New look Dublin undone by Devane’s virtuoso showing

by Stephen Findlater

Dublin’s Hannah Hegarty gets away from Karen Kennedy. Picture: ilivephotos.com

Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Championship: Dublin 0-11 v Tipperary 1-13

A new-look Dublin side pushed Tipperary deep into the final stages of their opening Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Championship encounter but ultimately came unstuck in the closing stages by five points at Parnell’s.

Debuts abounded with St Vincent’s Muireann Kelliher in from the start as were Lucan Sarsfields’ Laura Quinn and St Oliver Plunkett’s/Eoghan Ruadh’s Jody Couch stepping up from minor.

Naomh Mearnog’s Rosie Kinneally – who grew up in Tippperary – donned the goalkeeper’s shirt for the first time while Couch’s sister Gaby would come off the bench in the second half, another to make her maiden appearance.

Despite all the changes, the sky-blues made an impressive start with Aisling Maher clearing the bar from a couple of placed balls and also edged in front 0-3 to 0-2.

Quinn played a key role in that third point, working with Maher to pick out Lucan club mate Ali Twomey who cleared the bar with a great strike.

But, perhaps, the game’s defining score saw Tipp nudge into a small lead that they would maintain until the finish when Cait Devane cleaned up when Nicole Walsh’s shot hit the post in the 13th minute. Devane would go on to score 1-6, the key contribution in a tight contest.

Karin Blair’s score increased the lead after the first water break but, despite two quality Sinéad Wylde’s classy pair of scores, Tipp stayed 1-5 to 0-5 clear at half-time.

Maher’s third free began the second half in hopeful fashion as Dublin kept gnawing away at any lead the visitors eked out. It went tit-for-tat through this third phase with Orla O’Dwyer re-establishing the three-point gap before Maher slotted over, bringing it back to two.

Devane and Grace O’Brien put Tipp four clear only for Maher to respond in kind, cutting it back to 0-9 to 1-8 at the three-quarter time water break.

But the Premier County pulled clear in the closing quarter with Roisin Howard scoring a fine point and Devane crucially extended the advantage out to four points with eight minutes to play.

Maher got Dublin back within range with yet another point but Devane showed her quality with the next two scores which proved gamebreakers. She got another and while Leah Butler cut the gap to five, Tipp were up and running with a strong win.

It leaves a quarter-final berth on the line when Dublin face Clare next Saturday when they meet at Fr McNamara Park (2pm) with the winner advancing.

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