Dublin’s Senior Ladies Footballers made history yesterday in O’Moore Park,
Portlaoise when they became the first senior ladies football squad from the capital to win five Leinster Titles in a row.
Although Dublin were favourites heading into the game, it was expected that it would be a fierce battle throughout the game and Westmeath would really put it up to the girls in blue.
With five minutes gone it seemed those predictions would hold true as Westmeath led by two points to one, Nicole Owens had opened the scoring in the second minute, but Westmeath playing with a packed their defence look solid and space for the Dublin forwards was at a premium.
Two counter attacks had yielded points from Maud Annie Foley and Leona Archibold to give Westmeath the lead, but it was short lived and would be the only time they would lead in the game.
Dublin took over possession of the ball and patiently probed the packed Westmeath defence for openings and they moved and recycled the ball accurately by foot and hand moving the midlanders defence around and out of their rigid formation.
In the tenth minute Dublin drew level from an excellent point from sharpshooter Sinead Aherne. Dublin pressed right up on the Westmeath kick out cutting off the options for their keeper and Westmeath couldn’t get out of their own half.
Dublin Captain Noelle Healy turned the ball over broke forward to hit a fine point to give the sky blues the lead, one they wouldn’t relinquish for the remainder of the game.
Thirteen minutes in and a sweeping Dublin move was finished off to the back of the net by Sinead Goldrick to put the Dubs firmly in the driving seat.
That goal seemed to suck the life out of Westmeath and Dublin powered forward hitting seven unanswered points from play, a brace a piece by Lyndsey Davey and Nicole Owens who put in a player of the match display and the other points came from the boots of Noelle Healy, Carla Rowe and Sinead Goldrick.
Westmeath did reduce the deficit with two pointed frees from Leona Archibold, but Dublin hit back with a great point from distance from Nicole Owens.
Just on the stroke of half time Westmeath were awarded a free which Leona Archibold dispatched, but even at this stage it looked a lost cause for Westmeath with Dublin leading by nine points at the break.
Westmeath had the advantage of a very strong wind in the second half and if they hoped to make that count and get back into the game that dissipated inside the opening twelve minutes of the second period.
Dublin relentlessly and ferociously hunted down any player in a maroon jersey with the ball and continually turned the ball over. The Dublin defence was rock solid yesterday and didn’t give Westmeath a sniff at a chance.
Dublin kept the scores flowing and hit 1-07 without reply, the points came from Lyndsey Davey with two, Siobhan Woods, Carla Rowe, Noelle Healy and Nicole Owens.
The Dublin goal was scored by Lyndsey Davey who broke past a couple of defenders, rounded the keeper and finished into the empty net and it was game over.
Sixteen minutes in and Carla Rowe was harshly yellow carded and sent to the sin bin for ten minutes. Many expected Westmeath to take advantage with the extra player, but Dublin increased their already savage work rate up another couple of levels and tagged on three more points from Nicole Owens, Sinead Aherne and Deirdre Murphy who broke up field from her fullback position to get on the end of a breathtaking move.
With seven minutes left on the clock Westmeath got their first of only two points of the second half, scored by Laura Brennan.
Dublin were then awarded a free and the sky blues net minder Ciara Trant made her way up field to take the free. She struck it beautifully straight over the black spot to add her name to the list of scorers.
Westmeath just had no answers for Dublin’s pace, power, work rate, accuracy, interplay, movement, ferocious tackling and hunger. Fiona Claffey hit their seventh and final point of the final to barely a sound from the stands.
It was left to the girls in blue to raise the decibels in the crowd and cap off their display in style with two cracking goals from Sinead Aherne and Carla Rowe and moments later the hooter sounded and Dublin’s place in history as five in a row Leinster Champions was confirmed.
Lyndsey Davey 1-04 (1f)
Nicole Owens 0-06
Sinead Aherne 1-02 (1f)
Carla Rowe 1-02
Sinead Goldrick 1-01
Noelle Healy 0-03
Siobhan Woods 0-01
Deirdre Murphy 0-01
Ciara Trant 0-01 (1f)
18mins 2nd Half On:17. Niamh McEvoy Off:13. Siobhan Woods
23mins 2nd Half On:19. Molly Lamb Off:8. Lauren Magee
26mins 2nd Half On:20. Amy Connolly Off:11. Nicole Owens
31mins 2nd Half On:23. Olivia Leonard Off:14. Sinead Aherne
32mins 2nd Half On:24. Lucy Collins Off:6. Sinead Finnegan
Leona Archibold 0-04 (3f)
Maud Annie Foley 0-01
Fiona Claffey 0-01
Laura Brennan 0-01
12mins 1st Half blood sub On:17. Laura Brennan Off:10. Fiona Claffey
14mins 1st Half blood sub reverse On:10. Fiona Claffey Off:17. Laura Brennan
15mins 2nd Half On:21. Tara Fagan Off:9. Karen McDermott
15mins 2nd Half On:17. Laura Brennan Off:12. Chloe Kelly
28mins 2nd Half On:18. Sandra McGrath Off:15. Leona Archibold