Friday 24 November 2017

Jackies book berth in final

All-Ireland ladies SFC semi-final

Dublin’s Noelle Healy is presented with the LGFA/TG4 Player of the Match award by Marie Hickey, president of Ladies Gaelic Football Association
Dublin’s Noelle Healy is presented with the LGFA/TG4 Player of the Match award by Marie Hickey, president of Ladies Gaelic Football Association

The Jackies were in a hurry at Parnell Park last Saturday. A point in the bank after just ten seconds.

That set the tone for their handsome win over Armagh in the TG4 All-Ireland Senior Championship semi-final, 2-16 to 2-5.

The sun blazed down on the Donnycarney velvet. The Dubs were proving hot stuff as well.

They looked like a team that had batteries on the studs. Time and again, they went charging for the front gate of the Orchard.

Their movement was just superb. And their use of the ball was top-class.

There was just no curtailing the impact of road-runners like Noelle Healy and Sinéad Goldrick.

Noelle got the vote for the TG4 Player-of-the-Match. She has the fastest feet in football.

Lyndsey Davey excelled at full-forward. The Dublin captain kept showing for the ball.

She always seemed a step ahead of the cover. And with ball in hand, the defence just didn't know what street she was going to take.

She has that little dart of acceleration that opens up windows all over the house.

She scored two points from play. But it was her overall contribution and her leadership that attracted the praise.

She is having one of her best ever seasons in blue. Maybe the best yet.

And her colleagues were reading her every move. There were always options, left and right.

Dublin's pace and danger was coming from all directions.

Armagh were given little time to ponder. Every time one of their players had the ball they were quickly surrounded by blue sirens.

Now it's the Dubs against Cork in the final. A repeat of last year when Dublin had a hand on Brendan Martin.

"We were pleased with the display. We played well. The girls worked so hard," summed up Dublin manager, Gregory McGonigle.

"But we know we still have things to work on ahead of the All-Ireland final.

"It's a great achievement for the girls to get back to Croke Park. We started with just six players

that began in last year's All-Ireland final."

Armagh boss, James Daly, had no complaints. "Dublin were the better side. They are a quality team, and they were so clinical in front of goal."

It was 1-9 to 1-1 at the break. Davey scored Dublin's goal on 12 minutes, leaving Armagh trailing by 1-5 to no reply.

Armagh hit their first score on 14 minutes - a goal from the cultured Caroline O'Hanlon.

But Dublin just kept up the pressure, moving the ball with all the precision of Swift Post.

All the Dubs were tuned into the one radio station, and their energetic offering confirmed a high fitness level.

On 58 minutes, Aimee Mackin, on the left, tucked in Armagh's second goal on the near post.

But a minute later, Sarah McCaffrey set off on a storming run and struck a spectacular shot that nestled in the roof off the church end goal.

Yet even well before that, the Dubs were home, and, under a blistering sun, hosed.

SCORERS - Dublin: L Davey 1-2, C Rowe (0-1f), N Healy 0-4 each, S McCaffrey 1-0, A Connolly 0-2, S Goldrick, N McEvoy, H Noonan, O Leonard 0-1 each. Armagh: A Mackin 1-1, C O'Hanlon 1-0, K Mallon, F McKenna 0-2 each.

DUBLIN: C Trant; O Carey, M Ní Scanaill, H Noonan; S Furlong, S Finnegan, C Barrett; M Lamb, S Goldrick; N Healy, A Connolly, C Rowe; N McEvoy, L Davey, K Flood. Subs: S McCaffrey for Flood (41), N Collins for Barrett (47), O Leonard for McEvoy (51), L Collins for Lamb (55), N Owens for Noonan (59).

ARMAGH: K Daly; M Tennyson, M McGuinness, T McCoy; S Reel, S McCleary, N Marley; C Malone, C O'Hanlon; A Lennon, K Mallon, L McConville; S Marley, F McKenna, A Mackin. Subs: A McCoy for Malone (34), A Henderson for Lennon (36), S Grey for McGuinness (46), Catherine Marley for Mallon (51).

REF: G Carmody (Mayo)

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