Armagh beaten by superior Cork in All Ireland Ladies Senior Football semi final
An exciting surge that took them to the cusp of an All-Ireland final appearance ended in disappointment for Armagh ladies as they were comprehensively beaten by Cork in a one-sided football semi-final.
The Munster outfit were superior in every department and might have triumphed by an even greater margin.
Armagh had gone into the match bolstered by fine wins over fancied Tyrone and Monaghan in the Ulster championship and another excellent victory against Laois in the All Ireland quarter-final.
But on this occasion they were left to rue missed chances, defensive lapses and a lack of concentration.
Armagh skipper Caroline O'Hanlon, who scored 1-4 and tried valiantly to curb Cork's dominance, admitted afterwards that Cork's all-round strength and finishing power had been too much.
"They opened up a lead early on and this made it difficult for us. We tried our best but we were chasing the game and that's never easy against a side that has had as much success as Cork," said O'Hanlon.
Cork, current holders and winners of the All-Ireland senior championship in eight of the last nine years, will now meet Dublin in the final and on the evidence offered against Armagh, yet another title would appear to be in the offing.
O'Hanlon imbued the Orchard county with hope when she drilled home an early penalty to put her team 1-2 to 0-2 in front but by the halfway stage, Cork had shown their hand.
They led at that point, 2-6 to 1-14, with their goals coming from Ciara O'Sullivan and Grace Kearney and when Nollaig Cleary fired in a third goal in the 38th minute, the match effectively ended as a contest.
In all, eight Cork players scored with Valerie Mulcahy and Rhona Ní Bhuachalla completing the goal tally, the former finishing as top scorer with 1-7.
Cork were actually 20 points clear at 5-16 to 1-8, before Siobhán Mackle registered a late consolation goal for Armagh.
But it was too little too late. Cork had already booked their place in the final by then and manager Eamon Ryan knows that unless there is a dramatic slip-up, they will be crowned champions.
ARMAGH: K Daly; M Tennyson, C Morgan, L Kenny; S Reel, N Marley, R O'Reilly; C O'Hanlon, N Henderson; S McCleary, F McKenna, A McCoy; L McConville, K Mallon, M McAlinden. Subs: S Marley for O'Reilly (23), S Mackle for McAlinden (34), M McGuinness for Kenny (43), C Murray for McConville (45), S Feeney for McKenna (51). Scorers: C O'Hanlon 1-4 (1-0 pen, 0-1f), S Mackle 1-0, F McKenna 0-3 (0-1f), S McCleary 0-2, N Henderson & K Mallon 0-1 each.
CORK: M O'Brien; R Phelan, Angela Walsh, B Stack; V Foley, D O'Reilly, G O'Flynn; R Buckley, B Corkery; Annie Walsh, C O'Sullivan, O Farmer; V Mulcahy, G Kearney, O Finn. Subs: N Cleary for Kearney (35), R Ní Bhuachalla for O Farmer (42), A Barrett for Buckley (49), E Farmer for Finn (49), N Kelly for Phelan (52). Scorers: V Mulcahy 1-7 (0-5f), N Cleary 1-3, C O'Sullivan, G Kearney,R Ní Bhuachalla 1-0 each, O Finn 0-3, G O'Flynn 0-2, B Corkery 0-1.
Referee: Gus Chapman (Sligo)