Cork led by 1-7 to 0-9 at half-time with a goal from Colin O’Brien just before the break, the centre-forward scoring 1-10 in all. Galway took over on the resumption to lead by three only for Cork to respond and, though Niall Coen goaled to make it 1-16 each after 56 minutes, three O’Brien frees saw the Rebels home.
They will play Dublin in the final, with manager John Considine pleased to have got the job done. “We were very tentative, maybe there was pressure,” he said. “It’s all a learning experience. We got over the line not playing well.”
After a slow start, Conor Molloy helped to bring Galway to the fore and they twice led by two points. While Blake Murphy’s super score brought Cork back to a point, 0-7 to 0-6, Enda Egan and Molloy pushed Galway three clear as half-time approached.
O’Brien’s free was followed by a well-taken goal from Brian Roche’s pass as Cork led at half-time but Galway took control on the resumption.
Paul Creaven, sub John Fleming, Mark Kennedy and Molloy were all on target before Cork opened their second-half account, but the game swung again with O’Brien (sideline), Daire Connery and Tommy O’Connell bringing Cork level.
Galway forged two clear again but then Cork reeled off five in a row. Molloy’s eighth kept Galway in touch and, after Roche replied, Coen fired to the top corner, making extra time a live possibility.
O’Brien ensured it wouldn’t be needed as he sent over two Cork frees. Molloy replied but O’Brien had the final say.
C O’Brien 1-10 (seven frees, two sidelines), D Connery 0-3 (two frees, one 65), T O’Connell, B Murphy, B Roche 0-2 each.
C Molloy 0-9 (five frees), N Coen 1-1, Enda Egan (one sideline), J Fleming 0-2 each, D O’Brien, M Kennedy, P Creaven 0-1 each.
E Davis; E Roche, C Nyhan, R Sheehan; C O’Brien, C O’Callaghan, A Walsh Barry; D Connery, L Ryan; T O’Connell, C O’Brien, B Roche; O McCarthy, B Murphy, D Hanlon.
S Twomey for Ryan (23), J Stack for McCarthy (39), S Barrett for Hanlon (52).
D Fahy; E O’Donnell, S Thomas, TJ Brennan; D Shaughnessy, C Lee, D Jordan; D O’Brien, P Creaven; E Egan, C Molloy, N Earner; M Kennedy, J Egan, N Coen.
J Fleming for J Egan (half-time), C Killeen for Egan (51), M Gill for O’Brien (57), A Clarke for Gill (58-60, blood).
A Devine (Westmeath).