1-6 for Sinead Aherne as Dublin made work for win by Westmeath

Lidl National Football League Division 1

Westmeath 2-5 Dublin 2-10

By Kieran Galvin

Dublin defeated Westmeath in this Lidl Ladies NFL Division 1 clash at Lakepoint Park – but the All-Ireland champions were made work all the way for their victory.

Westmeath looked poised to pull off a shock win when they went seven points up (2-5 to 0-4), after Kelly Boyce Jordan struck for their second goal in the 41st minute.

But Dublin – aided by the half-time introduction of attacking ace Noelle Healy – eventually turned the tide.

A goal from influential midfielder Carla Rowe proved a key moment, reducing the deficit to three points (2-5 to 1-5). The visitors were in control thereafter with a goal from Sinead Aherne sealing victory by a flattering margin.

Helped by a splendid goal from promising young midfielder Anna Jones in the 7th minute, Westmeath led 1-4 to 0-4 at half-time. In truth, they should have led by more. Just before the half-time whistle, Westmeath’s Maud Annie Foley had a gilt-edged goal chance but her shot was saved from point blank range by Dublin netminder Ciara Trant.

Foley scored three points from frees in the first half – adding one in the second period – with Westmeath’s other white flag raised by Johanna Maher.

For the Dubs, Aherne finished as top scorer with 1-6, her six points coming from frees. But Mick Bohan’s side had to endure plenty of uncomfortable moments, with Westmeath having a goal disallowed early in the second half for what was adjudged to be a ‘square ball’. And in the closing moments, Dublin were relieved when awarded a free out for a foul on Trant was awarded as the Lake County girls sought a match-clinching goal.

Dublin had two players sin-binned after receiving yellow cards – Laura McGinley (late in the first half) and Deirdre Murphy – with Westmeath’s Johanna Maher receiving the same sanction close to the end.

Dublin: C. Trant; L. McGinley, K. Murray, K. Fitzgibbon; S. Goldrick (0-1), M. Ní Scanaill, L. Collins (0-1); O. Carey, C. Rowe (1-0); A. Kane, L. Davey, E. Rutledge; R. McDonnell, O. Whyte, S. Aherne (1-6, 0-6f).

Subs used: N. Collins for Ní Scanaill (30 mins); H. O’Neill for Kane (31); L. Magee for Carey, N. Healy (0-2) for Whyte, D. Murphy for L Collins (all h-t); L. Caffrey for McGinley (41); M. Byrne for Murray (41); E. Flanagan for McDonnell (43); S. O’Mahony for Fitzgibbon (53); D. Lawless for Rutledge (60)

Westmeath: K. Walsh; R. Dillon, A. Giles, N. Feery; K. Boyce Jordan (1-0), F. Claffey, F. Coyle; K. McDermott, A. Jones (1-0); K. Hegarty, M.A. Foley (0-4, 4f), J. Maher (0-1); S. Dolan, L. Walsh,  L. McCartan.

Subs used: C. Kelly for Hegarty (43 mins); L. Brennan for Boyce Jordan (50); A. Alford for Dolan (53); A. Dolan for Jones (60); E. Cronin for McDermott (60)

Referee: N McCormack (Laois).

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