Dublin Inters High Work Rate Rewarded With One Point Win
Both the Dublin Inters and Antrim were out of the Championship running, and with both having secured their Intermediate status for next year, Saturday’s game was to determine which team finished above the other in the group.
That insured there was an edge to game with both teams looking to finish their campaigns on a high note.
Dublin had put in great performances against Galway and Westmeath in their previous two games and wanted to build on those performances, especially as both those counties progressed to the All Ireland semi-finals and the inexperienced Dublin side had stacked up well against them.
Both Dublin and Antrim felt each other out in the opening five minutes of the game, the home took the lead on 4 minutes from a free after two early wides from Dublin.
It was all square a minute later after a good move out of defence by Dublin, the ball was worked to Alix Buckley who was about 45 meters out from goal and close to the sideline and the Skerries Harps player split the posts with a fine effort.
Dublin took the lead in the 6th minute with a 40 meter effort from Niamh Gleeson, the lead was out to two moments later with a point from Gaby Couch.
Antrim were struggling to contain Dublin’s link play and needed to get the ball down the other end to manufacture some scoring opportunities of their own.
In the 10th minute Antrim pulled one back with their first point from play. But the lead was back out to two with a converted free from Alix Buckley.
The host upped their game and dominated for the next ten minutes with Aine Donnelly and Kate McAleese getting a grip around the middle third, Antrim hit three unanswered points to take a one point lead.
Back came Dublin, Niamh Gleeson levelled it again in the 22nd minute, after great move involving Aoife Whelan.
The Dubs regained the lead with a fine effort from Jody Couch and increased the lead with a second converted free from Buckley to lead 0-07 to 0-05 with the half-time whistle fast approaching.
Excellent Off The Shoulder Link Play Led To Opening Goal
The game was level again moments later thanks to two converted Antrim frees. But Dublin swept back down the pitch with some excellent off the shoulder link up play and Shauna McBride got on the end of the move to handpass the ball to the net for the games opening goal.
With 2 minutes to go in the half Antrim were punished for some indiscipline tackling and Alix Buckley converted from the free.
Dublin’s Mary Cronin tacked on another point and just before the whistle sounded to end a pulsating opening half Antrim pulled a point back to leave the score at the break 1-09 to 0-08 in the Dublin Inters favour.
Dublin played with the wind at their backs in the first half and deployed a third attacking midfielder.
But facing the elements and with a four point advantage they switched to a sweeper system for the first time in the championship.
Grainne Power moved into the sweeper role behind centre back Sinead Murphy and both players were excellent in thwarting many of the Antrim attacks.
But with Antrim continually pushing on the pressure was beginning to show on the Dublin backs.
Both sides struggled to convert frees in the early stages of the second half and scores were hard to come by.
On 35 minutes Antrim converted a free and to leave just a goal between the teams. Dublin’s rearguard of Stephanie Carty in goals, Lucy O’Connor, Emily Browne and Aoife Byrne performed bravely and intelligently to keep Antrim out.
Antrim got their first from play in the second half in the 42nd minute and that was quickly followed up by another to leave just the bare minimum in it.
With ten minutes to go Gaby Couch settled the Dublin nerves with a nice point to keep Antrim at arms length with score 1-10 to 0-11 to the Dubs.
Dublin Inters Hoped Missed Goal Opportunities Didn’t Come Back To Haunt Them
Having absorbed the Antrim onslaught Dublin began to push their opponents back and they created three goal scoring opportunities.
But Antrim cleared their lines on each occasion and Dublin were hoping that opting to go for the jugular instead of taking the points wouldn’t come back to haunt them at the finish.
Dave Dunning’s side though gave themselves breathing space with four minutes of normal time to go.
A low ball was played into Chloe Murphy, the Ballyboden St Endas player caught the ball but turned in the Antrim corner back, Murphy was quickly surrounded but she brilliantly off loaded the ball to Niamh Gleeson who drove the sliotar low and hard past the Antrim net-minder.
With time running out Dublin were ahead by 5, but the lead was short lived as from the puck-out Antrim drove down field and rattled the back of the Dublin net to insure a grandstand finish to the game.
The Dublin lead was cut to just one in injury time thanks to an Antrim converted free. Antrim won a sideline five minutes into injury time, it was played short and from the ruck Antrim broke free with the ball in the middle of the park.
Zoe Couch Stood Her Ground And Was Upended For A Free
Zoe Couch was marking the space on the Dublin 65’, beyond Couch was a red of space for Antrim’s number 10 to run into and bare down on goal and grab the equaliser.
Zoe held her ground and was upended by the Antrim half-forward and to the relief of the Dubs they were awarded a free out and subsequently the win by a single point.
It was a well deserved win for the Dublin Inters, every player performed on the day and it was just rewards for the ferocious work rate they put into the game.
It was a great ending for the players and management to finish their campaign on a high note particularly as the squad and management team were only assembled two weeks prior to the start of the championship.
During the campaign 10 minor players made their debuts at Intermediate level and a total of 32 players seen game time in the Championship.
All eyes will now shift to the 2020 season where it will be hoped that the experience gathered this year and with a settled squad that the Dublin Inters will push on to the next level.
Alix Buckley 0-05 (4f)
Niamh Gleeson 1-02
Shauna McBride 1-00
Mary Cronin 0-01
Gabi Couch 0-01
Jody Couch 0-01
1. Stef Carthy
27. Aoife Byrne
3. Emily Browne
4. Lucy O’Connor
2. Emma Quinn
6. Sinead Murphy
7. Grainne Power
8. Shauna McBride
9. Muireann Kelleher
10. Alix Buckley
11. Jody Couch
12. Aoife Whelan
13. Gaby Couch
14. Mary Cronin
15. Niamh Gleeson
5. Caoimhe Ní Mhaologáin for Emma Quinn
17. Chloe Murphy for Aoife Whelan
19. Roisin O’Grady for Mary Cronin
25. Zoe Couch for Alix Buckley