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Sunday 21 October 2018

Dubs bury Cork demons to land two in a Rowe

Dublin 3-11 Cork 1-12

DELIGHT: Dublin’s Sinéad Finnegan, Amy Connolly and Niamh Collins celebrate at the final whistle. Pics: Sportsfile
DELIGHT: Dublin’s Sinéad Finnegan, Amy Connolly and Niamh Collins celebrate at the final whistle. Pics: Sportsfile

There was no point denying it so Mick Bohan didn't bother.

Yesterday, after guiding Dublin to their second All-Ireland ladies title on the spin, Bohan came into the media room in Croke Park and laid it all out on the table.

After the suffering inflicted by Cork in three consecutive All-Ireland finals in 2014, '15 and '16, Dublin getting their own back was a box that went unsatisfactorily unticked in last year's campaign, despite claiming the Brendan Martin Cup.

"We have been building for this for 18 months since we came in," Bohan admitted after his team's 3-11 to 1-12 win in a victory his team massaged through to its rightful conclusion in an exhibition of ball retention not unlike the all-conquerin g Dublin men's team.

"We thought it was going to happen sooner and when we came in we felt that they were the standard-bearers and to take the crown we would have had to take them out," he went on.

"We couldn't make it out to be more than a game for this group coming into it, but everybody knew that it was and that wasn't shying away from it.

"If we were to build it up in the camp it could become an immovable beast and we didn't want that."

Of course, the inevitable consequence of winning back-to-back All-Ireland titles is the slowly-rising three-in-a-row chatter.

"It's been said already!" laughed Carla Rowe, Dublin's double goal-scorer in Croke Park yesterday on the day they not only got to trample down their old Cork demons, they confirmed their succession as the women's game's pre-eminent force.

In this, Dublin's timing is superb.

Yesterday, 50,141 spectators came throu gh the turnstiles into Croke Park, the sixth highest attendance for a GAA match this year.

Ladies football is beginning to thrive to an unprecedented and unpredicted level, just as Dublin stretch their lead from the field.

They won the League for the first time this year.

Now, they're All-Ireland champions again, just their third title since the competition's inception in 1974.

The day also marked Cork's first defeat in an All-Ireland final and Dublin's first Championship victory over the Rebels.

And though Cork made this game a fight and grappled to within a point of Dublin in the 48th minute, there could be no denying the superiority of the champions.

They kicked just three wides in 60 minutes of high-intensity, hard-tackling football.

They won all but one of Ciara Trant's restarts. And they nurtured possession expertly.

Rowe's two goals were calmly and clinically taken off her le sser-spotted left foot.

But Sinéad Goldrick's 57th minute point symbolised all that was good about Dublin yesterday.

With Cork in desperate need of a goal, Dublin played keep ball and went th rough countless phases of measured play before Goldrick made one of her surging runs from deep into the central channel of the Cork defence and pointed on the run.

Almost all of the game's best performers were Dubs.

Cork's goal through Áine O'Sullivan was hugely fortuitous - firstly because referee Garryowen McMahon appeared to have signalled for a free-out after Goldrick was fouled and secondly, when O'Sullivan's point attempt dropped short and under the Dublin cross bar.

Orla Finn kicked eight frees from eight attempts for Cork but Dublin's quality was more apparent.

Happy

Lauren Magee had her finest performance of the summer.

Lyndsey Davey, although scoreless, was immeasurably industrious throughout.

And captain Sinéad Aherne demonstrated why she is now a shoo-in to succeed Noelle Healy as Footballer of the Year.

"We wanted to do two in a row," Goldrick admitted afterwards.

"I don't think we would be happy with just the one."

They've ticked all the boxes now.

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