Aherne’s Leinster glory

by Stephen Findlater

ST SYLVESTER’S Sinead Aherne kicked 1-2 as Dublin’s ladies footballers secured their ninth provincial title win last Saturday with a notable 14-point victory over rivals Meath last Saturday in Dr Cullen Park in the Leinster SFC final.

It was a 3-14 to 0-9 win that both manager Paul Gilheaney and captain Sinead Goldrick say will stand to their side as they bid to break a chain of quarter-final All-Ireland losses.

Gilheaney said that his side played the conditions perfectly: “We always knew that the heat was going to play a huge part in it so we wanted the ball to do the work and not the players to carry it.

“It’s a stifling heat, really hot out there and it was a matter of time before they got tired so we had to judge our substitutes well. We wanted to move the ball as quickly as possible to the full forward line and we thought we might get some results out of that and I think we did get some results there.”

Goldrick, meanwhile, said that the focus is already switching to the next challenge.

“We wanted a performance out of the team and I think that’s exactly what we did. We knew that we would need the full panel to play with the heat. Every one of us played our heart out so I’m delighted with the result.

“For the last two years, we’ve lost by a point in the quarter final so we’re going to forget about the Leinster final that we had going into that and focus on whoever we’re playing against. We know it is going to be a tough battle and hope that it will be third time lucky in a quarter-final this year.”

Parnell’s forward Lindsay Peat got the Dubs off to a dream start when she rattled the back of the Meath net within a minute of the throw in, scoring possibly the quickest goal in Leinster final history.

Peat was on target again, scoring her second goal in the sixth minute while fellow Dublin forwards Lyndsay Davey and Noelle Healy were also causing the Meath defence untold problems.

The last 10 minutes of the first half saw Meath recapture their composure, notching up three unanswered points two from corner forward Geraldine Doherty and a Katie O’Brien free.

It meant Dublin took a two-goal lead into the dressing room at half time, 2-6 to 0-6.

Early in the second half, three-time All-Star Sinead Aherne gave Dublin the perfect second half tonic when she kicked over Dublin’s seventh point and then added her side’s third goal all within two minutes of the restart.

With Meath’s confidence ebbing away, Dublin never looked back with Amy McGuinness, Noelle Healy, Davey and substitute Siobhan Woods all pointing for the metropolitans. Remarkably Dublin’s tally of 3-14 all came from play while four of Meath’s nine points came from placed balls.

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