Louise Ní Mhuircheartaigh amassed a personal tally of 1-06 as Kerry hung on to claim round one championship win over Dublin
By Daire Walsh
Louise Ní Mhuircheartaigh amassed a magnificent haul of 1-6 at Parnell Park as Kerry withstood a late surge from Dublin to seal victory in the opening round of the TG4 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Group 3.
2-8 to 1-4 in arrears with eight minutes gone in the second half of a physically demanding encounter, Mick Bohan’s Leinster champions posted five points without reply before ultimately coming up just short.
Following traded points between Ní Mhuircheartaigh and Dublin’s Kate Sullivan in the early moments, a quick 1-1 salvo from the Corca Dhuibhne ace moved the Lidl National Football League Division 1 champions four points clear by the fifth minute.
Dublin had a goal of their own after a superb run by Caoimhe O’Connor put Orlagh Nolan through for a neat close-range finish, but a brace of pointed frees courtesy of Ní Mhuircheartaigh kept Kerry in the driving seat.
The three-time All Star added two more points to her already impressive tally as the opening half wore on, though Hannah Tyrrell knocked over a free for Dublin in between these efforts.
Dublin captain Carla Rowe also kicked a fine point off an extended move, only for a majestic Hannah O’Donoghue score with the outside of her right boot to give Kerry a 1-6 to 1-3 interval lead.
Although Niamh Ní Chonchúir stretched the Kingdom cushion on the resumption, Dublin looked set for a major lifeline when they were awarded a 34th-minute penalty.
But Rowe’s strike was saved by Kerry goalkeeper Ciara Butler and while Tyrrell converted another free, Kerry swiftly raised their second green flag of the tie when Cait Lynch passed inside for team captain Siofra O’Shea to palm home.
Another place-ball effort by the outstanding Ní Mhuircheartaigh had the Munster outfit within sight of a big win, before Dublin finally built up a head of steam with four points on the bounce – two each from Tyrrell and Rowe.
Kerry lost defender Emma Costello to a yellow card with 14 minutes remaining on the clock and full-back Kayleigh Cronin also ended the contest in the sin bin as the tension began to ramp up in the Donnycarney venue.
Tyrrell registered her fifth point of the action on 50 minutes, but in spite of their numerical deficiency in the final-quarter, Kerry held out to take a firm grip on the Group 3 table.
Scorers –Kerry: L Ní Mhuircheartaigh 1-6 (0-3f), S O’Shea 1-0, N Ní Chonchúir, H O’Donoghue 0-1 each. Dublin: H Tyrrell 0-5 (4f), O Nolan 1-0, C Rowe 0-3 (1f), K Sullivan 0-1.
Kerry: C Butler; E Lynch, K Cronin, C Murphy; A O’Connell, E Costello, L Galvin; L Scanlon, C Lynch; N Ní Chonchúir, S O’Shea, A Galvin; H O’Donoghue, D O’Leary, L Ní Mhuircheartaigh. Subs: N Carmody for L Galvin (36), A Dillane for Murphy (43), A Harrington for O’Donoghue (50), C Evans for Ní Chonchúir (60).
Dublin: A Shiels; N Crowley, L Caffrey, F O’Connell-Bell; A Kane, M Byrne, L Magee; E O’Dowd, C Darby; C O’Connor, O Nolan, J Egan; H Tyrrell, K Sullivan, C Rowe. Subs: N Hetherton for O’Connell-Bell (h-t), S Wylde for Darby (36), D Lawless for Egan (40), O Martin for Sullivan (45), N Donlon for Kane (58).
Ref: Jonathan Murphy (Carlow).