ran riot with a run of 1-10 without reply in the final 20 minutes to clinch a sensational four-point win. This was another bitter defeat for Dublin at the hands of Cork, and reminiscent of the 2011 quarter-final meeting between the sides.

Two years ago, Cork came with a run of seven unanswered points to edge past their big city rivals, but this latest comeback was even more noteworthy because the Leesiders looked dead and buried in the second half.

Dublin were rampant against a Cork side that had lost twice to Kerry in the Munster championship, before stuttering past Armagh in the qualifiers.

But Dublin, who had not played a competitive game since the Leinster final six weeks previously, ran out of steam as Cork came on strong.

Powered forward by player of the match Juliet Murphy, the Rebels grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck.

Points from top scorer Valerie Mulcahy, hard-working forward Nollaig Cleary and Murphy got the ball rolling before sub Rhona Ní Bhuachalla banged home a 44th-minute goal to put the cat among the pigeons.

Two further points from Mulcahy (one free) and Nollaig Cleary hauled Cork level at 1-15 to 2-12 and the momentum was with them.

Cork, winners of seven of the last eight All-Ireland titles, sensed Dublin’s vulnerability and kicked for home with further points from Mulcahy, magnificent wing-back Geraldine O’Flynn, Mulcahy again and Ciara O’Sullivan. And Dublin were left to reflect on another heartbreaking reverse.

It had all looked so good for Paul Gilheaney’s charges as the 15/8 pre-match underdogs led by 1-8 to 0-7 at half-time.

Lindsey Davey scored the 10th-minute goal and when opposite corner-forward Lindsey Peat netted five minutes after half-time, it all looked so good for Dublin.

But Cork are not champions for nothing and this victory ranks up there with some of the finest performances produced during Ryan’s glory-filled reign.

Scorers for Cork: V Mulcahy 0-8 (5f), R Ní Bhuachalla 1-0, D O’Sullivan, N Cleary 0-3 each, G O’Flynn (1f), C O’Sullivan 0-2 each, J Murphy 0-1.

Scorers for Dublin: S Aherne 0-7 (5f), L Davey, L Peat 1-0 each, N Healy 0-2, A McGuinness, N McEvoy, S Goldrick 0-1 each.

CORK: M O’Brien; A M Walsh, B Stack, D O’Reilly; B Corkery, R Buckley, G O’Flynn; J Murphy, Angela Walsh; N Cleary, C O’Sullivan, Annie Walsh; V Mulcahy, D O’Sullivan, O Finn.

Subs: R Ní Bhuachalla for Finn (ht), O Farmer for Annie Walsh (ht), A Barrett for AM Walsh (53).

DUBLIN: C O’Connor; C Ruddy, S McGrath, L Caffrey; M Byrne, S Goldrick, S Finnegan; D Masterson, N McEvoy; K Flood, A McGuinness, N Healy; L Peat, S Aherne, L Davey.

Subs: N Hyland for Flood (44), O Egan for Masterson (48), E Kelly for Peat (54), D Murphy for McEvoy (54), C Ruddy for Healy (57).

Referee: J Niland (Sligo).