Stirring comeback helps Dublin over the line

Lidl Ladies National Football League

Dublin 2-11

Mayo 2-7

By Daire Walsh

Kate Sullivan and Caoimhe O’Connor both found the net at DCU St Clare’s as Dublin produced a remarkable second half turnaround to defeat Mayo in their Lidl NFL Division 1 clash.

Six points behind after Sinéad Walsh had bagged goals either side of the interval, Mick Bohan’s side were staring down the barrel of a third defeat in just five games. However, they dug deep and with Sullivan and O’Connor scoring during a dramatic finale, they ultimately came out on top.

Dublin enjoyed a bright start to this contest with unanswered points from midfielder Jennifer Dunne and team captain Carla Rowe (free). Mayo attacker Tara Needham and her Sky Blues opponent Sullivan proceeded to trade scores, before a mini scoring burst from Walsh helped the visitors to establish a foothold.

The McHale Rovers club star chipped over a fine point in the 10th minute and also rattled the net just shy of the first-quarter after Dublin goalkeeper Abby Shiels struggled to deal with a high ball in towards the square.

Needham and Shauna Howley subsequently knocked over successive points to offer Michael Moyles’ charges additional breathing space, before Dublin registered their first score in 22 minutes through a fisted effort by Jodi Egan on the stroke of half-time.

This meant Mayo brought a 1-4 to 0-4 cushion into the break and their position became even stronger on the restart. After Sinead Cafferky had cancelled out a Hannah Tyrrell free, Walsh gathered a long delivery close to the Dublin goal and fired powerfully beyond the reach of Shiels.

The visitors remained in the driving seat when Howley and Cafferky responded to a brace of Tyrrell frees, but the dead-ball accuracy of the latter ensured Dublin reduced their deficit to a manageable four points on 50 minutes.

Tyrrell then turned creator for Sullivan’s close-range finish and when Dunne split the uprights with four minutes remaining, Dublin were back on level terms and with momentum behind them. Indeed, despite Tyrrell dragging a 58th minute penalty wide of the target, O’Connor clinically rounded off a breakaway move moments later to propel Dublin back into the ascendancy.

It was then left for Tyrrell to convert her sixth free in the dying moments and consequently put the seal on an impressive comeback victory.

Scorers – Dublin: H Tyrrell 0-6 (6f), K Sullivan 1-1, C O’Connor 1-0, J Dunne 0-2, C Rowe (f), J Egan 0-1 each. Mayo: S Walsh 2-1, S Howley (2f), S Cafferky, T Needham 0-2 each.

Dublin: A Shiels; R Brennan, M Byrne, J Tobin; O Nolan, L Magee, L Caffrey; J Dunne, E O’Dowd; C Rowe, K Sullivan, C O’Connor; S Wylde, H Tyrrell, J Egan.

Subs: E Gribben for Wylde (15), N Hetherton for Rowe (19), D Lawless for Tobin (ht), A Kane for Egan (38), N Crowley for Brennan (50), A Timothy for Gribben (60).

Mayo: L Brennan; É Ronayne, R Flynn, D Caldwell; C Needham, F McHale, K Sullivan; C McManamon, S Cafferky; S Walsh, S Howley, H Reape; L Cafferky, R Kearns, T Needham.

Subs: A Geraghty for Reape (ht), S Mulvihill for L Cafferky (47), S Tierney for Caldwell (50), M Cannon for Kearns (56), T O’Connor for Howley (59).

Ref: Jonathan Murphy (Carlow).

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