Kilkenny claw their way back to the All-Ireland Final with thrilling victory over old foes Cork

by on the 29th of November 2020

Liberty Insurance All Ireland Championship Semi Final

Kilkenny: 2-10
Cork: 1-11

It was a misty, miserable day in Páirc Uí Chaoimh but Brian Dowling’s charges proved their tenacity and strength of character to send themselves back to the All-Ireland final for the fifth year in a row.

Coming into the match with a 3-week layoff, there was concern around the county that Kilkenny would be unprepared for the championship intensity that Cork would bring. This belief looked to be proven in the opening minutes, when Cork scored an unanswered 1-03. Kilkenny did their best to rally, including two fantastic points from Mary O’Connell and another from Anne Dalton, but the teams went in for the water-break with the scoreline reading 1-04 to 0-03 in favour of Cork.

The second quarter was a much more balanced affair as the Noresiders got to grips with Cork’s incisive passing game. Denise Gaule put over her first free when Ashling Thompson over-carried the sliotar, and while the Rebels soon pulled one back with an Orla Cronin free, Kilkenny responded with an emphatic 1-02. The goal was a product of a long free in from Gaule, which Dalton latched onto and buried in the far corner. Cork fought back with efforts from Thompson and Chloe Sigerson, but the half-time whistle blew with the score at 1-07 to 1-08 with Kilkenny in the lead.

Kilkenny looked shaky when the match recommenced after another free from Cronin split the posts, bringing the game back to level. However, a brilliant manoeuvre from Miriam Walsh resulted in another goal for the Cats and put them firmly in the driving seat for the rest of the game. Cork also lost All-Star defender Pamela Mackey ten minutes later to an injury acquired as Walsh burst past her for the goal, adding further insult to injury.

The last quarter was an appropriately enthralling denouement to a fantastic match. While the Leesiders pulled back two points to make it a 1-point game with five minutes left, they failed to capitalise on further chances that would have assured them of a win. A crucial Aoife Doyle-won free in the dying minutes, converted by Gaule, was the final score, a decisive conclusion to a thoroughly entertaining game.

After the agony of last year’s defeat, our girls will be out for revenge when they take on Galway in Croke Park in the All-Ireland final on the 12th of December. Go n-éirí an t-ádh leo!

Cork: 1. Amy Lee; 2. Libby Coppinger, 3. Laura Treacy, 4. Meabh Cahalane; 5. Hannah Looney, 6. Pamela Mackey, 7. Laura Hayes; 8. Chloe Sigerson (0-4, 0-1f), 9. Ashling Thompson (0-2); 10. Amy O’Connor, 11. Orla Cronin (0-3f), 12. Katrina Mackey (0-2); 17. Gemma O’Connor (1-0), 14. Linda Collins, 15. Saoirse McCarthy

Substitutions: 20. Niamh O’Callaghan for P. Mackey (43), 22. Cliona Healy for Collins (46), 18. Julia White for McCarthy (52).

Kilkenny: 1. Aoife Norris; 2. Michelle Teehan, 3. Claire Phelan, 4. Davina Tobin; 5. Colette Dormer, 6. Meighan Farrell, 7. Grace Walsh; 8. Anna Farrell, 9. Laura Murphy; 10. Miriam Walsh (1-0), 11. Anne Dalton (1-1),  12. Aoife Doyle; 13. Mary O’Connell (0-2), 14. Denise Gaule (0-7, 0-6f), 15. Katie Nolan.

Substitutions: 18. Steffi Fitzgerald for Murphy (HT), 17. Niamh Deely for Teehan (46), 20. Kellyann Doyle for O’Connell (55)

Referee: Owen Elliot (Antrim)

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