Eamonn Ryan’s Cork produced a remarkable comeback against Dublin to book their place in the semi-finals of the TG4 All-Ireland Ladies Senior Football Championship with a 1-19 to 2-12 victory.
Dublin looked on course for a landmark win over Cork in the second half as they led by 2-12 to 0-9.
But after Sinead Aherne popped over a point to put the Sky Blues nine points in front, they would not score again for the remainder of the game.
Instead, All-Ireland champions Cork ran riot with a run of 1-10 without reply in the final twenty minutes to clinch a sensational four-point win.
This was another bitter defeat for Dublin at the hands of Cork, and reminiscent of the 2011 quarter-final meeting between the sides at the same venue, St Brendan’s Park in Birr.
Two years ago, Cork came with a run of seven unanswered points to edge past their big city rivals but this latest comeback was even more noteworthy because the Leesiders looked dead and buried in the second half.
Dublin were rampant against a Cork side that had lost twice to Kerry in the Munster championship, before stuttering past Armagh in the qualifiers.
But Dublin, who had not played a competitive game since the Leinster final six weeks previously, ran out of steam as Cork came on strong.
Powered forward by player of the match Juliet Murphy, the beaten Munster finalists grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck.
Points from top scorer Valerie Mulcahy, hard-working forward Nollaig Cleary and Murphy got the ball rolling for Cork before sub Rhona Ní Bhuachalla banged home a 44th minute goal to put the cat among the pigeons.
Two further points from Mulcahy (one free) and Nollaig Cleary hauled Cork level at 1-15 to 2-12 and all of the momentum was with them at the Offaly venue.
Cork, winners of seven of the last eight All-Ireland titles, sensed Dublin’s vulnerability and kicked for home with further points from Mulcahy, magnificent wing-back Geraldine O’Flynn, Mulcahy again and Ciara O’Sullivan.
And Dublin were left to reflect on another heartbreaking reverse against Cork.
It had all looked so good for Paul Gilheaney’s charges as the 15-8 pre-match underdogs led by 1-8 to 0-7 at half-time.
Lindsey Davey scored the tenth minute goal and when opposite corner forward Lindsey Peat netted five minutes after half-time, it all looked so good for Dublin.
But Cork are not champions for nothing and surely this victory ranks up there with some of the finest performances produced during Ryan’s glory-filled reign.
Cork: M O’Brien; A.M. Walsh, B Stack, D O’Reilly; B Corkery, R Buckley, G O’Flynn; J Murphy, Angela Walsh; N Cleary, C O’Sullivan, Annie Walsh; V Mulcahy, D O’Sullivan, O Finn.
Scorers for Cork: V Mulcahy 0-8 (5f), R Ní Bhuachalla 1-0, D O’Sullivan 0-3, N Cleary 0-3, G O’Flynn 0-2 (1f), C O’Sullivan 0-2, J Murphy 0-1.
Subs: R Ní Bhuachalla for Finn (h.t.), O Farmer for Annie Walsh (HT), A Barrett for A.M. Walsh (53).
Dublin: C O’Connor; C Ruddy, S McGrath, L Caffrey; M Byrne, S Goldrick, S Finnegan; D Masterson, N McEvoy; K Flood, A McGuinness, N Healy; L Peat, S Aherne, L Davey.
Scorers for Dublin: S Aherne 0-7 (5f), L Davey & L Peat 1-0 each, N Healy 0-2, A McGuinness, N McEvoy & S Goldrick 0-1 each.
Subs: N Hyland for Flood (44), O Egan for Masterson (48), E Kelly for Peat (54), D Murphy for McEvoy (54), C Ruddy for Healy (57).