Mulcahy weaves magic

Cork 4-12 Laois 2-08

The Rockbán All Star bagged 3-2 in the first-half at Sean Treacy Park in Tipperary Town as Laois were sent packing. Cork’s victory sets up a May 11 final showdown with Mayo, in what will be a repeat of the 2004 and 2009 Division 1 deciders.

Mulcahy, a prolific goalscorer, was in scintillating form again yesterday as the Leesiders, playing against the wind in the first half, opened up a 3-5 to 0-4 half-time lead.

Trailing by ten points at the break, Tom McKittrick’s Laois could have folded the tent and accepted a hiding but to their credit, they drew the second-half as Ciara Burke scored two fine goals. But the damage was done in that opening half as Angela Walsh, renowned as a defender but playing very well in an attacking role, set up free-taker Mulcahy for her opening goal in the 15th minute.

That strike settled Cork’s early nerves as they had lost Annie Walsh to a yellow card in the 5th minute. Walsh was involved in an early incident that saw Laois midfielder Sarah Quigley requiring treatment for over three minutes. And when play resumed, a cleary fired-up Walsh was dismissed for a high challenge on Martina Dunne.

But Cork were 1-1 to 0-2 in front when Walsh, who kicked two second half points, resumed at midfield.

And the writing was on the wall for Laois, who beat Cork earlier in the season, when Mulcahy scored her second goal midway through the first-half.

Mulcahy’s initial shot for a point hit the upright but the corner forward was on hand to net the rebound.

And Mulcahy’s hat-trick was complete in the fourth minute of first-half stoppage time as Cork killed the game against a Laois side that managed just a single point from play before the break, while also registering 12 wides in total.

The second-half was much better from a Laois perspective as Burke netted just 17 seconds after the restart.

Seven points down, that was as good as it got for the O’Moore County but to lose by ten was an achievement in itself as Cork led by 14 points twice in the second-half.

Angela Walsh’s crossfield ball set up Rhona Ní Bhuachalla’s unstoppable goal in the 44th minute before Burke notched a consolation goal for Laois with four minutes of normal time remaining.

Cork boss Eamonn Ryan reflected: “We were very happy at half-time, having conceded 0-4. But we were a bit disappointed with the second half – 2-8 is a lot to concede.”

Ryan also admitted he was surprised to hear that Mayo had beaten Monaghan in the other semi-final, played in Ballinamore.

He acknowledged: “Everyone would have expected Monaghan to win.”

Scorers for Cork: V Mulcahy 3-5 (0-5f), R Ní Bhuachalla 1-2, Annie Walsh & O Farmer 0-2 each, E Farmer 0-1.

Scorers for Laois: C Burke 2-1, T Lawlor 0-5 (4f), Mary Kirwan 0-2f.

CORK: E Harte; Ann Marie Walsh, B Stack, A Barrett; D O’Reilly, B Corkery, G O’Flynn; Annie Walsh, R Buckley; O Farmer, Angela Walsh, O Finn; V Mulcahy, R Ní Bhuachalla, E Farmer.

Subs: D O’Sullivan for Finn (36), V Foley for Barrett (51), R Phelan for Ann Marie Walsh (55), N Cleary for Ní Bhuachalla (57), S Kelly for E Farmer (60).

LAOIS: C Dollard; C Dunne, J Moore, M O’Grady; R Phelan, A Taylor, N Kirwan; A Quigley, S Quigley; M Murphy, T Lawlor, C Burke; Martha Kirwan, M Dunne, Mary Kirwan.

Subs: S Doogue for S Quigley (25), L.M. Maher for Martina Kirwan (ht), G Dunne for Phelan (ht), D O’Shea for M Dunne (50), M McEvoy for O’Grady (56).

Referee: PJ Rabbitte (Galway).

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