Aoibhe Dillon, Emer Keenan, and Evelyn Twomey all raised green flags as Dublin’s Premier Juniors finished 0-10 clear of Armagh.
Shane Plowman’s Dublin panel finished the strongest this afternoon in Abbottstown as the girls in blue, in their first year in Division 2, qualified for the knockout stages following their victory over Armagh.
With only a score between the sides at the break, it looked like the second 30 minute session would be tough, but Dublin changed gear and drove through the Ulster side to secure an emphatic result.
It only took 3 minutes for Dublin to get themselves into a 2-02 to 0-01 lead at the start of this game, with Aoibhe Dillon and Evelyn Twomey netting two very early goals for the home side. But Armagh’s Ciara Donnelly was the threat that the Dub’s couldn’t contain, as she scored all bar one point in the first half.
In a blur around the 20th minute Donnelly had lost her marker on two occasion to put the ball past Kathryn Kantounia in the Dublin goal, and with another point to follow, she had single handedly closed Dublin lead down from 0-08 to 0-01 in the blink of an eye.
Donnelly struck a free in additional time to level the score, but Roisin Drohan responded immediately to give Dublin the narrowest of leads going into the second half.
Donnelly was on hand again immediately at restart to square the game once more, but Dublin had found the voice they’d lost around 10 minutes into the first half and began to drive at the Armagh defence in numbers.
Within seven minutes Aoibhe Dillon (2), Evelyn Twomey, Emer Keenan and Laoise Quinn had put 0-05 over and Armagh now looked like the stunned side with no response.
On the stroke of 10 minutes, and following a number of near misses, Emer Keenan bore down outside the square, opened her shoulders and buried the ball past Ciarrai Devlin, to give Dublin their third goal of the game and recover the 0-08 lead they’d lost in the first half.
Dillon added another to her personal tally of 1-06, with Katie Convie responding at the other end to put another Armagh on the scoresheet. But Armagh were finding it difficult to get past the Dublin defence, particularly Emma Barron and Sinead Murphy, and when Caragh Dawson was introduced to replace Grainne Power, Dublin seemed to lift once again.
Ciara Donnelly never gave up for the entire game and had scored Armagh’s remaining points with seven minutes still to play.
At the same time, Aoibhe Dillon had found a gap to romp towards the square in attempt to give Dublin another goal, but was brought crashing down, giving the referee the only option of awarding a penalty. But with Dublin 0-07 clear Dillon decided to pop the ball over for safety and get the game restarted.
Dawson and Quinn continued to make in roads on both wings and the introduction of Sinead Nolan with minutes to go gave another dimension to their attack as Sinead scored a great catch and turn to stamp her mark on the game with the final score.
In their first season as a Division 2 team, Dublin will now join Kilkenny, Cork and Westmeath in the competition’s Semi Final stage. We’ll find out soon who their opponents will be.
Scorers For Dublin:
Aoibhe Dillon 1-06 (5f)
Emer Keenan 1-02
Evelyn Twomey 1-01
Laoise Quinn 0-03
Roisin Drohan 0-01
Aoife Dooley 0-01
Sinead Nolan 0-01
Scorers For Armagh:
Ciaran Donnelly 2-06
Leanne Donnelly 0-01
Katie Convie 0-01
1. Kathryn Kantounia
2. Ciara Buchannan
3. Deirdre Johnstone
4. Niamh Gleeson
5. Emma Barron
6. Laura Walsh
7. Sinead Murphy
8. Grainne Power
9. Roisin Drohan
10. Laoise Quinn
11. Aoibhe Dillon
12. Hannah O’Dea
13. Aoife Dooley
14. Emer Keenan
15. Evelyn Twomey
18. Grainne Free for 6. Laura Walsh (Half Time)
28. Caragh Dawson for 8. Grainne Power (48)
22. Emma O Flynn for 5. Emma Barron (51)
24. Sinead Nolan for 14. Emer Keenan (57)
1. Ciarrai Devlin
2. Emma Mone
3. Grainne Kelly
4. Nicola Woods
5. Siodhna Woods
6. Catherine McCooey
7. Sarah Mooney
8. Jessica Hamill
9. Eimear Smyth (Madden)
10. Leanne Donnelly
11. Eimear Smyth (Ballymacnab)
12. Rachel Merry
13. Katie Convie
14. Ciara Donnelly
15. Hannah French
19. Eimear O’Kane for 15. Hannah French ((24)
16. Fionnuala Kelly for 3. Katie Convie (47)
17. Catherine Beagan for 9. Eimear Smyth (Madden) (47)
18. Aine Maguire for 4. Nicola Woods (47)
20. Laura Kelly for 2. Emma Mone (47)