A sun-kissed Parnell Park in Donnycarney – the official home of Dublin GAA – was the venue for today’s LGFA NFL Division One decider. In perfect weather for football, however, the day belonged to the reigning All-Ireland champions, Dublin, who swept aside the challenge of Mayo to win the title by a margin of eleven points.
Dublin weren’t long asserting control in today’s decider, taking a 1-3 to 0-0 lead after ten minutes, the goal a penalty expertly converted by their captain Sineád Aherne. It was midway through the half, by which time the home team were 1-5 to the good, before the Mayo girls got off the mark via a fine point by Fiona Doherty. That came just after a goal effort for the visitors was scrambled off the line by a Dublin defender.
By the half-way mark Dublin were ahead by double scores, holding a lead of 2-10 to 1-5. The Mayo goal came via a Sarah Rowe penalty just after Dublin had bagged their second major of the half.
Dublin showed much more invention and teamwork on the ball in that opening half. Moving the ball around comfortably and prising open the Mayo backline with ease, they weren’t at all flattered by their half-time lead of eight points. Peter Leahy’s charges, by contrast, were struggling to gain any kind of foothold in what already looked like a lopsided contest.
A third Dublin goal, smashed home by Noelle Healy, within minutes of the resumption effectively killed off whatever life was left in this game. From then to the finish, the tempo becoming increasingly languid, with Dublin simply in cruise control. They won by 3-15 to 1-10 at the finish.
So, once again, it’s the familiar refrain of Dublin getting the better of Mayo in a national decider. The lads are well used to it at this stage but the ladies have now gone under decisively to the Metropolitans in successive finals, having also taken a bit of a thumping from them in last year’s All-Ireland final.
But the one thing you can be sure of about this team – much like their male equivalents – is that they won’t be down for long. The focus will now quickly switch to the championship and, with it, the chance to rise once again. Hard luck girls, it just wasn’t to be today.
Thanks, by the way, to The Brother for the photos from Parnell Park. I only got back up from the west this afternoon myself – we recorded the Galway preview edition of the podcast yesterday evening in Castlebar – and so couldn’t get to today’s game.