Cork 3-10 Mayo 1-9
Cork's quest for their fifth successive TG4 All-Ireland Ladies SFC title continued apace in Nenagh tonight as Amy O'Shea netted twice in their seven-point semi-final win over Mayo.
Cora Staunton impressed for Mayo with a tally of 1-7 earning her the top scorer accolade, but Cork were clinical in the second half as they booked a final place against either Dublin or Monaghan on September 27.
With both teams settling quickly to the task, Emma Mullin fired over an early score for Mayo before Deirdre O’Reilly replied for Cork.
O'Reilly slotted over her second point three minutes later, but scores suddenly were at a premium for both sides.
There were significant setbacks - Cork defender Ciara O’Sullivan struggling with injury and Mayo midfielder Claire Egan was sin-binned following a challenge on Rhona Buckley.
Juliet Murphy popped over the first of her two first half points in the tenth minute, however it was be a further 10 minutes before either side could add to their respective tally.
Goal-scoring opportunities fell to both Staunton and Rhona Buckley but neither player could find the net.
Cork were lording possession at this stage, yet they failed to make the most of their chances until Murphy landed her second free.
Staunton replied with Mayo’s first score in 22-and-a-half minutes, only for Cork to then tee up Amy O'Shea for the first of her goals.
It arrived in the 25th minute when Deirdre O'Reilly fisted the ball across for the in-rushing O'Shea to blast to the net from close range.
A well-taken free from Valerie Mulcahy added to Cork's cushion as they took a 1-5 to 0-2 lead for half-time.
Nonetheless, Eamon Ryan's Rebelettes were rattled on the restart as this determined Mayo side stormed back into contention.
The beaten Connacht finalists closed the gap thanks to two quick frees from Staunton and the loss of Rhona Buckley to a yellow card also dented Cork's hopes.
But they rallied superbly and points from Mulcahy and Geraldine O'Flynn steadied them at 1-7 to 0-4.
Mayo maintained their momentum but with O’Shea adding her second goal and industrious defender Briege Corkery completing the Cork hat-trick with a little over a minute left on the clock, the champions made it through.
Scorers - Cork: A O’Shea 2-0, V Mulcahy 0-3 (0-3f), B Corkery 1-0, D O’Reilly, G O’Flynn, J Murphy (0-2f) 0-2 each, M O’Connor 0-1
Mayo: C Staunton 1-7 (0-6f), E Mullin, S Cafferkey 0-1 each
CORK: E Harte; Rena Buckley, A Walsh, G O’Flynn; C O’Sullivan, B Stack, B Corkery; J Murphy, N Kelly; N Cleary, D O’Reilly, A O’Shea; M O’Connor, V Mulcahy, Rhona Buckley.
Subs used: L Barrett for O’Sullivan (50 mins).
MAYO: Y Byrne; A Loftus, N Tierney, N Hurst; M Carter, C McGing, K Sullivan; L Cafferkey, C Egan; N Beegan, F McHale, S Hughes; T McNicholas, E Mullen, C Staunton.
Subs used: S Cafferkey for McNicholas (22 mins), C O’Hara for Hurst (50).
Referee: Keith Delahunty (Tipperary)