Dublin survive late scare in Division 2 final

Dublin survive a late scare


By Daragh Ó Conchúir

Dublin 1-13 Wexford 1-6

Dublin survived a late scare before confirming their return
to the top tier of league football as Suzuki Ladies NFL
Division 2 champions with a seven point win over Wexford
at Semple Stadium on Saturday night. Gerry McGill’s charges
appeared to be coasting to the title when Gemma Fay was
harshly sin-binned 10 minutes from time, with her side
0-13 to 0-6 ahead. Soon afterwards, Caroline Murphy goaled
for Wexford after her first effort had been brilliantly
smothered by Cliodhna O’Connor and Denise Masterson, and
suddenly the game was back in the melting pot. O’Connor
and Masterson made two further stunning blocks, while
Michelle Hearne also hit the butt of the post as the unheralded
Yellowbellies threw everything at their hotly fancied

In the end though, a Mary Nevin goal in the dying seconds,
after some outstanding play from player of the match Sinéad
Ahearne, allowed the Dubs supporters’ to breathe easily
at last. The winners began in barnstorming fashion with
three points in the opening five minutes from Amy McGuinness,
Nevin and the outstanding Aherne. They led at half time
by 0-10 to 0-3 despite shooting 10 wides in that period,
giving a fair indication of the Sky Blues’ superiority
with a very strong wind at their backs. Wexford couldn’t
cope with the movement and pace of a Dublin attack with
Karen Hopkins, Ahearne and the roving McGuinness in particular
caused mayhem in a rearguard that struggled despite the
gallant efforts of former All Star Leona Tector and Mary
Leacy. The Purple and Golds did offer glimpses of the
threat they could cause going forward with Hearne and
Murphy at the centre of most of their good work.

Sharon Kehoe got them off the mark and points from Hearne
and a Josie Dwyer free had them just 0-5 to 0-3 in arrears
with six minutes remaining. Dublin went into overdrive
at this stage though, with ex-Offaly player Hopkins flighting
over two lovely points, and Louise Kelly, Aherne and Nevin
also raising white flags. It would have been even worse
for Wexford at the interval had Nevin not wasted a glorious
goal opportunity, while goalkeeper Mary Rose Kelly also
had to make a spectacular point-blank save from the rampaging
Hopkins. Dublin were never able to put Wexford away though,
seemingly content to coast to victory, with only Ahearne
maintaining her first half level, adding two points.

Dublin: C O’Connor; O Colreavy, D Masterson, M Kavanagh
0-1; S Goldrick, N McEvoy (Parnells), G Fay; S McGrath,
S Finnegan; K Hopkins 0-3(1f), M Nevin 1-2, F Corcoran;
S Ahearne 0-4, A McGuinness 0-1, L Kelly 0-1. Subs: C
Conway 0-1 for (42nd); K Kennedy for Kelly (48th); A Clarke
for Colreavy (52nd); N Healy for Hopkins (57th); N Hurley
for Ahearne (60th).

Wexford: MR Kelly; M Murray, M Leacy, A Waters; K Morris,
M Doyle, L Tector; C Murphy 1-1(0-1f), D Fox; B Curran,
K Kelly, M Hearne 0-2; L Kent, J Dwyer 0-2(fs), S Kehoe
0-1. Subs: F Rochford for Kent inj. (22); T Dunne for
Fox (47th); M Hughes for Curran (55th).

Referee: B Gallagher (Tyrone).


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