DUBLIN’S SENIOR LADIES FOOTBALLERS GET NFL CAMPAIGN OFF TO WINNING START.
Dublin’s Senior Ladies football squad got their 2015 Tesco Home Grown NFL Division 1 campaign off to the perfect start with a commanding defensive display this afternoon in the confines of DCU.
It was a new look Dublin team that took to the field with only five players that played in last years All Ireland Final among the starting fifteen. Just before throw-in there was a late change to the team with the injured Rachel Ruddy being replaced in the starting line-up by St Margarets Muireann Ní Scanaill.
The game started at a frantic pace and it was Monaghan who had the first shot at the posts inside the opening minute which drifted wide of the target. A sweeping move from the resulting kickout led to the first free in the scoring zone which Dublin’s Carla Rowe surly dispatched between the sticks.
Another Monaghan attack came to nothing thanks to resolute defending from the Dublin backs who were putting constant pressure on the player on the ball,forcing Monaghan forwards to rush their kicks and passes.
Monaghan finally got their first score of the afternoon on seven minutes from a free scored by Caitriona McConnell. But Dublin were having the better of the exchanges and it didn’t take them long to get their noses back in front. Midfielder Sarah McCaffrey breaking through the middle was fed the ball about twenty five metres out from goal,she took a quick step inside two Monaghan defenders and swung over a very classy point.
The ice cold wind that was sweeping across the pitch perfectly reflected Dublin’s defence calm under pressure and clinical in the tackle they were just phenomenal today. The constant pressure they had Monaghan under throughout the first half had them at sixes and sevens,time after time the Monaghan forwards were either rushed into wild shooting leading to a high number of wides or over hitting passes and turning the ball over which Dublin gladly punished.
Dublin reeled off five unanswered points,four from open play from Eabha Rutledge, the impressive Niamh McEvoy,Carla Rowe and Captain Lyndsey Davey and a long range pointed free from Lucy Collins. Just before halftime Monaghan had a chance to register only the second point of the half from a free kick but it was badly skewed wide and Dublin went into the break six points up on a scoreline of 0-07 to 0-01 and the had held Monaghan scoreless from play for the opening thirty minutes.
The second half was a tighter affair with both sides having spells of dominance in possession but a combination of Dublin’s blue wall of defence and clinical forwards led them to a well deserved victory.
Dublin had the first attack of the second half with Sarah McCaffrey winning the throw-in and feeding the ball forward but Monaghan had dropped a couple of extra players back in defence and they put enough pressure on to force a rare wide from Dublin.
The next ten minutes were a bit of a stalemate with both sides squandering chances of scores and the game went a bit scrappy with a number of misplaced passes leading to both teams turning the ball over when in good positions. Monaghan’s Cora Courtney who had a quiet first half by her standards started to get on a lot of ball and some incisive runs at the Dublin defence. One of these runs finally led to Monaghan registering their first point from open play from Caitriona McConnell but that was about a good as it got for them as Monaghan only managed one more score a point from Laura McEnaney.
Dublin dominated for the remainder of the game and drove at the Monaghan rearguard which started to panic under the pressure. Dublin hit two wides in the space of a minute but the very impressive Sarah McCaffrey strode forward from midfield to slot over her second point of the game to get the scoreboard ticking over again.
Monaghan now began to give away frees in kickable positions and Dublin gleefully plundered the points on offer from the boots of Lucy Collins with one and Carla Rowe with two to push further ahead. Monaghan at this stage were a spent force and it was left to Sarah McCaffrey to get the final score of the game and her third point of very productive afternoon and Dublin had their first competitive win of 2015.
Dublin manager Gregory McGonigle will be happy with his teams over all performance. He will especially be happy with the debuts of Carey, Ní Scannaill and Rutledge along with the returning Amy Connolly and Kim Flood who both put in a huge shift for Dublin throughout the game. There were also great performances from senior stars Sinead Goldrick, Sinead Finnegan and Lyndsey Davey who’s class shone through throughout the game.
Dublin keeper Ciara Trant who turned 21 yesterday had a great game as well, solid under the high ball and her reading of the game was excellent sweeping up behind her defence to great effect. One other player who really stood out with a commanding display was corner back Olwen Carey who constantly turned the ball over,never gave her opponent a sniff at a score and drove out of the defence to set Dublin up on the counter-attack.
So there was plenty to be impressed about Dublin’s display today,but with plenty to work on over the coming weeks as you would expect at this time of the year.
Next Sunday Dublin head west to face Galway in a rematch of last summers All Ireland semi-final which should be another classic encounter and one not to be missed. -Nigel
Ciara Trant (St Brigids), Muireann Ní Scanaill (St Margarets), Sorcha Furlong (St Brigids), Olwen Carey (Thomas Davis),Sinead Goldrick (Foxrock Cabinteely), Lucy Collins (Na Fianna), Sinead Finnegan (Fingallians), Amy Connolly (Foxrock Cabinteely), Sarah McCaffrey (Clontarf), Hannah Noonan (Foxrock Cabinteely), Lyndsey Davey (Skerries Harps), Carla Rowe (Clann Mhuire), Eabha Rutledge (Kilmacud Crokes), Niamh McEvoy (St Sylvester’s),Kim Flood (Clanna Gael Fontenoy).
Scorers: Carla Rowe 0-04 (3f), Sarah McCaffrey 0-03, Lucy Collins 0-2 (2f), Lyndsey Davey, Eabha Rutledge, Niamh McEvoy 0-01 each.
Niamh Rickard (Fingallians) for Eabha Rutledge, Leah Mullins (St Brigids) for Hannah Noonan.
Linda Martin, Nicola Fahy, Joanne Geoghegan, Aoife McAnespie, Laura McEnaney, Grainne McNally, Eileen McEilroy, Eileen McKenna, Cora Courtney, Ciara McAnespie, Caoimhe Mohan, Ellen McCarron, Catriona McConnell, Tessa Fleming.
Scorers: Catriona McConnell 0-02 (1f), Laura McEnaney 0-01
Laura Boylan for Mohan, Caoimhe Mohan for McEilroy, Muireann Atkinson for Fleming, Eimear O’Rourke for Boylan, Barbara Ward for McCarron, Anita Newell for McEnaney, Eileen McEilroy for Fahy.
Referee Colm McManus (Meath)
Linespeople Keith Tighe and Derek McKittrick.