Meath…………………………2-12

Cor………………………………2-10 (aet)

Forget Kevin Foley’s goal, this was the greatest of all Meath comebacks.

Ninety seconds were left in this ladies senior semi final and Meath trailed 2-8 to 0-8 and looked dead and buried.

Incredibly they got two goals, including a well hit Stacey Grimes penalty, and edged home in extra time to earn a place in the decider against Dublin.

Seven behind with three minutes of regulation time remaining, Meath conjured 2-1 out of nowhere to send the game to extra-time and it was last year’s intermediate champions who mined the necessary scores in extra-time to come out on top at the end of 80 minutes.

Stacey Grimes (free) and the outstanding Emma Duggan swapped points with Doireann O’Sullivan and Eimear Scally (free) as the sides were again level – 2-10 apiece – after the first 10-minute period of extra-time.

Duggan kicked her fourth of the semi-final to edge the Royals in front on 75 minutes, with Cork then squandering a whole host of chances to level matters as Eimear Scally, from a free, Doireann O’Sullivan, and Erika O’Shea failed to find the target.

Duggan sealed victory for Meath in the final seconds when she brought her tally for the day to 1-5 as the winners caught Cork on the break.

Meath had secured extra-time from the unlikeliest of positions, the Royals trailing by 2-8 to 0-7 with three minutes left on the countdown clock.

Substitute Niamh Gallogly kicked her second point to leave six between the sides and although Stacey Grimes then converted a 58th-minute penalty to leave one score between the teams, there looked to be inadequate time for Meath to locate an equaliser.

Against all odds, though, Meath hit the net for the second time with 26 seconds remaining, Emma Duggan the scorer after Marie Ambrose had been turned over on the 20-metre line.

Cork, in truth, had no one to blame but themselves for the game finishing level at the end of the regulation hour as they needlessly overplayed possession far too close to their own goal after the Stacey Grimes penalty when the obvious approach should have been to get the ball away from their goals as quickly as possible and then hold Meath out the field as the clock ran down to zero.

Cork had come out on top by 1-9 to 0-10 when they and Meath clashed in the Championship’s group stages last month and this latest meeting was similarly low scoring as Meath once again adopted a defence-first approach.

Cork struggled in the first-half to break down Meath’s heavily fortified rearguard but succeeded in unlocking the Royals during a six-minute period early in the second-half.

Level at 0-4 all upon the change of ends, Cork kicked 1-3 without reply between the 34th and 40th minute to put the first bit of daylight between the sides all afternoon.

Eimear Scally added to her two first-half points with three further white flags during this Cork burst, the Rebels then sourcing the first green flag of this semi-final. Meath ‘keeper Monica McGuirk got a strong glove to Sadhbh O’Leary’s shot, but it wasn’t enough to prevent Doireann O’Sullivan – who was hugely influential following her early introduction for her injured sister Ciara – kicking the ball across the white paint.

Cork continued to keep Meath at arm’s length thereafter and looked to have both feet in the final when Scally, set up by Doireann, palmed to the net for Cork’s second goal on 53 minutes to extend their lead to seven, 2-8 to 0-7.

But as outlined above, there was a most dramatic of comebacks just around the corner that ensured this All-Ireland semi-final had more than a fair bit of road still to travel.

After 80 minutes, it was Meath who were celebrating having secured a first senior final appearance.

The first-half had been little different to the second as heavily populated defences was very much the order of the day, both Cork and Meath funneling players back in sizeable numbers when without possession.

No question but Meath were absolutely the more defensive orientated of the two teams, Eamonn Murray’s charges putting 13 behind the ball right from the first play after Cork won the throw-in. All bar Niamh O’Sullivan and Bridgetta Lynch took up station in the Meath half of the field, and that’s how the Royals set up for all of the first-half.