| 11.2°C Dublin

Cushen kills off the Cats

A GOLD medal point if ever there was one. A precious piece of Portlaoise porcelain. Arlene Cushen got it.

It sent Dublin into the quarter-final of the All-Ireland Senior Championship. It came just before the end of extra-time.

Arlene, the Dublin right half-back, was way out on the right just in front of the stand and some 50 yards from the Kilkenny posts.

Yet she struck an arrow that turned into the jackpot shot. She later collected the Player-of-the-Match award. She was magnificent.

Up in the press box, RTé's Pat McAuliffe was telling the nation that Dublin were through to the last eight. They are at home to Offaly next Saturday.

There was a small crowd in O'Moore Park to witness the big news, and to see the Dubs fight like Katie Taylor for every crumb.

Nobody could doubt their character after this heroic victory. The game was two minutes into injury-time of normal time when Aoife Neary's point from play rescued the Cats.

Extra-time can be a foreign land to the team that had been winning. The momentum is often with the side that saved itself at the death.

And at half-time in extra-time, Kilkenny led by two points, yet the Blues got back up off the floor to produce the only three points of the last period.

And there it was - in dazzling black and white on the electronic scoreboard - Dublin 0-17; Kilkenny 2-10. It has been many a long summer since Dublin last recorded a senior championship victory.

Yet they have been climbing the stairs. They drew their previous game with Clare, who in Saturday's opening tie on the double-bill, beat Tipperary with a commanding show to also progress to the quarter-final.

It was the overall hunger of the Dubs that most impressed. And when the heat was on, they displayed the temperature of the ice-box.

They led for most of the way in a game that was level six times. Dublin made a fine start. They led by 0-6 to 0-2 at the break. They should have been further ahead.

With four minutes left, Dublin were ahead by three points. Then Katie Power beat her cousin, Fiona Hayes, in the Dublin goal, for the equaliser.

Mairi Moynihan edged Dublin ahead with yet another free. The Dubs had a foot, and four toes, in the quarter-final. Neary's late score ensured extra-time.

Kilkenny led at half-time in extra-time, 2-10 to 0-14.

And it stayed that way till three minutes from home when Moynihan's free, and a point from play from Orlaith Durkan, tied it up. Then came the Cushen Classic. The whistle was as sweet a sound as these brave-hearts ever heard.

DUBLIN: F Hayes (Ballinteer St John's); L McSweeney (St Oliver Plunkett's/ER), G Quinn (Naomh Pádraig/Na Cloigthi), E O'Meara (Na Fianna); A Cushen (Na Fianna, 0-1), L O'Hara (Erin's Isle), C Power (Naomh Mearnóg); L Twomey (Naomh Mearnog), M Moynihan (Lucan Sarsfields, 0-10, 8f, 2 45); M O'Gorman (Na Fianna), S Ryan (Naomh Mearnóg 0-1), A Twomey (Lucan Sarsfields, 0-1); A Carolan (St Oliver Plunkett's/ER, 0-2), A Murphy (Erin's Isle), A Fanning (St Vincent's, 0-1). Subs used: C Berkeley (Na Fianna), O Durkan (Skerries Harps, 0-1), C Burgess (Raheny).