Sunday 22 September 2019

Jackies finish in style

Dublin 4-11  Westmeath 1-7

BLUE SISTERS: Dublin’s Niamh McEvoy and Sinéad Aherne, who was injured early in yesterday’s clash, celebrate their Leinster SFC final glory. Pic: Sportsfile
BLUE SISTERS: Dublin’s Niamh McEvoy and Sinéad Aherne, who was injured early in yesterday’s clash, celebrate their Leinster SFC final glory. Pic: Sportsfile

IT was the fifth time in-a-row that the counties have met in the Leinster final. And this was by far the best of them.

Dublin's eight successive TG4 Leinster title. A 13-point win. But don't believe all you read on the tin.

Westmeath were in this game for long stretches. And they certainly stretched the Blues.

They contributed hugely to such an enjoyable spectacle in the sunshine of Netwatch Cullen Park yesterday.

In the end, the Dubs sprinted for home, with something to spare. But their late burst of scores painted over the worthy efforts of their opponents.

Dublin manager, Mick Bohan, was among those who were impressed with Westmeath. "They obviously have done a lot of work. They made us work hard for the result," remarked Mick.

"We are delighted with the victory. And delighted that it was such a good contest. These are the games we need."

There was a cracking atmosphere. A big crowd in the stand. Westmeath had the breeze from the throw-in.

And they were entitled to feel disappointed at half-time. They were behind by 2-4 to 0-6. An unjust reflection on their industry.

They had begun the game so well. Bringing the game to Dublin. Defending stoutly, making some timely interceptions. And taking some sweet points. The pick of them coming off the left boot of Annie Dolan.

They led by three points to no score after 18 minutes. And Dublin couldn't complain. Westmeath looked fit and they were certainly eager.

The Jackies had plenty of possession, but the passes were sticking to the fingers. And the All-Ireland champions lost captain, Sinéad Aherne, to injury after just ten minutes when she popped her shoulder.

But, gradually, Dublin began to feel more comfortable in the boots. And two goals at the dressing-room end put sugar in their tea.

Oonagh Whyte got both of them. The first one on 28 minutes following a sparkling run from Nicole Owens.

And deep in first half injury-time, they were cheering in the North County again as the Clann Mhuire forward produced a neat finish following excellent play from Niamh McEvoy.

Westmeath almost had a goal before the break when Annie Dolan slipped in through Dublin's back door, only to be foiled by Sinéad Goldrick, who conceded a free in the process.

Yet 14 minutes into the second period, Westmeath did get a goal. A penalty from Leanne Slevin. Dublin still led by 2-6 to 1-7.

On 55 minutes, Owens showed strength to hold off the challenges to steer in Dublin's third goal, and Caoimhe O'Connor's pass to McEvoy brought Dublin's fourth goal on the hour.

SCORERS - Dublin: O Whyte 2-2, N McEvoy 1-4 (0-4f), N Owens 1-2, S Goldrick, N Healy, J Dunne 0-1 each. Westmeath: L Slevin 1-3 (1-0 pen, 0-3f), MA Foley, S Dolan, A Dolan, S Dillon 0-1 each.

DUBLIN: C Trant; M Byrne, N Collins, R Ruddy; A Kane, S Goldrick, L Magee; O Carey, S McGrath; N Owens, N McEvoy, O Whyte; S Aherne, N Hetherton, N Healy. Subs: J Dunne for Aherne (inj, 10), E Rutledge for Ruddy (38), C O'Connor for Healy (50), O Nolan for Carey (56), O Carey for McGrath (55), S Fagan for Goldrick (61).

WESTMEATH: L McCormack; R Dillon, J Rogers, N Feery; K Boyce-Jordan, F Claffey, K McDermott; J Maher, MA Foley; V Carr, S Dolan, L McCartan; A Dolan, A Jones, S Dillon. Subs: L Slevin for S Dillon (inj, 8); C Kelly for S Dolan (43); L Power for R Dillon (57); K Hegarty for McCartan (63).

REFEREE: N McCormack (Laois).


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