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Saturday 21 October 2017

Dazzling Dublin arethe Leinster Leaders

Jubilant Jackies produce an O'Moore Park melody to retain title

THERE was a sign for the drive-in bingo on the way into Portlaoise on Sunday afternoon. The Jackies hit the jackpot down in O'Moore Park.

It was billed as the battle of the Blues - Dublin in the sky blue, and Laois in their deeper shade.

The Killeshin Pipe Band entertained the audience. They have been doing so since 1964.

Some people enjoyed the music from the apartments that overlook the stadium - free to view.

But a long way from the closing credits, Dublin had their 10th TG4 Leinster Senior title in the bag - 6-21 to 0-4.

Laois just couldn't cope with the pace of the Dublin attack. The Dublin players had basketball hands.

At half-time it was 5-9 to 0-2. Laois didn't manage their first point from play until four minutes from full-time - a strike from Charlotte Delaney.

The great Tracey Lawlor converted three frees. She rolled up her sleeves, but it was hard for the hosts to even get out of their own half.

And only for three super saves from Ciamh Dollard, Dublin would have had nine goals in the bank.

"Ciamh Dollard proved why she was the Goalkeeper of the League," said Dublin manager, Gregory McGonigle. "She made some fantastic saves.

"And in fairness to Laois, they kept battling, even though the score-board was against them. Hopefully now, they'll re-group and get a run through the qualifiers."

The Dublin boss revealed how the Dubs wanted to start smartly. "We got the two early goals and we wanted to make sure we kept the scoreboard ticking over."

As the Dubs reached the All-Ireland quarter-final, Gregory was delighted with the return of injured duo, Denise Masterson and Sinead Goldrick.

"It was great to see Denise get 60 minutes, and Sinead was certainly strong and lively when she came on."

Masterson, the 2010 All-Ireland winning skipper, started at midfield and she decorated an accomplished performance with a tidy point.

And the current captain enhanced her storming display off the bench with three points. She looked fit enough to swim the channel. One minute in attack, the next sweeping up at the back door.

It was Dublin's third title on the trot. And since 2001, the Dubs and Laois have dominated this competition.

They produced some worthy finals at Dr Cullen Park, but, sadly, there was just no debate on this occasion.

Dublin's fitness was impressive. They were able to find the freedom of the Midlands as they poured forward time and again.

They pounced on any breaking ball, and their passing and running off the shoulder was top-of-the-class.

Their zest never dimmed, and the defence was in no mood to concede. Laois had two goal chances. Cliodhna O'Connor dealt with both. Lyndsay Davey produced another excellent offering. She was selected as the Player-of-the-Match.

She sped away to hit the opening goal in the second minute. Lindsay Peat tucked in the second inside the near post three minutes later.

Peat struck the third goal on 18 minutes before Noelle Healy's rasper darted to the top left hand corner. Carla Rowe produced number five.

Dublin were eager to increase their balance. And, late on, the sixth goal came from the delightful Davey, having a season to remember.

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