Galway ladies have no answer to Cork’s goal blitz

Galway's Caitriona Cormican gets to the ball ahead of Cork's Melissa Duggan during Saturday's All-Ireland ladies football quarter-final in Mullingar. Photos: Matt Browne/Sportsfile.

Cork 6-19

Galway 1-10

WHEN midfielder Caitriona Cormican split the posts in the 16th minute with a beautiful strike off her left, Galway led Cork by 0-7 to 1-1 and were dominating all over the field. By the time Mairéad Seoighe tallied Galway’s eighth point in the 37th minute, the Rebelettes had accumulated 3-11 without reply.

It was a relentless period of dominance no one could have foreseen, not least the Galway players and management who were left shell shocked at the final whistle at what had transpired. The seven week break certainly had a bearing on Galway’s performance on Saturday, but the Tribeswomen were quick out of the blocks and set the tone from the off, looking dangerous with every attack.

So how did it all go so pear-shaped from there? Well, a couple of simple lapses of concentration in defence gifted Cork two of their three first half goals and the influential Cormican was also forced off through injury which was a huge blow.

Playing with the aid of the wind, Galway could have rattled the net in the opening moments when Áine McDonagh broke through right from the throw in. McDonagh stretched the Cork defence and laid off a handpass to Tracey Leonard, who in turn found Megan Glynn, but Glynn’s effort was well snuffed out by Martina O’Brien in the Cork goal.

Galway though were not disheartened by the early miss, with Leonard tallying their opening point of the day but they were soon rattled when Áine O’Sullivan bundled home Orla Finn’s free kick which dropped dangerously in the Galway penalty area to give Cork the ideal start.

Galway responded impressively and scored six points on the trot to firmly establish themselves in the contest, with Mairéad Seoighe and Olivia Divilly notching the pick of the scores. Not only were Galway keeping the scoreboard ticking over, they were carving open the Cork defence at will and it only seemed like a matter of time before Stephen Glennon’s charges found the back of the net.

Their high intensity running game and sharp interplay had the Cork defence at sixes and sevens, and with a bit more composure, Galway could have been well ahead, but the Tribeswomen paid the price for not taking their opportunities in the end.

A free by player of the match Orla Finn settled Cork nerves and with that, the Leesiders began to play the game on their terms. Galway attackers began running in to cul de sacs going forward while at the other end, the defence began to look more and more vulnerable when Cork ran at them.

With the sides tied at 0-7 to 1-4, Cork went through for their second goal. A quick free kick by Ciara O’Sullivan found Emma Spillane, who had ghosted up the line totally free. Cork exploited the overlap expertly with Finn supplying the final pass for Niamh Cotter to blast to the net.

From there the floodgates opened. Sisters Ciara and Doireann O’Sullivan added scores before quick thinking by Finn from a free kick found Eimear Scally who turned Emer Flaherty and scored Cork’s third goal of the day having caught the Galway defence napping. Three further scores from Finn and one by Áine O’Sullivan left Galway needing a miracle in the second half; 3-10 to 0-7 down at the break.

Full coverage in this week’s Connacht Tribune.