Dublin captain Sinead Aherne lifts the Brendan Martin Cup at Croke Park. Picture: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

FINGAL’s Flyers abounded for the Dublin ladies football team as they produced a storming finish to beat Mayo last Sunday in Croke Park, putting an end to a painful run of three successive All-Ireland final defeats.
At the end, it was fittingly left to St Sylvester’s Sinead Aherne to raise the Brendan Martin Cup as she landed nine points in the decider. She had previously been part of the 2003 Dublin side that came unstuck against Mayo but was able to put those memories to rest in a thrilling final performance in front of a bumper crowd of over 46,000.
“For everybody who’s been involved with us over the last few years, it’s been a journey,” Aherne said in the aftermath. “To get to this point, I’m just absolutely delighted.
“It’s a massive sense of achievement. I don’t think (the scoreline) reflected the game at all. Maybe when we got on top at the end they got a bit deflated.
“I know from the past experiences that it’s tough to take for Mayo but I’ve no doubt they’ll be back.”
She was joined in the starting line-up by club mates Nicole Owens and Niamh McEvoy – who scored 1-1 – as well as by Skerries Harps Lyndsey Davey, Fingallians Sinead Finnegan and Clann Mhuire’s Carla Rowe.
The local representation stretched further with Fins’ Fiona Hudson coming off the bench in the second half. Emer ni hEafa and Denisa McKenna also represented Fingallians on the panel along with Skerries Sinead O’Mahony and O’Dwyer’s Aoife Curran, making for a huge north county contingent.
While Dublin were largely in the ascendancy, they took their time before eventually putting the game out of sight with a flurry of late goals.
“We just tried to emphasise that we’d go back to doing the basics and we could open them up and get width when they were at a numerical disadvantage.
“We settled down in the second half and despite the fact that we probably had a few poor wides we persisted and got there in the end.
“While we missed a few chances, we kept plugging away and once we got that goal we hammered it home.
“The girls that came off the bench for us, Sarah McCaffrey with that goal, and we just pressed on from there, it was brilliant to see. I suppose in the end, a bit of experience probably told in the second half when the game was there to be won.
“We’ve had some tough defeats over the years but you could never fault the team for work rate and determination to get there; just delighted with the performance and the result.
“You could really hear the noise and the energy from the crowd and it certainly contributed to the atmosphere on the day and the battle.”