Cork finished strongly to advance to the last four and Walsh enjoyed a battle royal with Cora Staunton, who still managed to escape for four points from play.
Walsh admitted: “It was very tough, touch and go.
“They came within three points in the second half and my heart was in my mouth.
“I was fearful because at any stage, with the likes of Cora, she could get in for a goal and that’s what we were trying to stop. Thankfully we dug very deep at the end.”
Cork were five weeks without a competitive game but still managed to produce a clinical display to dispense with the Westerners, without ever hitting the high notes. And Walsh even managed to get forward to fist a crucial point.
“I don’t know have I ever scored in Championship,” she beamed. “I think I scored a goal against Roscommon years ago. I think it was the league, I’m not even sure. It’s not often I get forward.”
The Rebels finished with a flourish to book their place in the last four once again and with hopes of a ninth All-Ireland crown in 10 seasons still very much in sights.
Eimear Scally came off the bench to palm home Cork’s only goal of the game eight minutes from time and Mayo finished the game with 14 players when midfielder Claire Egan was sin-binned.
Cork never hit the high notes but still had more than enough class and experience to take care of Mayo.
Mayo stuttered past Westmeath by just a point the previous weekend but Cork were simply a bridge too far.
Mayo were just a point behind early in the second half when leading scorer Staunton kicked two early scores in the second half, but that was the cue for Cork to open up with four points without reply, three of them from prolific inside forward Valerie Mulcahy.
Player of the match Rena Buckley was also on target for the Leesiders and while Mayo responded with two points, to cut the deficit back to three, Cork stepped on the gas once again to get the job done.
At the end of a disappointing first half, Cork led by 0-7 to 0-4, having battled into the wind in the first half. The match-up between these two heavyweights developed into a real war of attrition, and it was Cork who coped best as the rain began to sheet across the pitch before half-time.
Cork were intent on scoring a first-half goal but Mayo, to their credit, defended in numbers.
Goalkeeper Yvonne Byrne’s kick-outs provided some difficulty for her team-mates but after one loose delivery, Cork failed to capitalise in the fourth minute, as Helena Lohan managed to scramble Grace Kearney’s effort off the line.
Mulcahy had kicked the opening score and by half-time, the Rockbán star had four points to her credit, including two frees.
At the other end, Staunton, despite being well policed by Walsh, was causing Cork most problems. Staunton scored three first-half points from play, including a sensational effort off the outside of her right boot. That score tied the game at 0-4 apiece but Cork finished the first half well, Walsh storming forward for her superb 23rd minute point, before Mulcahy converted two close-range frees.
Scorers for Cork: V Mulcahy (0-7, 5fs), E Scally (1-0), O Farmer (0-2), Angela Walsh, G O’Flynn (f), R Buckley, C O’Sullivan, E Farmer, N Cleary (0-1 each).
Scorers for Mayo: C Staunton (0-7, 3fs), G Kelly (0-2).
CORK: M O’Brien; R Phelan, Angela Walsh, B Stack; V Foley, D O’Reilly, G O’Flynn; R Buckley, B Corkery; Annie Walsh, C O’Sullivan, O Farmer; V Mulcahy, G Kearney, E Farmer.
Subs: O Finn for E Farmer (40), A Barrett for Foley (44), E Scally for Kearney (48), N Cleary for Mulcahy (52), AM Walsh for O Farmer (54).
MAYO: Y Byrne; M Corbett, H Lohan, A Bell; C Connelly, S Tierney, M Carter; C Egan, K Sullivan; G Kelly, F McHale, N Kelly; P Coyle, C Staunton, S Rowe.
Subs: F Doherty for N Kelly (26), A Herbert for Coyle (38), A Touhy for F Doherty (49), D Doherty for G Kelly (50).
Referee: G Corrigan (Down).