Cork started without All Star Valerie Mulcahy, who had just returned from holidays, but her absence made no difference as Orlaith Farmer netted just two minutes in, while a penalty by Emma Farmer on the 29th minute gave Eamonn Ryan’s side a three-point lead at the turnaround (2-7 to 2-4), with Deirdre Hallissey and Deirdre Corridan registering Kerry’s goals on the 16th and 24th minutes respectively.
The 2013 Division 2 champions were dealt a blow upon the restart when captain Bernie Breen was sin-binned, but it didn’t hamper their play as Hallissey found the net for Kerry again on the 37th minute.
However, with good play from Geraldine O’Flynn, Rena Buckley and Briege Corkery, Cork kept William O’Sullivan’s troops scoreless for the final quarter, whilst each kicking vital points in the closing stages to secure a final spot against Dublin on May 10 in Parnell Park.
Dublin’s 4-15 to 1-20 win over Monaghan in Dunleer yesterday saw them reach their first ever Division 1 National League Final, with former Farney coach Gregory McGonigle now at the helm of the Blues.
In her first start of the season, former Irish basketball star Lynsey Peat was the star of the show, bagging 3-1 for the Dubliners, while Noelle Healy added their fourth.
Monaghan trailed 0-8 to 2-10 at half-time, and with a quarter of an hour to go Dublin led by as many as 12 points before a penalty by Cathriona McConnell reduced the deficit, but the damage was already done.
Elsewhere in the Division 3, Armagh beat Tipperary 9-14 to 0-2, and Waterford denied Leitrim 3-14 to 1-13. While in Division 3, Galway dispatched Meath, 3-21 to 0-11.
Scorers for Cork: G O’Flynn (0-5, 4fs), E Farmer (2-1, 2-0 pen), R Buckley, B Corkery and D O’Sullivan (0-2 each), O Farmer (1-0) and O Finn (0-1).
Scorers for Kerry: D Hallissey (2-0), L Ní Mhuirtceartaigh (0-3, 1f), D Corridon (1-0), B Breen, S Houlihan (1f) (0-2 each), L Galvin (0-1).
CORK: M O’Brien; R Phelan, Angela Walsh, B Stack; V Foley, AM Walsh, G O’Flynn; R Buckely, B Corkery; Annie Walsh, C O’Sullivan, O Farmer; E Farmer, D O’Sullivan, O Finn.
Subs: A Barrett for R Phelan (ht), V Mulcahy for O Finn (43) and Eimear Scally for Annie Walsh (47) and D O’Reilly for E Farmer (55).
KERRY: A Brosnan; J Brosnan, A Desmond, G Crowley; M Quirke, C Lynch, D Hallissey; E Sherwood, B Breen; SJ Joy, D Corridon, L Galvin; S Houlihan, D Murphy, L Ní Mhuirceartaigh.
Subs: A Leonard for M Quirke (23), P Dennehy for D Murphy (ht), L Scanlon for D Corridon (53) and A Lyons for G Crowley (58).
Referee: M McEvoy (Wexford).