All-Ireland Ladies SFC final: Late goal blitz sees Jackies to glory
24 September 2017
Mayo's Aileen Gilroy is challenged by Olwen Carey of Dublin.
By Jackie Cahill at Croke Park
MICK Bohan’s Dublin buried Mayo under an avalanche of late goals to claim TG4 All-Ireland ladies senior football glory at Croke Park.
Dublin, who had lost the last three finals to Cork, finally got their hands on the Brendan Martin Cup for a second time, notching their first title win since 2010.
Mayo’s quest for a first All-Ireland win since 2003 fell at the final hurdle – as Dublin scored three goals in a five-minute spell to emulate the success of the men's team a week previously.
Sarah McCaffrey, sister of 2015 Footballer of the Year Jack, came off the bench to score two goals, while Carla Rowe was also on target in that purple patch.
Dublin were just three points clear – 1-10 to 0-10 – with ten minutes remaining but the floodgates opened as Mayo, who had three players sin-binned during the game, lost the services of defender Orla Conlon.
Mayo’s tiring legs couldn’t carry them across the line as Dublin unloaded their bench successfully and finished with the big prize.
And for Bohan, this was sweet revenge 14 years on from when he managed the Jackies in a final loss to Mayo.
Dublin led by 1-6 to 0-6 at the end of a dramatic first half – as Niamh McEvoy’s goal separated the sides.
Mayo were playing with 13 approaching the break – after goalkeeper Yvonne Byrne and defender Rachel Kearns were both yellow-carded and sent to the sin bin.
Byrne’s 24th minute foul on Sinéad Aherne led to a penalty but the veteran goalkeeper’s replacement – who came on for Ciara Whyte to ensure a specialist net-minder was on the pitch – made a fine save to keep out the Aherne’s effort.
That stop kept Mayo in contention but there was another let-off three minutes before the break, when player of the match Noelle Healy’s low strike struck the butt of Tarpey’s left-hand upright and away to safety.
Dublin captain Sinead Aherne lifts the Brendan Martin Cup. ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy.
It was helter-skelter stuff to end an intense and free-flowing first half that had been level five times before McEvoy’s goal.
That effort, in the 18th minute, was created by Healy’s driving run, and finished well by the St Sylvester’s forward.
McEvoy and captain Aherne were Dublin’s only first half scorers – Aherne contributing five points (two from play) and McEvoy adding a point to her goal.
Mayo’s first half copybook was also blotted by eight wides – seven from the boot of Cora Staunton, who was double-teamed by the Dublin defence.
Sinéad Finnegan was one of the Dublin defenders tasked with keeping an eye on Staunton – but she limped off injured shortly before McEvoy’s goal.
Staunton still caught the eye with a couple of picture-book scores – including a free from just outside the 45m line – while the Kelly sisters, Niamh and Grace, scored a point each in the first half.
Healy missed a glorious goal chance in the 37th minute with the game still delicately poised but Mayo could never get closer than three points to their opponents in the second half.
Plenty of effort was expended by the Westerners, who lost last year’s semi-final to Dublin by a point, but this time the margin between the sides was more emphatic.
Nicole Owens placed McCaffrey for a 52nd minute goal and five minutes later, another sub, Molly Lamb made a crucial impact when her crossfield ball found Rowe unmarked, and she duly netted.
The dust had barely settled when the tireless Healy set up McCaffrey for her second goal and Dublin could finally celebrate after three years of successive heartbreak on final day.
For Mayo, it could be a long way back after losing in the first final since 2007, and fans may have seen Staunton, Byrne and Martha Carter pull on the county shirt for the last time.
Dublin – C Trant; M Byrne, S Finnegan, R Ruddy; S Goldrick, N Collins, L Caffrey; L Magee, O Carey; C Rowe (1-1), L Davey, N Owens; S Aherne (0-9, 7f), N McEvoy (1-1), N Healy.
Subs – D Murphy for Finnegan (18), F Hudson for Byrne (46), S McCaffrey (2-0) for Davey (50), M Lamb for McEvoy (53), H O’Neill for Owens (56).
Mayo – Y Byrne; O Conlon, S Tierney, M Carter; R Kearns, M Corbett, F Doherty; A Gilroy (0-1), F McHale; D Hughes, N Kelly (0-1), C Whyte; S Rowe, C Staunton (0-7, 4f), G Kelly (0-2).
Subs – A Tarpey for Whyte (24), Whyte for Tarpey (34), A Dowling for Whyte (41), S Howley for G Kelly (57).
Referee – S Mulvihill (Kerry)