Niamh McEvoy takes on Waterford’s Rosie Landers. Picture: Piaras O Midhaeach/Sportsfile

TG4 All-Ireland SFC group stages
Dublin 5-15
Waterford 2-6
 sport@dublingazette.com

DUBLIN forward Niamh McEvoy sounded a warning to her teammates that they still have a lot of improving to do if they are to retain their TG4 All-Ireland Ladies Senior Football Championship.

It followed an emphatic show of force against Waterford at the weekend in O’Moore Park, Portlaoise.

The Sky Blues ran out 18-point winners in this Group 2 tie on Saturday, with Monaghan due to play Waterford next Saturday in what is now a crunch fixture.

As champions for the last two seasons, all eyes are on Mick Bohan’s side this summer, and after recently defending their Leinster title, the got their round robin series off to a convincing win thanks to goals from Lyndsey Davey, Nicole Owens and McEvoy.

“Nothing we’ve done before in the past is going to be good enough to win an All-Ireland. You always have to improve on the previous season,” said McEvoy, who scored 2-4 of her side’s total.

“We know we have to bring a bit more, but there was no talk of who was missing today. It was everybody who was available, what they could bring to the table.

“We’re obviously happy with the win, but there’s definitely things we’re going to take away from today to build on.”

Despite the absence of team captain Sinead Aherne through injury, the attacking triumvirate of Nicole Owens, McEvoy and Lyndsey Davey ensured victory was never in doubt for the Leinster outfit.

Starting with 11 of the team that secured the Brendan Martin Cup at Cork’s expense last September, the three in-a-row chasing Sky Blues signalled their intent during a fast-paced opening.

Following an early point for Davey, Owens released St Sylvester’s club-mate McEvoy for a clinical fifth-minute goal. The centre-forward also raised a white flag at the end of a subsequent attack.

While Waterford full-forward Michelle Ryan was an also target, an ear-lier major for Davey left them five points behind, 2-2 to 0-3, at the end of the first-quarter. Their woes were further compounded when Owens raised another green flag for Mick Bohan’s charges.

Siobhan McGrath and Lauren Magee added points either side of this effort and a fourth Dublin goal inevitably arrived through McEvoy, when she got her second after 19 minutes.

Points from Owens and Noelle Healy bolstered their tally and while half-back Roisin Tobin kicked an excellent point for Waterford, the champions led 4-6 to 0-4 at the break.

A pointed Delahunty free gave Ciaran Curran’s side further hope on the resumption, only for Owens and McEvoy to respond in similar style at the far end.

Waterford did get a goal when Sinead Goldrick was adjudged to have hauled down Eimear Fennell inside the square, Delahunty slotted the penalty beyond the reach of Ciara Trant.

Nevertheless, Dublin quickly reinforced their superiority courtesy of unanswered points from McEvoy, Davey and Owens and Davey added a late goal for good measure.