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Sunday 17 December 2017

Dream start for Jackies

Lilies win perfect appetiser for Royals

DOWN in the land of the Curragh, the Jackies hit the ground running.

Niamh McEvoy The Second had the ball in the Lilywhite basket inside a minute. After that, there was no stopping the Dublin steam engine.

The Dublin management couldn't have asked for a better start to their reign -- 5-18 to 0-6 against Kildare in the opening Division 1 fixture of the Bord Gáis Energy National Football League.

So more than a good day at the Ballykelly office for the newly installed Famous Five -- Peter Clarke, Angie McNally, Colm Kearney, Cathy Gallagher and Pat Ring.

"We were very pleased," remarked Pat. "Overall, it was an excellent display, a real team performance.

STRIDE

"The girls were really up for it, and they got into their stride very early. They looked very sharp in all departments."

So much so that it took Kildare 15 minutes before they found the letterbox. By then they were 2-4 behind.

They got very few openings after that. Anytime Kildare manufactured a moment of promise, Dublin's industry nipped it in the bud.

The Blues chased every stray leaf. And it was an encouraging introduction to Gemma Fay's spell as Dublin captain.

Her deputy, Sinead Goldrick, delivered another powerful contribution at midfield. Sinead is carrying on her superb form from last term.

The press-box jury didn't take long to award her the Player-of-the-Match accolade. It could be the first of many.

The visitors had most of their work done by the time they unwrapped the Kit Kats, 3-8 to 0-1. But on the bus journey home, thoughts were already turning towards Meath next Sunday.

"That is going to be a far tougher test for us," admits Pat. "We will really have to be on form to get something out of it."

It's a repeat of last season's Division 2 League final which Dublin won in Parnell Park. But then Meath arrived in Portmarnock to beat the Dubs in the Leinster Championship.

"We have had a fine start to the league campaign. It's always nice to win your first match, but we are under no illusions," adds Pat.

"Division 1 is a difficult place to be. We won well against Kildare, but we don't expect any easy matches.

"We have to travel again on Sunday, and of the seven fixtures, we only have five of them at home, so that presents its own challenges.

"The other positive note from last Sunday is that we didn't pick up any injuries. All-round, it was a terrific show from the girls. The five subs that came in also made a notable contribution.

"We were well in command all through. And I thought our fitness levels were very impressive. The girls worked hard."

Sinead Aherne and Goldrick also rattled the Kildare net in the first half. Olivia Leonard and Aherne made it five after the tea.

The two counties will meet again in the first round of the Leinster Championship. But there's much to be done before the long evenings throw-in. Meath beat Tyrone on Sunday.



TIE

In last summer's Leinster Championship tie at Mearnóg, Meath got there by a point to send Dublin through the back door.

Next Sunday, the guests will hope to leave the Royal County by the hall door. But they'll have to unlock a few bolts in the process.

DUBLIN: C O'Connor; J O'Sullivan, G O'Malley, A McKenna; G Fay, S McGrath, F Hudson; S Goldrick (1-2), N McEvoy (St Sylvester's, 1-4); C Murphy (0-1), S Woods (0-2), A McGuinness; O Leonard (1-2, N Hyland (0-4), S Aherne (2-3). Subs used: S Tracey, A Clarke, S Finnegan, C Barrett, S O'Mahony.

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