Cork blasted out an ominous statement of intent as they demolished Galway by 24 points to book a place in the last four of the TG4 All-Ireland Ladies Football Championship.
The defending champions, even without injured 2016 Player of the Year Bríd Stack, were hugely impressive as they notched six goals at TEG Cusack Park in Mullingar to set up a clash with Donegal or Mayo on September 2.
A devastating scoring blitz approaching half-time in this All-Ireland quarter-final put paid to the challenge of the Connacht champions – as Cork went from three points behind midway through the first half to 12 clear at the break.
Ephie Fitzgerald’s in-form charges produced arguably their best display under his stewardship, scoring 3-11 without reply in a scintillating spell before and after the break.
Cork were 1-01 to 0-07 adrift before they opened up with both barrels to crush the challenge of Galway, who were without a competitive fixture since beating Mayo on July 2.
Cork, playing against the breeze, were sitting deep and pulling plenty of bodies behind the ball but Galway’s long-range shooting was impressive.
The floodgates would soon open, however, as Cork an unanswered 2-09 approaching half-time to lead by 3-10 to 0-07 at the break.
Galway suffered a blow when midfielder Catriona Cormican went off injured in the after 18 minutes and that seemed to affect the Tribeswomen, who were attempting to manage a seven-week layoff.
Cormican was the scorer of Galway’s seventh point but they sunk without trace as Cork, who improved significantly on their qualifier victory over Monaghan, upped the ante.
Three quick points brought them level at 1-04 to 0-07 before Cork bagged their second goal eight minutes before the break.
Emma Spillane and brilliant player of the match Orla Finn created the opening, before midfielder Niamh Cotter found the net with a classy finish.
Three minutes later, Finn’s quick free found Eimear Scally and she turned inside Galway captain Emer Flaherty before slotting home brilliantly.
With the O’Sullivan sisters, Doireann and captain Ciara, pulling the strings, Cork added four more points before the break and another 1-02 early in the second half to move 17 points clear, 4-12 to 1-07.
Galway’s long wait for a score, which dated back to the quarter-hour, finally ended after more than 20 minutes when Mairéad Seoighe popped over a free.
Tracey Leonard added another free but it was brief respite as Bríd O’Sullivan came off the bench to make a big impact.
Deirdre Brennan registered a consolation goal for Galway in the 41st minute but O’Sullivan netted twice before the finish to add further gloss to the scoreboard from a Cork perspective.
Galway suffered another massive blow with nine minutes left when Flaherty was yellow-carded, leaving the Westerners to finish the game with 14 players.
Bríd O’Sullivan was on target with goals in the 45th and 54th minutes – and Cork’s quest for the seven-in-a-row remains very much course Scorers for Cork: O Finn 0-10 (4f), B O’Sullivan 2-01, E Scally 1-03, Á O’Sullivan & D O’Sullivan (0-01f) 1-2 each, N Cotter 1-00, C O’Sullivan 0-01.
Scorers for Galway: D Brennan 1-00, M Seoighe (1f) & T Leonard (2f) 0-03 each, S Hynes, C Cormican, O Divilly & M Glynn 0-01 each.
Cork: M O’Brien; E Meaney, R Phelan, E Spillane; M Duggan, A Hutchings, S Kelly; N Cotter, O Farmer; C O’Sullivan, D O’Sullivan, A Walsh; E Scally, Á O’Sullivan, O Finn.
Subs: B O’Sullivan for Á O’Sullivan (40), J O’Shea for Farmer (40), M O’Callaghan for Walsh (40), L Colohan for Scally (47), Á Hayes for C O’Sullivan (52).
Galway: D Gower; F Cooney, E Flaherty, S Hynes; Á Seoighe, B Hannon, S Burke; L Gannon, C Cormican; O Divilly, M Seoighe, Á McDonagh; T Leonard, S Conneally, M Glynn.
Subs: D Brennan for Cormican (inj., 19), S Molloy for Á Seoighe (h.t.), D Gorman for Cooney (37), A Davoren for Conneally (47), N Duggan for T Leonard (54).
Referee: N McCormack (Laois).