Not many 21-year-olds are on the cusp of a shot at a fourth TG4 senior All-Ireland title but Cork’s Eimear Scally is intent on helping her side to a 12th championship crown.
Part of the Cork senior panel since 2014, Scally is a key cog in a fluid Cork forward line and her 2-3 tally from their convincing quarter-final win against Westmeath only continued her impressive scoring rate in 2018.
The Éire Óg player had to be content with a place on the bench for Cork’s opening three games of the summers against Tipperary, Kerry and Monaghan, but a total of 3-9 from just two starts shows she’s on a rich vein of form.
But Cork will be tested this afternoon when they face Donegal at Dr Hyde Park (2.45pm) in the last four, and with a huge prize up for grabs for the victors, Scally is keen to play her part and add to her 2014, ’15 and ’16 titles.
“You never really look to the final,” said Scally.
Obviously, it’s always in the back of your head and you think ‘Jeez would be great to get to an All-Ireland again’, but you have to look at the next game.
“I suppose people were talking to us, supporters and that, saying that it was expected for us to win against Westmeath, but we never, ever think like that. We only take each game as it comes.
“The last big game we played against Donegal was in the league final last year. This year they beat us too in the league.
“But we’ll be confident going into that game. Donegal have always kind of stood out with their key forwards like Yvonne Bonner, Geraldine McLaughlin and the Hegartys. They are all very good footballers; they are all smart footballers.”
It isn’t just Scally that has shown form in front of goal this summer for Cork, with her side accumulating a stunning 23 goals and 69 points in their five championship games of this season.
While Scally admits that last summer’s heart-breaking two-point defeat to Mayo in the semi-final was a packed with regrets and what-ifs, she says there has been no concerted effort to try and amass goals in 2018.
I didn’t even know that we had scored that many this year. I suppose we have been lucky that way, we’re making the chances. In fairness we’re sticking them away well enough this year,” she said.
“Going on last year we were left looking at goal chances we should have taken and that cost us in the end. We’re trying to be more clinical this time.
“We are not too hell-bent on going for goals but if the chance is there you have to go for it. The bigger and better the teams you play, you will have to work harder for those chances. When the chances come for you, you simply have to take them.
“Do you know what, we haven’t talked about last year much. Obviously we addressed it at the start but we haven’t really looked to analyse it – we were a very different team.
“We are much better, way more focused going into games and much more clinical.”