Gaule and Dalton inspire Kilkenny to a famous win
Kilkenny 2-10 Cork 1-11
Kilkenny are into their fifth All-Ireland final in the five years.
A masterclass from Denise Gaule inspired Brian Dowling's team past a spirited Cork side in what was a tremendous advertisement for camogie in Páirc Uí Chaoimh.
Cork started the better, and it has to be said, finished the better but Kilkenny made hay in the middle third of the game - the November elements doing nothing to slow them down. For them, Gaule and her partner in crime Ann Dalton were incredible with the duo amassing 1-9 between them. Miriam Walsh too, played a crucial role in their win with her well-taken second half goal, while Claire Phelan finished with a powerful flourish in defence.
For Cork, the impressive Chloe Sigerson, Orla Cronin and Aishling Thompson were unlucky to find themselves on the losing side, but Kilkenny were deserving of their victory. It says a lot about this Kilkenny team, that they're coming back for more three All-Ireland final losses later, and Brian Dowling certainly has them back to their best this year.
Cork were in their groove from the word-go. Chloe Sigerson did well to score an early free from distance and that settled Paudie Murray's side into the game.
The energy and pace of Orla Cronin was a constant outlet for them with the Enniskeane forward the fulcrum of their running game. Cronin drew a number of Kilkenny defenders before setting Sigerson up for her second, a fine point from open play, and Cork were dancing.
Kilkenny meanwhile, were shell-shocked. They hadn't won any 50:50 balls in the opening five minutes and Cork made them pay, making it 1-3 to no score after just seven minutes of play.
Kilkenny backs were to the wall but they showed immense character for the rest of the half. Despite a few rushed shots and poor wides, they gathered composure with the gifted Denise Gaule a pivotal figure in their revival. As well as some dead-eyed accuracy from placed balls, the Windgap player scored a raker on the run which gave her side momentum. Clara's Mary O'Connell was making her presence felt too, with two of the finest from open play.
Brian Dowling's team kept their foot on the gas and they made it level scores when the brilliant Ann Dalton scored a goal fit to grace any stage. Dalton caught a skyscraping Gaule free before placing low into Amy Lee's corner. Game on.
Pure class from one of the best around.
Ann Dalton catches one high in the sky, and places it in the bottom corner.
Game on in Páirc Uí Chaoimh 🔥pic.twitter.com/tssFqVebCl
— GAA JOE (@GAA__JOE) November 28, 2020
A Gaule free just before half-time gave them the lead for the first time. The momentum was firmly with Kilkenny at the interval.
They retained the upper hand in the early stages of the second half as Miriam Walsh latched onto a fine Gaule pass before showing some tremendous composure to finish. Aoife Doyle's speed and athleticism put the fear of God into the Cork defenders while Katie Nolan worked tirelessly.
Three up with 20 to play. The smart money was on Kilkenny.
From here, Cork took over however with Aishling Thompson winning a number of 60:40 balls. Cronin's running was still causing havoc but while they had the upper hand, Kilkenny's backs held out. A lot of this was down to the composure and experience of Collette Dormer and the aforementioned Phelan.
Up front, possession was at a premium for them but when the game was there to be won, Gaule and Phelan stepped up. And Kilkenny are still standing.
1. Aoife Norris
2. Michelle Teehan
3. Claire Phelan
4. Davina Tobin
5. Collette Dormer
6. Meighan Farrell
7. Grace Walsh
8. Anna Farrell
9. Laura Murphy
10. Miriam Walsh (1-0)
11. Ann Dalton (1-1)
12. Aoife Doyle
13. Mary O'Connell (0-2)
14. Denise Gaule (0-8, 0-6f)
15. Katie Nolan
Subs: Steffi Fitzgerald for Laura Murphy (HT), Niamh Deely for Michelle Teehan (48), Kelly Ann Doyle for Mary O'Connell (53)
1. Amy Lee
2. Libby Coppinger
3. Laura Treacy
4. Maebh 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 (0-2f)
12. Katrina Mackey (0-2)
13. Gemma O'Connor (1-0)
20. Linda Collins
15. Saoirse McCarthy