On Saturday evening in Nowlan Park in Kilkenny the Dublin Senior Ladies Footballers secured their place in the TG4 All Ireland SFC semi finals for the fourth year in a row thanks to a comfortable eleven point victory over Waterford.
Although the Déise girls narrowly lost the Munster Final they headed into the game in confident mood having recorded earlier victories over reigning champions Cork and the last day out against Cavan.
But Dublin quickly raced into an 0-03 to no score lead inside the opening seven minutes, Sinead Aherne grabbed a pair and Nicole Owens hit the other point.
A succession of poor wides from Waterford were emphatically punished by the girls in blue who scored an unanswered 1-05 before the break to take control of the contest.
Dublin were causing the Waterford rearguard lots of problems with their powerful running and clever offloads, Sinead Aherne popped over four frees, a brilliant run from Noelle Healy in the 25th minute through the heart of the Waterford defence, almost led to the first goal of the game but the ball just cleared the crossbar for a point.
But Mick Bohan’s team didn’t have to wait long to raise their first green flag as just a minute later after some great work from Aherne and Healy, Nicole Owens, who was scintillating throughout the game, was in the right position to palm the ball to the back of the net and at the short whistle Dublin led 1-08 to 0-04.
Dublin lost Leah Caffrey early in the second half to the sin bin, it looked a very harsh call at the time. The expectation with Waterford having an extra player was they would push on and reduce the deficit.
Instead it was Dublin who drove forward and midway through the second half the girls in blue extended their lead to 10 points with the score now reading 1-12 to 0-05.
It got worse for the Déise In the 46th minute with Gráinne Kenneally seeing red for kicking out at Dublin’s Lauren Magee in an off the ball incident that was spotted by the lines person, with referee Seamus Mulvihill having little choice than to brandish a red card.
Moments later Dublin handed Waterford a lifeline when a poor pass across their box was intercepted by Róisín Tobin who made no mistake finding the back of the net.
It was a short lived revival and with eight minutes left in the game Dublin made sure of the victory with their second goal, Carla Rowe set up Captain Sinead Aherne who clinically supplied the finishing touch.
Dublin will now face Kerry in the All Ireland semi final on the 26th of August and they will have plenty of work to do in training over the next two weeks.
Mick Bohan’s team looked a little rusty against Waterford although that’s not surprising given their five weeks of match inactivity since their Leinster championship triumph and also the lack of any real challenge in the eastern province.
But last Saturday’s game will have blown away the cobwebs and Dublin should be much sharper and a more potent scoring threat in the semi final. They will need to be as Kerry will provide a stern test for the girls in blue who are aiming to make the All Ireland Final for the fourth year in a row.
S Aherne 1-09 (0-06f)
N Owens 1-04
N Healy 0-02
R Tobin 1-00
M Delahunty 0-03
K Murray 0-01
M Ryan 0-01
E Fennell 0-01
A Murray 0-01
C Trant; M Byrne, S Finnegan, R Ruddy; O Carey, N Collins, L Caffrey; L Magee, N McEvoy; C Rowe, L Davey, N Owens; S Aherne, A Kane, N Healy.
D Murphy for Kane (37th Min)
H O’Neill for Davey (42nd Min)
M Lamb for Healy (50th Min)
F Hudson for Collins (52nd Min)
S Woods for McEvoy (53rd Min)
K Hannon; M Dunford, C McGrath, Kate McGrath; D Ni hAodha, Karen McGrath, A Murray; M Wall, E Murray; R Tobin, G Kenneally, K Murray; E Fennell, M Delahunty, M Ryan.
A Wall for Fennell (26th Min)
M McGrath for Ni hAodha (26th Min)
R Casey for Kate McGrath (41st Min)
L McGregor for A Murray (50th Min)
G Power for Wall (51st Min).
Referee: S Mulvihill (Kerry)