All-Ireland senior champions Cork produced a power-packed second half performance to return to the semi-finals after a 2-17 to 0-10 victory over Tipperary in Thurles on Saturday.
Cork only had a point to spare when the teams met in the Munster final and this was just as tight in the first half, with the goal just before the interval from Amy O’Connor a critical turning point.
Cáit Devane continued her sharpshooting form of the campaign with five points, augmented by contributions from Mairéad Teehan and Gemma Grace that looked likely to give Tipperary the interval lead.
Ashling Thompson, Orla Cotter, Orla Cronin and Julia White all kept the Leesiders in touch just two points down before O’Connor made it 1-6 to 0-8.
Paudie Murray’s outfit roared out of the traps in the second half and a goal from Katrina Mackey pushed them four clear.
Tipperary had Brid Quinn sent off for a second yellow card soon after and Cork capitalised on the numerical advantage, with O’Connor in particular causing carnage, while Mackey and Briege Corkery also raised white flags.
Devane scored Tipp’s only two points in the second half and not even the late dismissal of Gemma O’Connor, also for a second yellow card, could derail the champs.
Meanwhile, Dublin’s progress under Shane O’Brien continues apace with the Blues coming out on top in Saturday’s Group 2 play-off with Clare at Semple Stadium to secure a spot in the Liberty Insurance senior camogie quarter-final.
They play Wexford at Netwatch Cullen Park today (2.30pm) as a result of thrilling and fiercely-fought 1-11 to 0-12 victory over the Banner girls.
Clare settled better initially and, with the aid of the wind, moved into a three-point lead in four minutes with a couple of scores from Chloe Morey book-ending Eimear Kelly’s neat effort. Dublin needed some of their experienced heads to show them the way and it was 36-year-old Louise O’Hara who infused them with confidence when grabbing a sixth minute goal, after good work from Siobhán Kehoe and Áine Fanning.
A buoyant Dublin quickly moved ahead thanks to a point from Sarah O’Donovan and extended that advantage via Fanning.
Emma O’Driscoll stopped the rot but Kehoe’s riposte was splendid, with a wonderful point from out wide.
Clare upped the ante though and, after Morey forced Síle Nic Coitir into a superb save, Colm Horan’s charges fired over three points without reply to get back in front, thanks to Morey, O’Driscoll and Aoife Keane.
Dublin were well in contention though and points from Fanning and Laoise Quinn, either side of another Morey free sent the sides in level at half time, 0-8 to 1-5.
Denise Lynch had to make a quick early save early in the second half but it was nip and tuck for a long while until points from Kehoe and Ali Maguire propelled Dublin into a two-point lead.
Clare fought back once more and, after Andrea O’Keeffe halved the margin, Morey restored parity with her sixth point. But it was Dublin that had that extra little bit to get over the line thanks a pointed free from Maguire and an injury-time point from play by teenager Maher.
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