Kildare advanced to the quarter-finals of the TG4 All-Ireland Ladies senior football championship on Sunday but have been handed the toughest draw of all in the last eight, against champions Cork.
The Lilywhites ran out 5-12 to 3-6 winners against Sligo in Kiltoom, to avenge last year’s championship defeat against the same opposition, but were then paired with Cork, who are chasing a fifth successive crown.
Noelle Earley, sister of Kildare footballer Dermot, scored 2-2 for Kildare as they ran out 12-point winners over Sligo.
Beaten Leinster finalists Kildare led by 3-7 to 2-3 at half-time and outscored their opponents by 2-5 to 1-3 in the second half.
Earley scored both of her goals in the first half and Aoife Herbert added another as Stephanie O'Reilly replied with a brace for Sligo, who had defeated Connacht rivals Leitrim in the previous round.
Aisling Jennings and Deirdre Gately added second half goals for Kildare as Noelle Gormley converted a penalty for outclassed Sligo.
Cork will feel confident of advancing to the semi-finals but this was a most encouraging display from Kildare, who must reach unparalleled heights against the all-conquering Rebelettes.
The plum draw of the quarter-finals is the meeting of Ulster champions Tyrone and Mayo, who got past a dogged Laois on Saturday.
Elsewhere, Dublin have been pitted with Kerry while Galway have been drawn against Ulster champions Monaghan, who walloped Down last Saturday.
Mayo and Monaghan emerged from a Pearse Park double-header on Saturday to book their quarter-final spots.
In the opening game, Monaghan had nine players on the scoresheet during the course of a devastating attacking performance as the Farney County demolished Down by 0-22 to 0-9.
Monaghan had defeated the same opposition by seven points in the Ulster semi-final and last year’s beaten All-Ireland finalists cantered to victory in the second half, having led by 0-9 to 0-4 at half-time.
Edel Byrne was in magnificent form with seven points from play for Monaghan but the player of the match award went to diminutive corner forward Ciara McAnespie.
Meanwhile, multiple Allstar Cora Staunton scored 0-12 and player of the match Emma Mullin added 1-6 as Mayo eventually saw off Laois in the second game of the evening.
Mayo, beaten All-Ireland semi-finalists last year, came with a strong late surge as they ran out 2-19 to 1-15 winners.
Staunton and Laois Allstar Tracey Lawlor scored six points each in the first half as Mayo led by 1-10 to 1-8 at the break.
Meanwhile, in Nenagh, Kerry recovered from their Munster final mauling as they advanced to the All-Ireland quarter-finals with a comfortable round 2 qualifier victory over Meath.
Kerry ran out 2-19 to 0-10 winners at McDonagh Park as Debra Murphy netted the Kingdom’s two goals.
The Knockaderry was on target at the beginning and end of the first half to help establish a 2-6 to 0-8 interval advantage.
Kerry then outscored Meath by 0-13 to 0-2 in the second half to book their place in the last eight.
Sarah Houlihan claimed the player of the match award after contributing eight points.
TG4 All-Ireland Ladies SFC quarter-final draw:
Dublin v Kerry
Tyrone v Mayo
(to be played next Saturday, 15 August. Times and venue to be confirmed).
Cork v Kildare
Galway v Monaghan
(to be played on Saturday, 22 August. Times and venues to be confirmed).