Orla Finn says Cork were 'extremely hungry' this season after their semi-final exit last year as they booked a spot in the 2018 All-Ireland decider on Saturday.
Goals from Finn and substitute Saoirse Noonan proved crucial as the 11-time All-Ireland winners eventually pulled away from a gritty Donegal outfit in their last-four tie to score a six-point victory.
"We're absolutely delighted," a relieved Finn told RTÉ Sport after the win that sends them back to Croke Park for a meeting with old rivals Dublin on 16 September.
Cork beat the Dubs in three finals from 2014-2016 on their way to completing six in a row but were beaten by Mayo in the last four in 2017.
"We knew coming out here today it was going to be a tough battle and that's exactly what it was. I suppose after the loss last year we were extremely hungry this year and we're delighted to be going back to Croke Park."
Cork manged to score two goals but Donegal produced a strong defensive display throughout, which Cork sometimes struggled to break through. Finn, who finished the game with a personal tally of 1-3, admits that their system forced the Munster side to be more patient in their attacking play.
"We knew they'd be tough and physical and we just had to rise to the occasion today and try to stick with them. And thankfully we got over the line.
"You've to be extremely patient against a team like that. We tried to be as patient as we could. Maybe we kicked it a few times when it wasn't on but we learned from that and kept trying to kick over the points when we could then."
"We often play good in the second half, we kind of get things together - keep up the intensity and keep driving on. And it worked for us today."
Finn paid tribute to fellow goalscorer Noonan who made a major contribution to Cork's victory after her introduction in the 36th minute, including that vital second goal before the end of the game.
"Yeah, that finished it. There were a few minutes left in the game and Saoirse is brilliant. In most games she comes on in she gets a goal. She got unbelievable scores today and they came at the right time."