Wednesday 23 January 2019

Sinéad stars as Jackies conquer Kingdom in Thurles

Dublin 5-10 Kerry 0-11

Sinéad Aherne of Dublin is presented with her Player of the Match award by LGFA President Marie Hickey after the game. Photo: Sportsfile
Sinéad Aherne of Dublin is presented with her Player of the Match award by LGFA President Marie Hickey after the game. Photo: Sportsfile

UP in the Semple Stadium Press Box, all the cakes were gone well before the start of Saturday's throw-in. Down below, Dublin never lost their hunger.

In the 55th minute, a shout came from the Dublin bench. "Keep working." They were 13 points up at the time.

Now they'll prepare for their fourth successive TG4 All-Ireland final. And for manager Mick Bohan, it will be a return bus journey down the Clonliffe Road.

Fourteen years ago he made the same trip as the Dublin boss. Mayo pipped the Dubs right on the line.

The Jackies will meet Mayo or Cork in the final. "I honestly don't mind who we play," mused Mick.

"People say that it's a given that Cork will come through, but I can tell you one thing, I saw Mayo last week and they have a couple of players who are serious heavyweights in the game."

Dublin have a few big- hitters of their own. Once again, Sinéad Aherne excelled. 2-7 in the kitty. Noelle Healy scored two fine goals. And that was after running to Ballydoyle and back.

The big stage suited Dublin. They showed such space. They are fit. In the first half, half-back, Sinéad Goldrick, found herself at Kerry's hall door. Dublin kept spreading the Kerrygold.

They didn't waste the ball, and they were clinical in front of the cash register. Their first wide didn't come till 23 minutes. And they only had four wides in all.

Kerry had nine. A pocket of early misses set them back. And once Dublin got a grip of the game, and the ball, they weren't in the mood to let it slip.

"It's 14 years since I was last here, and in that period since I have been lucky enough to have been involved with a serious amount of good footballers," reflected Mick.

"But this performance was as pleasing as any team that I have been involved with.

"They worked so hard. It was a really disciplined, defensive display as a unit. I thought they moved the ball well and our finishing was top drawer."

Kerry's brightest hope was Louise Ní Mhuircheartaigh. She kicked five points in the second period, but by then the lights had gone out.

Within the opening couple of pages, Aherne had four points in her purse. Three off the right boot. One off the left.

Her first goal came on 16 minutes. Niamh McEvoy slipped her in. Sinéad seemed surprised to have the freedom of Liberty Square. The net wasn't surprised to welcome the ball.

Her second goal came from a penalty on 25 minutes, arrowed low to the left corner. 2-6 to 0-4 at the tea. But no cake.

And 56 seconds into the second period, Nicole Owens scored Dublin's third goal. It was going to be a long half.

Healy sent a shot high to the left corner on 37 minutes, and late on, she clipped in her second goal like Messi or The Gooch.

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