GAA Football

Dublin to feature in fourth successive ladies' football final after seeing off Kerry

Dublin players, from left, Kate McKenna, Noelle Healy, and Sinead Aherne after the TG4 Ladies Football All-Ireland Senior Championship semi-final win over Kerry at Semple Stadium in Thurles Picture by Matt Browne/Sportsfile
Jackie Cahill and Louise Gunn

DUBLIN will feature in a fourth successive In the All-Ireland Senior Championship final after seeing off Kerry 5-10 to 0-11 in Semple Stadium, Thurles on Saturday.

Captain Sinead Aherne led the way with 2-7 in the 14-point win.

The Jackies led 2-6 to 0-4 at half-time, Aherne with all but one point of her side’s first half tally, and they continued their dominance after the resumption with second half goals for Noelle Healy (2) and Nicole Owens. Louise Ní Mhuircheartaigh finished with eight of Kerry’s 11 points.

Defending champions Cork and Mayo will battle it out for the right to face Dublin in Croke Park next month.

Mick Bohan has the chance to right the wrongs of 14 years ago when he manages Dublin in the TG4 All-Ireland ladies senior football final on September 24.

Back in 2003, Bohan was in charge when the Sky Blues lost to Mayo in the September showpiece.

But in his second stint at the helm, Bohan has managed to bring Dublin back to another decider, and they’re now just 60 minutes away from a second title, and first since 2010.

Since that first spell in charge of Dublin, Bohan was busy racking up an impressive coaching CV.

He was involved with Sigerson Cup winning teams at Dublin City University, and also assisted Jim Gavin in All-Ireland U21 and senior wins.

Bohan also spent a year alongside Colm Collins in Clare before accepting an invitation to return to the Dublin ladies role.

Following Saturday’s semi-final victory over Kerry at Semple Stadium, Bohan reflected: “I’ve been terribly lucky in that period to be involved with a serious amount of good footballers and today was as pleasing a performance as I’ve been involved in, at any level, because they worked so hard.

“I thought it was a really disciplined, defensive performance from them as a unit.

“They moved the ball well and I thought some of the finishing was top drawer.”

Captain Sinéad Aherne scored 1-9 in the quarter-final victory over Waterford and she collected 2-7 to floor Kerry on Saturday.

Aherne had 2-5, including a penalty goal, on the board by half-time as Dublin led by 2-6 to 0-4.

Further goals followed for Dublin in the second period as Noelle Healy collected a brace, with Nicole Owens also on target.

Kerry were simply outclassed, although Louise Ní Mhuircheartaigh carried the fight to the Kingdom’s opponents, finishing with a haul of 0-8.

Bohan added: “Somebody told me Sinéad scored 2-7?

“I wouldn’t be able to tell you that because all I know is they’re all working hard to put people in the right place.

“But what a return in an All-Ireland semi-final from one of the game’s greatest players.”

For Dublin, the reward is a shot at Cork or Mayo next month.

And they certainly won’t lack for motivation, having suffered final defeats to Cork in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

But for now, Bohan is pleased that players who have suffered so much heartbreak in recent times found it within themselves to get back to another final.

He said: “We’re at this nine months now and there’s absolutely no guarantees that you can get a team back to this level.

“You don’t know until you get involved if the energy is going to be there because it takes a shocking amount of work.

“All you can do it put plans in place and coach a team to the best of your ability.

“When they cross the white line, it’s back over to the players but this group has taken remarkable ownership of the set-up since we came in.

“We’re only trying to facilitate them to make them better.”

Kerry lost at the semi-final stage for the fifth time in eight seasons but they do have a Munster title as consolation.

Manager Graham Shine, who masterminded back-to-back All-Ireland U16 successes before taking the senior job, will be back for another stint in 2018.

And he said: “I can’t fault their commitment. Dublin are a little bit further down the line than us. But we’ll learn from today that’s what football’s all about and hopefully we’ll have another day next year.”

Elsewhere, Derry booked an All-Ireland Junior Championship semi-final with Carlow after a superb win over Antrim, 3-20 to 0-2, at Musgrave yesterday.

Three first half goals from Aoife Laverty, Megan Devine and Annie Crozier set the Oak Leaf side on their way with a 3-10 to 0-1 lead at the interval.

Carlow topped Group A after their 4-30 to 0-2 win over Kilkenny yesterday while Ulster champions Fermanagh will face London in the other semi-final.

The first Intermediate finalist was also revealed on Saturday as Tipperary, who defeated Meath 3-19 to 2-19 in an absorbing curtain-raiser to the senior game.

Manager Shane Ronayne was at a loss to explain Tipperary’s late scare against Meath.

The Premier County looked to be cruising to a final berth midway through the second half leading by 13 points and flowing freely.

But Tipp had to sweat it out before booking a September 14 date with Tyrone or Sligo, as Meath reduced the full-time deficit to just three points.

Ronayne had his bench emptied with nine minutes left but taking off influential Jennifer Grant, who had excelled in a sweeping defensive role, and brilliant forward Aishling Moloney were necessary calls to an extent.

Grant was ill in the days before the game while Moloney carried an injury into battle and was a late call-up after being listed as number 28 on the match programme.

Tipp were still ten points ahead before Meath collected an unanswered 1-4 in the closing minutes.

Ronayne reflected: “It was looking very comfortable with a quarter of an hour to go.

“I don’t really know what happened. If we were involved in a classic and lost, we’d be going home feeling very sorry for ourselves.

“But we’re there, we’ve plenty to work on and we’ll enjoy tonight and start thinking about it again on Monday morning.

“People might look at the subs but our subs are every bit as good as the girls on the field. They deserve to be playing.

“I wouldn’t be blaming the substitutions for it that’s not backing myself up but I think the players on the field need to have a look at what they were doing in the last 15 minutes.”

Gillian O’Brien shot the lights out with a haul of 1-7 from play including 1-5 in the first half while Moloney sparparkled with 1-4 and Orla O’Dwyer contributed 1-3.

Tipp landed 3-17 of their big winning tally from play but Meath, who had a huge display from Aoibhin Cleary, kept going right to the end even when faced with a huge deficit.  

Tipp led by 2-11 to 1-7 at half-time and were full value for that seven-point interval lead.

O’Dwyer and O’Brien netted in a 36-second spell but Marion Farrelly goaled for Meath approaching half-time to give them hope.

The game looked done and dusted when Moloney crashed home a brilliant 35th-minute goal at the Killinan End but Meath weren’t finished and they made life uncomfortable before full-time, as Stacey Grimes slotted home a penalty.

Tipperary now await the winner of this weekend’s game between Tyrone and Sligo.



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