A stunning individual haul of 4-3 from the outstanding Jade Kelly paved the way for Ballymun Kickhams to secure the New Ireland Assurance Dublin Junior ‘E’ Ladies Football Championship crown at Lawless Park.
Although Robert Emmet’s/St Anne’s provided stubborn opposition in a lively encounter, the midas touch of Kelly ensured the silverware would be making its way towards Pairc Ciceam.
Lining up alongside the dynamic centre-forward in the Ballymun attack was 2010 All-Ireland winning Dublin captain Denise Masterson – who is now enjoying her second spell at the club after a memorable period with Naomh Mearnog.
Seven minutes had passed before the deadlock was broken. With Eilis Davenport deployed in a roving role, there was ample space for Masterson and inside partner, Megan Kelly, to operate in.
At the end of an excellent solo, the former inter-county star was adjudged to have been fouled and Jade Kelly opened her account.
A physically-imposing Emmet’s/Anne’s forward line began to have an impact as the half developed and corner-forward Chloe Conroy cut through for an equalising score.
This was quickly cancelled out by Megan Kelly at the opposite end but a purple patch helped Emmet’s/Anne’s to turn the table on their northside rivals.
Wing-forward Molly Doran had raised the decibel levels with a brace of fine efforts and full-forward Aisling Kerins also split the posts to open a two-point cushion.
Mun needed to settle themselves and the aforementioned Jade Kelly provided it on 20 minutes. Shannon Keating quickly restored order for Emmet’s/Anne’s but the opening goal of the contest arrived at a crucial juncture.
Masterson was again the instigator for the pivotal three-pointer. She released Jade Kelly on an overlap and the latter did the needful with a low finish to the net.
Masterson also set-up Megan Kelly for a goal-scoring opportunity just shy of the half-hour mark but, much to the relief of the expanded Emmet’s/Anne’s faithful, her strike drifted past the post.
Nevertheless, Ballymun had a slender half-time advantage – 1-3 to 0-5 – at their disposal. On the resumption, Emmet’s levelled matters through Kerins’ impressive single at an awkward angle.
But they were left reeling in the 34th-minute as Kelly grabbed her second goal off a rebounded shot. She added another point and this was quickly supplemented by her third goal inside the final-quarter. Her well-directed free from 30 metres slipped through the fingertips of Abbey Donaghy – and into the back of the Emmet’s/Anne’s net.
While most would be content with a hat-trick of goals, the magnificent Kelly maintained her unquenchable thirst for scores and broke through with 10 minutes to go, a cool strike into the bottom right-hand corner.