2024 TG4 All-Ireland Finals tickets

Experience the Key as Jackies Progress to Semi-final

Experience the Key as Jackies Progress to Semi-final.
Dublin 1-13 Kerry 2-6.

Dublin Ladies progressed to their first All-Ireland semi-final since losing to Galway in 2005 overcoming a young and inexperienced Kerry side at Nowlan Park, Kilkenny on Saturday last in the TG4 senior championship. Having made a bright start and dominating possession for the first three minutes, and kicking a wide in the process, their over elaborate hand passing through the middle of the pitch nearly cost them dear. The Kingdom ladies seized on the breakdowns and turned possession into attack, generating the first point of the game after four minutes from Sarah Houlihan. Within seconds midfielder, Lorraine Scanlon, burst through from midfield and picked out captain, Mags O’Donoghue, who looked certain to score but was denied by an excellent save from goalkeeper, Cliodhna O’Connor. The Dublin defence scrambled the ball clear and the ball was swept to the other end of the pitch where good combination play involving Elaine Kelly, Sinead Aherne, Mary Nevin and Amy McGuinness ended with the latter kicking a lovely equalising point.

McGuinness was prominent throughout the match for the Jackies but especially in the first half where her good ball retention and distribution posed problems for the Kerry defence. Kerry’s right half back, Mairead Finnegan was defending particularly well and surged forward into attack at every opportunity. She was well supported by midfielder, Lorraine Scanlon. Patrice Dennehy and Louise Ni Mhuircheartaigh were showing for the ball and combining well with Mags O’Donoghue. The Dublin defence was coping well with Siobhan McGrath playing a blinder. She was ably assisted by Maria Kavanagh, Colleen Barrett and Noelle Comyn. However, the tendency to over elaborate hadn’t gone away and hard won possession was being handed over to the Kerry team. A Dennehy point from a free gave them the lead and this was followed by a wonderful passing move at pace which put corner forward, Debra Murphy, in on goal, one on one with O Connor, but once again the keeper thwarted her opponent and saved superbly. Things were looking somewhat ominous as Ni Mhuircheartaigh fired over a third point and Noelle Comyn got in a great block on a goal bound shot after twelve minutes.

Finally the passing came together and the combination movements started to generate scores. Denise Masterson and Niamh McEvoy drove the Jackies on from midfield and the points began to flow. Sinead Ahearne, McGuinness and McEvoy kicked three quick points in a row and suddenly the tide was beginning to turn. A quickly taken kick-out by Kerry goalkeeper, Laoise Driscoll, was snapped up the alert Kim Flood who lobbed the back-tracking goalkeeper and suddenly Dublin were in control. This goal knocked the stuffing out of the Kingdom and from there to half-time it was one-way traffic with the exception of an occasional foray into attack by Kerry. Patrice Dennehy did miss two frees from close range before half-time. Further points from Ahearne(2), Colleen Barrett, Nevin and Kelly sent the Jackies in leading by 1-9 to 0-3 at the interval but two further chance were wasted when one hand-passed effort at a point hit the post and came back into play, and a second dropped into the net and didn’t count. The pick of the first-half points was Barrett’s in the twenty-third minute when she gained possession in midfield, soloed forty metres and pointed beautifully. Shortly afterwards, Ahearne missed a great chance to put the game out of sight of Kerry when she dragged her shot wide with only the goalkeeper to beat. At the other end Noelle Comyn managed to block another goal-bound shot with her legs and clear to safety. Nevertheless, the management team must have been mightily relieved going in for the break with a nine point lead.

The second half started in the same vein with the Jackies in control and Lyndsey Davey pointed after four minutes. Kerry replied two minutes later when a high lobbing ball from a Dennehy free was deflected over the bar by midfielder, Scanlon. Ahearne replied for Dublin after some good combination play amongst the forwards. But Kerry despite losing by ten points hadn’t gone away. Ni Mhuircheartaigh outpaced the Dublin defence in the eighteenth minute and O Connor was forced to dive at her feet to prevent a certain goal. A pointed free by Ahearne seemed to settle the Jackies once again but Kerry substitute, Joanne Brosnan, was beginning to make an impact. Finnegan was still full of running from half-back and Ni Mhuircheartaigh was testing the Dublin defence. Brosnan kicked a free after twenty-one minutes and so began a purple patch for Kerry for the final nine minutes of play. Ni Mhuircheartaigh pointed shortly afterwards and then set up Brosnan for a well-taken goal giving O Connor no chance. Suddenly the lead was down to six points with six minutes left.

Seconds later slick inter-passing between Dublin’s Barrett and McGuinness set up Davey for what looked like a certain goal but Laoise Driscoll redeemed herself for her first-half mistake by saving brilliantly from the corner forward. Two minutes later Davey converted another free kick and the lead was back at seven points. But the Kingdom Ladies showed fighting spirit right to the end with O Donoghue converting a penalty after Siobhan McGrath had pulled down a Kerry forward in the large parallelogram. McGrath was sin-binned for her trouble. It was too little , too late for Kerry but no doubt they will have learned from the experience. They have some fine young players with plenty of potential. Mairead Finnegan and Louise Ni Mhuircheartaigh certainly caught the eye as did sub, Joanne Brosnan. The Dublin management team will not have been happy with the second half performance and so there’s plenty of work still to be done on the training ground. O Connor, McGrath, Barrett, Davey and McGuinness were the most prominent players for Dublin on the day with Player of the match going to goalkeeper, Cliodhna O Connor, for her overall performance but more importantly for her crucial saves at vital times in the game.

Dublin – C. O Connor, A. Cluxton, N. Comyn, M. Kavanagh, C. Barrett, (0-1), S. Furlong, S. McGrath, D. Masterson, capt., N. McEvoy, (0-1), M. Nevin, (0-1), A. McGuinness, (0-2), K. Flood, (1-0), L. Davey, (0-2), S. Ahearne, (0-5, 2 frees), E. Kelly, (0-1).
Subs – N. Hurley for E. Kelly, A. Connolly for N. McEvoy and L. Kidd for A. McGuinness.

Kerry – L. Driscoll, C. Buckley, S. J. Joy, A. Lyons, M. Finnegan, A. Foley, A. Leonard, L. Scanlon, (0-1), S. Houlihan, (0-1), L. Cronin, L. Ni Mhuircheartaigh, (0-2), D. Murphy, M. O Donoghue, capt., (1-0, pen.), P. Dennehy, (0-1, free).
Subs – J. Brosnan, (1-1, 0-1 free) for S. Houlihan, N. Scanlon for L. Cronin, R. Cronin for L. Ni Mhuircheartaigh and A. Desmond for S. J. Joy.

Referee – D. Corcoran, Mayo.

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