Kilkenny have advanced to their fifth consecutive All-Ireland final after defeating Cork by 2-10 to 1-11 in Páirc Uí Chaoimh on Saturday afternoon.
Cork had the quick start that manager Paudie Murray would have been hoping for when they scored the first three points of the game. Chloe Sigerson scored the opening two points with Orla Cronin extending the Rebels lead. Gemma O’Connor then fired a shot past Kilkenny goalkeeper Aoife Norris to give Cork an early 1-03 to 0-00 lead. Kilkenny found a way back into the game with two unanswered points including a terrific score from play by veteran Anne Dalton. Impressive points from Cork’s Catríona Mackie and Kilkenny’s Mary O’Connell left the score 1-04 to 0-04 as the referee signalled for the first-half water break.
Kilkenny responded to another Cork point with two frees from Denise Gaule reducing the home sides lead to two points. Then, a key moment in the game as Kilkenny took the lead for the first time with a goal from Thomastown’s Anne Dalton to make it 1-07 to 1-06. Two further points from Windgap’s Gaule and points from Cork’s Aisling Thompson and Chloe Sigerson left one-point between the teams at half-time, 1-08 – 1-07.
Kilkenny manager Brian Dowling made a key personnel change at half-time with Stephie Fitzgerald replacing O’Loughlin Gaels’ Laura Murphy. Kilkenny scored a crucial goal at the start of the half with Miriam Walsh hitting a thunderous strike past Cork shot-stopper Amy Lee. Kilkenny held their 2-09 to 1-09 lead until the water break.
Cork clawed their way back to within one-point of the cats with points from Aisling Thompson and Orla Cronin leaving the game on a knife-edge for the entirety of the four minutes of additional time. However, another Gaule free was enough to see Kilkenny advance to the final on December 13 on a scoreline of 2-10 to 1-11 where they will face either Galway or Tipperary.