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Wednesday 13 December 2017

Jackies reap Royal reward

TWO from two for the genial Jackies. A full tank on the road from Division 1 of the Bord Gáis Energy National League.

A tougher assignment than last week's overwhelming victory over Kildare. But there's never a cosy welcome at the Royal Hotel.

Now it will be good to be on the green, green grass of home next Sunday. Cork, no less, are the visitors to Ballyboden's tidy theatre, Páirc Uí Mhurchú (2pm).

That's a contest that should snap, crackle and pop. The All-Ireland and league champs coming to town. Cork will also go into the fixture with full points, having defeated Peter Clarke's old side, Monaghan, on Sunday.

The sharp tempo of the Meath match was the ideal preparation for Dublin, who had three points to spare, 0-10 to 0-7.

"It was a tight battle alright," said Dubs selector, Pat Ring. "There was never more than a couple of points between us. We were expecting a big test, and that's what we got. There's never anything easy against Meath, especially on their home patch."

Donaghmore Ashbourne offered a splendid setting. It has the very best of facilities, including a fabulous seated stand. There was a decent crowd in to watch a repeat of last season's Division 2 final in Parnell Park.

And the two promoted sides showed they are definitely back where they belong. Conviction was never an issue.

Dublin's Leinster Championship defeat by Meath in Portmarnock last term stung. And Meath arrived for Sunday's fixture having impressed in their opening day triumph over Tyrone.

Manager, Paula Cunningham, has moulded a fine side. They made Dublin work for their tea.

"You never get anything against Meath if you don't put in the work, and the girls certainly did that," said Pat.

Dublin defended with gusto and a touch of class. Time and again, they were able to win back possession with brave blocks or timely interventions.

Leading the charge was talented left half-back Fiona Hudson. Every little thing she did was magic.

Siobhan Woods struck two treasured scores after coming off the bench. Sinead Aherne was the top teller on 0-5, with three frees.

Also helping to pay the rent were returns from Orlagh Egan, player of the match Sinéad Goldrick and Colleen Barrett.

"We just did enough to win it, but it's a nice start to the season when you have full points on the board," noted Pat.

"Now, we'll think about Cork next week. That should be a cracking match.

"We are hoping for a big support. Boden is a lovely venue and there's always a good atmosphere there."

DUBLIN: C O'Connor; G O'Malley, S Treacy, S McGrath; A McKenna, S Finnegan, F Hudson; S Goldrick (0-1), C Barrett (0-1); K Flood, N Hyland, A McGuinness; O Leonard, N McEvoy (St Sylvester's), S Aherne (0-5, 3f).

Subs used: S Woods (0-2), O Egan (0-1), A Clarke, S O'Mahony, C Murphy, N Owens.

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